Painting miniatures is something that’s really therapeutic for me – but many people don’t get it. They don’t have to: just do what brings you joy anyway. You don’t need anyone else’s acceptance to carry on doing what you want to do!

In conversation with a friend recently, she told me that she was watching a certain TV show fairly compulsively. She felt compelled to add: ‘it’s a guilty pleasure’, perhaps to head off any cynical or eye-rolling response from me in advance.

The thing is, why should we ever feel guilty about something that brings us joy? Why should we ever have to justify something we like if someone else doesn’t get it?

As a teen, I’d have to hide the fact that I was into so many geeky things. Comic books, board games, tabletop RPGs, Star Wars…even video games to a certain extent. These days of course, all of these things are acceptable interests, some even regarded in their own right as art forms – but back in the late 80s and early 90s that wasn’t the case. Granted, school is a very different place to the outside world, in which reacting the wrong way to someone can be a ticket to landing you in trouble with a hormonally angry peer, sometimes for years, so perhaps it’s the scars of that traumatic time that’s taught me not to be ashamed of things that interest me.

And yet…there’s still the odd thing that it feels weird to admit to liking. I can see where my friend was coming from. For me, it’s wrestling. In particular the big, daft, storyline-powered American wrestling that absolutely exploded in popularity in the late 80s and just kept on going.

It’s one of those things it’s almost tiresome to field questions or responses on, because everyone falls back on the same tired tropes. “How can you like that? It’s not real,” they say, as if this is some new revelation to a wrestling fan. The last time I heard this was in the workplace a few years ago; a Breaking Bad-obsessed manager was chatting to a colleague who was excitedly talking about a big UK WWE event he’d been to at the weekend.

Of course the correct response to this, to that very specific person, is: “You like Breaking Bad? Why? It’s not real!”

We spend so much time hiding aspects of our lives that bring us joy, entertainment and excitement all because we’re worried about what people may say or think.

To that, I say no more. Nothing that brings you pleasure should make you feel guilty for enjoying it. No matter how cheesy, how artificial, how socially acceptable or ‘uncool’ it may be. There’s enough unhappiness, stress and uncertainty in the world at the moment. If something, anything, can take you away from that for a short time and pick you up, no matter what it is, do it and don’t be ashamed of it. Those people who don’t understand don’t want to get it and never will.

Let them go about their business – these aren’t the droids they’re looking for.

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