In our society, we may find ourselves putting on a front to be polite for other people. Don’t obsess over this fun thing, don’t collect this thing that others say is weird for your age, don’t show too much enthusiasm over something or people will think there’s something “wrong” with you.
I feel that it goes back to our school days, where we may have been picked on for being a geek or a nerd. While these things are generally proudly owned these days and the geeks and the nerds grin knowingly at the haters, I think it’s still a bit of a mindset that pervades society as we grow into respectable, politely conforming adults with responsibilities and priorities that are supposed to quietly fit into this little beige box, and anything else is just too much, too age-inappropriate, too weird, and is gosh-darn outright offensive.
I’ve come across many people who are very enthusiastic about planners and bullet journals, and their friends or family or partners mercilessly make fun of them for it. These folks get called childish, stupid, ridiculous, weird, and even “mentally disturbed” by the people they love the most, and it’s all because they’re enjoying their daily hobby that brings a smile to their faces. So these folks hide it from their loved ones, they make secret Instagram accounts to share their planners and connect with other like-minded people without their family finding out, and they admit they feel ashamed to enjoy their hobby. It begins to feel clandestine; even embarrassing for them if anyone finds out.
A friend of mine was once was dragged into a therapist’s office by a former step-parent because she was thought to be “disturbingly obsessed” by always carrying her sketchbook with her and always drawing. She was always drawing in her free time because she loves to create, and it made her happy. It harmed no one, especially not herself. But she was passionate about it, which was deemed offensive.
Another friend in her twenties loves anime, but keeps it very private because she fears the negative judgement from her friends.
I’ve been teased and repeatedly called obsessed for my love of Copic markers and other art supplies, as well as my passion for weather. My adopted mom used to use some of my hobbies and collections against me and would shame me so badly that I felt like throwing everything away.
Fabulous creator Amina Mocciolo lives her authentic self every day with her Los Angeles apartment full of rainbows. She has an extensive collection of whimsical, colourful handbags and sweaters, and sometimes she has rainbow hair. I’ve seen many angry remarks calling her ridiculous and childish.
I find it particularly sad that society judges how much we enjoy the things that bring us happiness. In an ever-darkening world, I think it’s very important that we let ourselves be happy in whatever safe ways we can. We don’t need to go bankrupt to do this. We don’t need to neglect our responsibilities and our families to do this. We don’t need to harm other people to do this.
So why does it matter so much to other people?
Why go through life forcing ourselves to be miserable just to make society happy? That’s not our true selves.
We owe society no explanations, no apologies.
When I moved in with my friends Liat and Alora, I appreciated how these two women live their authentic selves to the max. Their home and their wardrobe have always been their haven of utterly thorough daily enjoyment, and they honestly don’t give a damn about anyone who has a negative opinion about it.
I have a craft room full of tiny cute things, Pusheen, and the colour pink. I like whimsical jewellery and bags and I like to shop at Claire’s. I watch anime, I collect TONS of bag charms and keychains, as you can see in the above photo! Plus I have that aforementioned love for Copics as well as other quality art supplies. I study the weather and enjoy talking about it. This is all part of my authentic self. Living with Liat and Alora helped me to realize that I was perfectly free to enjoy things 100% and not care about anyone’s opinion except my own.
If you enjoy something, enjoy it with all your might. Don’t half-ass your way through life and your love of something because you fear judgement from others. Don’t dilute your enjoyment of something just to satisfy somebody else’s version of “normal”.
Be enthusiastic as hell.
Enjoy it 100%. Not 20%, not 50%. Not even 85%. One hundred per cent, dammit.
It doesn’t even need to break the bank for you to emotionally enjoy it.
Tell me about these things you enjoy. Show me. You like the way that new steel-barrel pen writes? You love a particular style of dot-grid journal and will only use that kind? You make beautiful doll clothes and plushes to sell? You love browsing antiques markets, you have a passion for Japanese “kawaii” sticker flakes, you collect vintage Pyrex or perhaps toys from your childhood, or maybe you prefer to wear bright orange everything all the time? Hell yes, my friend, hell yes.
That is your authentic self speaking out. Listen to you.