fangirl dilemma: the agony of gratitude

August 1, 2014 § 1 Comment

Maddy writes,

While I’m normally in a geek fandom (SuperWhoLock, Potterhead etc), I  recently got into a band fandom of 5 Seconds of Summer. They have changed my life by making bad days better and encouraging me to also start my band (not directly obv).

But they have made me acutely aware of the pain with it.  Sometimes when I see their twitter, all I can do is cry because they don’t notice me. I’m always thinking of them. The fact that they’ve changed my life so drastically and made me do things I never thought I could do and the fact that they will never know this, hurts like hell.

They will also never come to my country (minor, non-european/american country as we are) and my parents refuse to take me to their concerts and they feel it to be a frivolous expense. While they have made me also stop self-harm, I do sometimes cry myself to sleep (which I rarely do. The last time I did was during Doomsday (doctor who)).

Help me with this pain!

Oh Maddy. I hear you. While I’ve never heard of 5 Seconds of Summer (old lady problems), I can relate to the feeling of not being able to thank someone.

This January I went to hear one of my favorite authors speak. I arrived two hours early, paced up and down the aisles of the bookstore, and planted my butt on a front row seat. And lo and behold this unicorn of a writer sat down next to me while she was being introduced, and I cried a little on the inside because her hair smelled so lovely. But when it came time to line up and get my booked signed, I couldn’t do it. I bolted out the front door and ran to the bus stop.  All that waiting, all that pining and hair smelling, and I had chickened out.

How can you thank someone who will never be in your life but who has changed it for the better? I knew that night that 3 seconds of hasty interaction wouldn’t cut it. My face wouldn’t stand out to her, and my story wouldn’t stand out, because dozens of other people that night would probably tell her the exact same thing. I was a little wave in an ocean of book lovers that would crest and fall without this woman ever noticing.

Maddy, you might feel the piece of you that’s missing is shaped like an Australian pop punk rocker, but I could promise you that you could marry one of these guys tomorrow and it wouldn’t make a difference.  You might have pocketed some inspiration from obsessions, but the changes you’ve made in your life are yours and only yours. And you should be proud of that!

Acceptance, love, and approval from others are basic humans needs, but if you treat them like the main course, your stomach will always be grumbling for more. I realize now that stumbling into the snow that night at the bookstore wasn’t an act of cowardice. It was me finally realizing that my dream wasn’t to meet my heroes. It was to pay attention to where they where leading me.

You can admire what you love, but you can also be what you admire. Tease out the traits you value in your punk rockers, Hogwarts instructors, and SuperWhoLockish folks and start living them.

If you’re not sure how to start building a self based on your interests, counseling is a great way to get started. Never underestimate the value of having someone hear you without judgment.

Maddy, our fangirl loves aren’t the stories of our lives–they’re the signposts. You can stay stalled in the emotions and have a pretty happy life. Or you can pay attention to where they point, start walking, and lead a fabulous one.







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