I've had some interest in the Occult over the years never really chose a path, I prefer to stay open to everything, I'm not the type who can go on faith alone I need a reason to believe, or some type of evidence. I've personally never found it hard to research or experiment with stuff other people find strange and unusual, my beliefs are my own and I would rather keep them to myself.
Any religion would seem strange if you break it down to it's main components. The Occult is no stranger than any mainstream religion, it's just more complicated with it's many different branches and belief systems.
If people talk down to you because of your beliefs just remind them that millions of followers, huge temples, and massive amounts of money don't make a belief true, or right.
Good luck to you. O and remember to avoid the people with pitchforks .