I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times again. Own what you do. Have confidence in your passions. Just because someone else doesn’t understand it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it or that you should hide it.
I recently read this article. A man rediscovered his childhood love of miniature soldiers during quarantine. With his job back on, and Zoom meetings in full force, rather than let his coworkers see his miniature war build behind him on Zoom, he stored away his passion. But then, he wrote about the experience. Some part of him is proud of it, but he wanted to distance himself a bit. Maybe his coworkers don’t look up his name or read his articles, it’s hard to say.
There’s been multiple articles about people discovering miniature photography in quarantine, and they’re being praised – here for example, and rightfully so, but shouldn’t that open the door for more people to, at minimum, pursue a similar passion?
This following my example in my last similar post about seeing someone’s Instagram caption in which they were trying to distance themselves/ act ashamed of their first toy photo they had just posted. I wish I would have saved their username to see if they continued to post after they received positive affirmation on that post.
This also follows similar conversations I’ve had with people about how it’s okay to start collecting that toy you loved in childhood, or to buy that snack you haven’t had in a million years that you used to love. Owning you and what you love includes allowing yourself to indulge in ‘childlike’ things. There isn’t an age in which you ever have to grow out of your childhood interests. If you’re not causing harm to anyone else, indulge in all of it.
An amazing example of this is an Instagram I just started following. Read her story in the caption of her image below. She began photographing 18 inch American Girl dolls as a child and still does so to this day.
I was 17 when I started photographing toys. So maybe I’m in a similar boat. I’ve loved toys, as did everyone, since I was tiny, but my favorites were Polly Pockets and the tiniest of anything else I could find. I still have those Polly Pockets. My grandma had a dollhouse at her house for me. I thought I was too cool for it when I was in middle school, and she was getting rid of it. I still insisted on keeping most of the furniture though at that time. And I regret not keeping it. It was a beautiful dollhouse, with so much nostalgia within it now. A few years later in high school I began building my own dollhouse, so I didn’t remain ‘too cool’ for too long. But did get super embarrassed when my proud older sister was telling people about it.
I discovered my love for photography at 14 during a family trip to the Smokey mountains. I used my mom’s film camera from the 80s to capture the surrounding nature. I admired the prints after we got them developed. The next two years I took photography classes at my high school. And it was during this time that I combined my love of toys and photography for an English project.
I have a family member, not someone I’m too close to, but nonetheless, they always act like the images I make are hilarious. And they’re condescending about the whole of it. I say this not because I let it bother me, but attitudes like this do bother people, and they’re exactly the attitudes that make people feel like they can’t open up about their hobbies, side businesses, overall interests that don’t align with the exact norm. But if we didn’t have a world full of people with diverse skills and knowledge, we’d have a very boring world, with much less innovation and interest.
Find your people. If you photograph toys, check out the Toy Photographers blog, and post stuff to Instagram with the hashtag #toyphotography (among many other tags and nightly Instagram pod sessions). If your interest is something else I won’t be as much help, but still look for those communities. They’ll be much more supportive than much of the internet and maybe that support will give you the confidence you need to continue pursuing that passion, continuing to learn and grow within it. Some communities even have local meet up groups for certain interests. See if there’s one near you. They might be having virtual meetups currently, but it’s a good start to get to know others around you interested in something similar to you.
Whatever you do, don’t let go of what makes you happy in order to please others. You deserve whatever it is that gives you that joy.