Yesterday I finished reading the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved the book and will write more about it later, but basically I adored the book mostly because I could identify myself with the main character in so many ways. Let’s skip the socially awkward thing or the fact that I also find it difficult to thrive in new situations. The main character was a fangirl and I am one too and despite the fact that many people think it is strange to be over twenty and still involved in “teenage stuff”, it made me realise that I am not alone.
A while ago I wrote a blog post called Why people go see their favourite artist a million times and it has been my most popular post to date. Apparently it resonated with a lot of people as I got tons of comments and the post was also discussed on other blogs and forums and that amazed me. Although I saw one girl who said she was disappointed because basically I just wanted to see the show from different angles. “How much money does this girl have?” Not quite enough. But she missed the point. Because going to these concerts is a way to escape reality for me and to connect with the artist and other fans. And that is exactly why I am not just a music fan.
When I become a fan of something, I do not do it half-assed. I go full throttle. You have a limited edition something coming out? I will buy it. A new game? I will buy it. An interesting discussion group on facebook? I will join it.
Pokémon and Harry Potter
When I was seven, Pokémon was just starting to become a hype and I was obsessed with it. I played the games despite not really knowing English. I collected the cards, plush toys, figurines and even Pokémon Monopoly. When a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said a Pokémon trainer. And as I got older, I still played the games obsessively, although instead of just catching the Pokémon I liked, I started playing competitively too. And whenever I would tell someone that I was a twenty-something who liked Pokémon, I could get two reactions: 1. “OMG ME TOO!” which was mainly from people that grew up in my generation or 2. “Fucking lame. That’s for kids. You are a big kid. Grow up.” Never mind the fact that those are the people playing Pokémon GO now too.
In my early teenage years I also got very much into Harry Potter and initially, that was no big deal of course because I was the target audience for the books and films. It did not get weird until I was in my twenties and I still waited for my Hogwarts letter. I still am wondering what it is like if the world of Harry Potter was real and one of my biggest dreams is to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. My love for theme parks and the magic world combined? Priceless! But people do not understand how a couple of books and a bunch of films can have such a big impact on me and on so many other adults. Simply put? It isn’t just a story.
It aren’t just games to play or pages to turn. These are worlds that we have completely lost ourselves in as the world around us has gone to pot. Because in these fictional worlds we can be heroes and we can have powers and change evil into good ourselves. In these worlds we can get lost without having to worry about deadlines or stress. These worlds provided us a safe haven, whether you got into them as a kid and are still a fan or if you loved a series as an adult and got swept away.
You may not like it or even think it is foolish that someone is a fan of something that you deem childish, but who are you to judge? Some people escape their regular lives by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or by going to parties every weekend. And some people still dream about being a Pokémon trainer, a wizard, a vampire or a Disney princess. And none of those things is wrong. None of those things is childish. They are just not something you prefer to do but we are all different people and we all have different interests and that is okay. Let’s not ruin each other’s imagination by forcing ourselves to conform to what is deemed to be the meaning of being an adult. Let dreamers dream.
Fandom: be who you want to be
I still love these fandoms because they have given me some of the best friends I have and we have had some of the best adventures together. Going to the Harry Potter Studio tour with my fellow crazy Potterheads. There is nothing better than to share those moments with people who truly understand your happiness.
So if you are still involved in a fandom and people judge you, don’t let it get you down. Be who you want to be. Love what you want to love and dream what you want to dream. In your head you create your own world and nobody should try to take that away from you.