I think I said some of this in the last round, so please don't hate me for sounding like a broken record but this is and has been an important issue for me.
I started brickfilming in about 2007, when it already seemed to be uncool to still like LEGO. I'd just started at a secondary school where I knew absolutely nobody. My tight-knit group of friends from primary school who accepted me for my interests had gone off to different schools, so I was on my own. In my first term, I made a few friends, and I showed one or two of them my first brickfilms and my friend Nash even started making them with me.
After Christmas that first year, people started to change. Everyone was more familiar with the Great Chain of Being that had slowly developed over the first term, and so split themselves off into little groups, as kids do: the athletes, the bimbos, the science nerds, the 'cool' kids, the thespians...and then there were the outcasts. Oddly enough, I found myself on the outside of the cool group, but that didn't stop a lot of people from hating me for no apparent reason than that I was just nice to everyone. I literally can't think of a single thing I did to get people to hate me. Anyway, someone caught wind of my brickfilms and that became a thing, blah-dee-blah association with being childish blah blah blah. My karate and taekwondo grades didn't matter - apparently I was a wuss (the words they used were a lot stronger and totally unrepeatable). I was slowly weeded out of most of my friend groups. I never got invited to anything. The only people who would talk to me were the social rejects, most of whom were genuinely unsavoury characters (that's not me being mean, a lot of them were rejects because they weren't nice people).
Nash changed school in the second year because of his low grades, and I spent the next four years occasionally mingling with some quite transient friends. Looking back, there were some people I think I took for granted, but as a rule I was bullied by most people. Not physically (thank the Skyfather) but that sticks-and-stones stuff they teach you in kindergarten is total rubbish. Words hurt a tremendous amount, especially when people turn something you love into a weapon, in my case brickfilming. I took several hiatus' because I thought they might be right, and that there was something wrong with me for liking LEGO still, but I came back in the end. My only proud moment was when I was getting a hail of pretty brutal verbal abuse in Geography class and I pointed out how much money I made from a single video. That shut them up for about an hour.
It didn't help that when I bought BrickJournal for the first (and only) time, seeing a lot of the contributors only reaffirmed the stereotypes people seemed to pin to me. That was a massive blow to my confidence and led to another hiatus.
How have I dealt with it? Like I said, I tried to distance myself from brickfilming, but then I realised I shouldn't have to give up something I love just because others are too narrow-minded to appreciate it. College has been better, and I got Best Short Film for Ozymandias in the Film and Media Awards last week. Nobody teases me about it anymore, and very rarely is it a source of tension. It's liberating that all of a sudden, anyone can be a total nerd about anything and not have to worry about being mocked for it. Some people are still narrow-minded, but they're a rare few now and it's easier to see that they have no advantage over you. They're the people who'll be collecting your garbage one day.
Flickr was a massive help, because one day I was scrolling through other peoples' MOCs and found something I never thought I'd see: that you could grow up into a 'normal', happy, well-rounded person and still MOC or brickfilm. This went against everything I'd had beaten into me by endless mocking and teasing, but these guys proved that the bullies were wrong, and that was a boost I needed. A shame it only came towards the end of my time at secondary school.
The moral of the story's one that adults told me for years but I never listened to: wait it out. Words hurt almost as much as physical abuse (I count my blessings that I only ever had two minor incidents with that) and you can't move past those, but there's always a light on the horizon. Sometimes, you just need night vision goggles. By night vision goggles, I mean patience and to try and be stoic.
And of course, there was always one place I could go where people weren't taking the mick out of me, but I think you can guess where that is
Wow, I wrote a lot there. Guess I got carried away...sorry, guys.
BTW Nate, fancy picking a softer topci next week? Just kidding.
"Nothing goes down 'less I'm involved. No nuggets. No onion rings. No nothin'. A cheeseburger gets sold in the park, I want in! You got fat while we starved on the streets...now it's my turn!" -Harley Morenstein