Losing your imagination

I sometimes wonder why there is so much stigma about owning dolls – even pieces of art like BJDs. The subject comes up sometimes, usually it’s brought up by a new person in the hobby wondering aloud whether they should or shouldn’t tell family and friends about their new passion in life. I personally haven’t let my family know about my dolls yet. My parents-in-law know about them as they have seen them, but they both choose to ignore it. I think they simply don’t know what to say. My friends all know, since all my friends are people I’ve met through the hobby. My last non-doll-owning friend also knew about them, and while she didn’t want one for herself, she was okay with me telling her a little bit about something exciting every once in a while. Those friends who aren’t close (people I know from the university) don’t know. I simply don’t want to discuss it with them, because I know they’d be very likely to find it strange.

But why is there such a stigma? I’m sure we’ve all encountered it at some point or another, whether it’s with dolls or another hobby considered “childish”. Personally I like dolls, playing electronic games (Wii, 3DS, PlayStation, computer) and watching movies made for children (Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc.). All these things carry a stigma, at least in Denmark. I’m sick of pretending that I buy things for my nieces and nephew, but it’s just so much easier than having to endure the stares. Sometimes I’m brave and tell them that “no, I don’t need you to wrap it, it’s for me”, but it’s rare. Can I please get to color in a coloring book with my niece (and then alone when she leaves the table) without getting sarcastic comments from my annoying uncles? Can I please get to play my 3DS in peace while on the bus without people staring at me like I’m insane? Can I please give my husband the Lego house he wants for Christmas without my family giggling about it?

My dolls are the only thing that makes me stick up for myself. I will proudly walk through a crowd where I’m likely to meet someone I know, holding my friend’s absolutely gorgeous SD boy (my own are tinies, they get packed into my bag). I will sit with a group of friends and all our dolls on the table and happily answer all the silly questions from people passing us. I will display my girls in a cabinet in my office and be excited and proud.

But why the stigma? Likely because we’re supposed to lose our imagination when we grow up. Playing with dolls and Lego and watching Disney movies are absolutely fine when you’re little. So is pretending that you live in a world filled with fairies and princesses and glitter. Want to dress up as Princess Peach? Sure, we’ll buy a costume in a toy store! But the moment you cross that invisible line and people begin to expect you to be mature and reasonable, all these things are supposed to fade into the past. You’re supposed to accept your responsibility and channel all your dreams into your life – make your life better than your dreams. If you don’t succeed, it’s just bad luck, and you have to change your dreams accordingly. You have to keep going, have to keep acting as a person whose imagination only goes as far as to real-life things like getting a promotion, getting a new sofa, or seeing your child become older. Imagining fun things are for children – real life is the only thing adults get.

So in this home, we play with Lego (and admire Lego creations that light up), we play with dolls (okay, that’s mostly me), watch movies for children (okay, again mostly me), dream up worlds filled with fairies, princesses and glitter (my husband’s imaginary worlds have more lightsabers than glitter I believe) and dream of dressing up as a princess (either Belle or maybe Rosalina from Mario, possibly even Garnet from FFIX – but again that’s mostly me…). What is your home like?

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18 thoughts on “Losing your imagination

  1. You bring up some truly interesting topics on your blog. I always love seeing what you will post next!

    Society has a lot to answer for in regards to losing one’s imagination. You’re expected, when you reach a certain age to leave behind your “inner child”, dreams and all and grow up. Personally, I think the key to feeling young no matter how old you get is keeping that inner child intact and close by. How boring would life be if we lose that childlike wonder and amazement at the world around us (and of shiney new things!)

    I feel quite lucky that my husband is as much of a collector as I am. He has been collecting Star Wars stuff for years and my DVD shelf has a lot of Disney movies too. I think it’s why his parents are so accepting of my doll collecting hobbies. They always ask about them and my non-doll friends find them interesting and ask about them too. My dad though, he thinks it’s a bit weird but then I think I’ve finally got him to come around now. He actually tells people I collect dolls these days and not sarcastically.

    A lot of people know I collect dolls. I don’t bother hiding that fact from anyone. Some people think it’s weird and think the dolls are a bit creepy but I don’t really care. I am sure they have hobbies I won’t find particularly appealing but that’s the beauty of hobbies, they’re so diverse. Most people who know are actually fascinated by the dolls and ask about them.

    So I guess you could say, in our house, we let our inner child hang out. Both of us are gamers so we have most of the consoles here and plenty of games. I would say, we’re all set when our child finally comes into the world. We’d all be big kids together.

    • Thank you for that, you actually made me blush, haha! 🙂

      I absolutely agree – those people who still feel young even though their drivers license says otherwise always seem to enjoy new and silly things. I want to be one of those people when I get older. (Well, I want to be one of those people now!)

      I think it’s really nice that the people around you are supportive of your hobbies, even when they don’t share it. 🙂 I want my family to be like that too, but at the same time I’m apparently not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt!

      Haha, until your kid is a teenager, then you’re just the embarrassing mother! 😛 (Well, you’d be embarrassing nomatter what, there’s really no reason to fight it – it’s unavoidable, it seems.)

  2. Our house is very similar to yours. I have dolls, miniatures and craft supplies, my husband has his comic books and action figures, and our daughter has her stuffies, dolls and comic books too. She, thankfully, doesn’t find it odd that she shares many hobbies with her parents, at least not yet — we have a few more years before she hits her teens and then everything we do will likely embarrass her terribly. But hey, that’s growing up and what all parents and kids must come to terms with as a family.

    A number of years ago I remember reading a New York Times article about how my generation (X — what a name…) was more ‘childish’ than any other before. It predicted that we would earn less than our parents, would not be as ‘successful’ and therefore not as ‘happy’. We played games, collected toys and indulged in too much fantasy instead of settling down early to raise a family and establish a career. We were, in short, all going to end up living in our parents’ basements forever. Rubbish.
    Of course, the same things are now being said of the current generation and we Gen X’ers have turned out to be highly creative, wildly successful in careers we invented ourselves, and happier than many generations before us. Sure, we are childish — Pixar has breakfast cereal buffets in it’s cafeteria, for goodness sake! — but why not when it harms no one, increases creativity and morale, and makes the world a better place?

    • Your house sounds like quite the lovely place, do you have room for two more adults and a cat? 😀 And yep, that embarrassing thing isn’t something it’s in any way possible to avoid. I don’t know one single person who didn’t find their parents embarrassing, when they were teenagers…even if the rest of them thought their parents were nice and almost sort of cool!
      But I think it’s lovely that you share hobbies with your kid – I imagine it must be such a bonding experience. 🙂 I work hard to do the same with my nieces and nephew; I want to be the aunt who actually sort of knows what’s in currently and think it’s cool and care about their opinions.

      Breakfast cereal buffet? I don’t much like cereal, but that sounds pretty awesome. Plus American cereal is much cooler. I want rainbow colored cereal in Denmark, but apparently that amount of sugar prevents it from being cereal and puts it into the candy category or something…
      But yes, we have made the world much our own, unlike our parents who seem to be more inclined to simply blend in and do what everybody used to do. Of course it also means a lot of stigma for those “made up jobs” and not wanting to raise a family or in any way do what society wants and demands. But hopefully we’ll be more open-minded when the next generations do things their own way – since many of us have experienced doing things “the wrong way” ourselves.

  3. I think it’s so sad, that it’s not socially accepted to enjoy what makes you happy.
    Like who cares, if dolls make me happy? It’s not hurting anyone.

    But the whole “be like the norm” is so boring and limiting. Sure it’s perfectly okay and great to be like the norm, but if it’s forced upon you, it’s just horrible. 😦

    I try to stop caring about people’s opinion about me, but it’s hard.

    • Exactly – as long as it’s not hurting anyone, why can’t we do what we want? Maybe it’s because those who are frowning didn’t follow their own hearts and went their own way…so now we’re supposed to be miserable and conforming too?

      Yep, I like to pretend to be “just another law student”, but then I go home and play with my dolls. And while I don’t mind pretending most of the time, at other times it just feels suffocating. Can I just please be who I am? Can we all just be who we are?

      Yeah, not caring is a choice you have to make every day, sometimes several times a day. I think it’s getting easier though?

  4. jan says:

    Really nice read, I’m glad I clicked around and ended up here. I struggle so much with the idea of ‘growing up’. But how to let go of that treasured part of yourself…and more importantly…why!!??? Every now and again, I ll tell myself, who cares, I’m going to do whatever I like and wear what I want and put my hair up like Sailor Moon…..and then suddenly out in public I’ll be shy and just lose all confidence.
    This happens less and less as time goes by though, I just get tired. I don’t want to censor myself. And even though sometimes I feel bad for putting my boyfriend in bizarre situations (I really have to have that gummi bear lamp) I’m grateful he doesn’t judge me, even if he doesn’t ‘get it’.

    • Welcome, and thanks for reading! Happy you ended up here, too. 😉

      Yes, I struggled with letting go of it too – I was supposed to “grow up” and “be an adult”, but it didn’t really work and I just felt really trapped. I guess I need at least a splash of imagination in my life to be happy!
      And I do the same… I’ll get myself all “Yes, I can do this!”, then in public, I give up. It’s really hard to stand out in the crowd, and I’m so in awe of those who do it every day. (Also, what does Sailor Moon hair even look like? 😀 I’m one of the few not really familiar with that fandom…)

      Ohhh, a gummi bear lamp? That sounds beyond awesome. I want things like that, unfortunately my husband likes having “an adult home”, so we have too few of these things…I’ve rebelled and put my teddies above the bed though, haha. 😀 But it’s nice to have someone who tries to be understanding, even if they think you’re strange… Especially if the strangeness wasn’t as strongly present when you got together (which is the case for my husband and I). 🙂

  5. MaryRuth says:

    You took the word right out of my mouth. I’ve never really told anyone about my dolls. Even when someone close my spot one hidden in a draw, I’ll say I’m making clothes to sell. I know just how you feel about your dolls. Someday, I’ll display mine. Thank.

    • While it’s nice to know I’m not alone, I also feel so sad for us. We should be able to display our pride and joy with happiness instead of rushing around, hiding them whenever someone visits!
      I hope that you’ll also one day find the courage to display yours! I’ll make sure to post about my experiences when my family sees them for the first time, maybe that will be helpful for your wish to display yours! (Well, unless they react with horror…)

  6. Our house is the same, we game weekly with friends, and keep the imagination alive, and we hang out with people who respect a healthy imagination.

    Admittedly, the gaming guys were like, “Dolls, wtf?”… but I think quite a lot of people have a real knee-jerk reaction to dolls anyways. But the gaming guys quickly overcame it and actually enjoy the stupid little comics I make using one of my little plastic Yotsuba dolls… where she games with us every week.

    What I can’t stand are the folks who feel the need to be rude. Just outright rude. They’ve not only lost their imagination, but their respect for others as well.

    • Your house sounds like a friendly place to be. 🙂

      Aw, that is adorable! My husband also had to overcome me taking pictures of my dolls in public when he’s near, but when he got used to them, he wanted to try, too. 😀 People really just need to get used to things and they’re often pretty cool. 🙂

      That’s true words. And one thing is losing your own imagination, but losing your respect for other humans being…there’s really no excuse! 😦

  7. It may just be me.. but there is still hope. 😀 You sound quite young still. There generally comes a point in your life when you realize.. this is it. This is my one chance, my one shot. I grew up playing video games (never really stopped). Video games teach us something though. You are invincible! Even if you lose your three lives and have to start over, or die at this one spot, you can load back up again.

    We don’t though. I don’t remember when this idea hit me but I have to tell you, it wasn’t pleasant. It was, however, refreshing. I decided I could, and MUST live for now, for fulfillment, and for happiness.

    I wish you the same Lily!

    • Young and young…haha, I guess I still am. 🙂 I’m 25, so some days I feel young, some days I feel positively ancient!

      Really? I’ve not had that moment yet, so I guess I still have that in wait. 🙂 I’m not sure I’m ready for it at all though! I certainly hope my life isn’t destined just yet.

      Thank you! 🙂

  8. Freja says:

    I had been suppressing my inner child for so long, being ashamed of how silly I am and how much I wanted to play with toys.
    But then I met my boyfriend, he thought it was cute when I was silly and he told me that I can buy the toys I want. He is less embarrassed about my dolls than I am. Im happier now and im more myself. My dolls and lego are desplayed in our living room, which often makes me kinda nevous about having new people over. When I first told my mom I wanted to collect toys, she thought it was too exspensive and said I shouldent buy annything else besides what I had allready bought. But She came around, I think she saw how happy and creative I have become. Besides that I havent had any negative reactions from family and friends. But im not yet brave enought to take my dolls out in public or tell coworkers/classmates about them.

    And I allso live in Denmark

    • Welcome to! 🙂 Nice to meet fellow Danes in here. 😉

      I must admit I’m pretty thrilled to hear that your boyfriend has had such a good influence on you! 🙂 It sounds like a nice home to visit – we shouldn’t be ashamed to display the things that make us happy. Hopefully you will feel better about your inner child when you can see your things displayed every day and really soak in the pride of your hobby. 🙂 And glad to hear your mom came around, I only hope that mine will be just as accepting (though I suspect she won’t).
      Well, maybe the bravery to tell classmates and coworkers about them will come one day – and even if it doesn’t, they’re not your closest friends and family, so does it really even matter? 😉

  9. Freja says:

    Thanks 🙂 i was happy to find a Danish doll blogger

    im so grateful for his support, if it werent for him I dont think i would have started to collect dolls. Im less and less ashamed of it. Is there an aspect of the hobby your mom might like? maybe she will like the beautiful pictures you take of your dolls.
    I mostley wish that i was brave enought, to take my dolls out in public. I like taking outdoor photos of my dolls, but i dont have a garden myself.

    • I’m glad to hear that – dolls really aren’t something to be ashamed of! It’s not like we’re hurting anyone, we’re just giving our imaginations a little bit of exercise. 😉 And our creativity a lot of exercise!
      My mom would probably like the aspect where she thinks that dolls are a substitute for children, because I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t want kids. Other than that, I don’t think so. 😦
      Aw, it’s really not that scary! I’m still scared when I take mine out, but it’s mainly because I’m afraid someone will be hateful and take my doll away from me. Especially older people seem to think that crouching in a bush to get just the right angle is absolutely precious. 😀

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