“I liked the picture you posted yesterday.”
“Thanks! It’s fr… er- it was painted using acrylic paints.”
In that moment, I surprised even myself. I suddenly changed my sentence. Why?
What I was going to say: “Thanks! It’s from Pokémon!” Because although my friend didn’t know much about it and didn’t entirely get it herself, she knows that I like it and would still happily talk to me about it. After all, that’s the kind of open-minded person she is.
I was always pleased I could have those conversations with people who didn’t know much about my interests – even if at times, I felt a little silly (the idea of catching and collecting these little creatures is, admittedly, a strange concept to explain!).
But there have been instances where I was made to feel bad about liking it. And I’ve heard similar stories from others, where they’ve been made to feel stupid or even ashamed for it.
This was something we all enjoyed and loved. Talking about it makes us excited. To then be made to feel bad about it — something about that is really sad. We aren’t hurting anyone. We’re not doing any harm. Why are we made to feel bad?
Why did I change my sentence? Because I was conscious of being overheard. I was aware of somebody there, someone there who would make me feel bad about it. Funnily enough, I don’t think they even realise they’re doing it, but nevertheless. I didn’t want that. Even though I’d built myself up for years, telling myself that “not every opinion matters,” I just wasn’t up to dealing with it. I changed my sentence.
The moment I did it, I thought to myself “this is kinda sad.” Just a second ago, I could feel the glee rushing into me as I begun to say “It’s from Pokémon!” and a second later, found myself retracting it.
That one little moment made me realise: I don’t want to make anyone feel invalidated for their interests. I want people to feel completely comfortable talking about whatever it is they love. If you like something, you can talk to me about it. If I don’t know what it is, I’d be more than happy to hear about it and find out.
I don’t want to be the person who makes someone change their sentence.