Last month I posted a photo of a jewelry-making kit on my Instagram story: tiny white alphabet beads, sorted by letter in a clear plastic container, a bundle of elastic next to it. A friend replied to my story saying she had thought about getting something similar for her son, but wasn’t sure if he was old enough yet. Did my 8-year-old daughter like the kit, she wanted to know?
Well, this is embarrassing, I thought. The kit was for me.
“Why did you buy…beads?” my husband had asked when they arrived a few days earlier — a totally normal thing to ask a person who has never shown any interest in crafts of any kind. I found myself defensive for no reason. “Oh there’s this silly trend that started on TikTok where people make bracelets to trade at the Taylor Swift concert” — this is where I tell you that I got Taylor Swift tickets — ”because she has a line in one of her songs about friendship bracelets. It’s not a big deal but I thought I’d make some. It’s stupid, but whatever.”
My husband didn’t care or make me feel silly (he even made a few bracelets), but I thought about how he announces that he’s going to do something equally frivolous, like play video games or watch “The Office” for the 34th time: confidently and without apologizing. Why did I feel the need to justify a harmless activity that was going to bring me joy for a mere two hours?
To quote a current favorite meme, God forbid women have hobbies.
I started overthinking, as I am wont to do: How dare the world convince me that an evening of making plastic jewelry — an activity usually associated with young girls — was something to be embarrassed about? People literally create and cheer for pretend football teams — an activity usually associated with adult men — for months at a time without apology. This is unfair!
I would love to tell you that this train of thought inspired a new purpose in my life: to make the world a slightly better place for my daughters by convincing society to treat their interests like less of a joke.
But the truth is I’m tired.
And really, wouldn’t the best way to prove this point be to just…do something? For fun? Without apologizing?
As Taylor Swift wrote: “Make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it.”
(It should be noted she also wrote, “You need to calm down.”)
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