fangirl dilemma: oh the feels

August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Ph. Don’tknowwhattodo asks,

I recently discovered your site and am grateful for the work you’re doing.  It has shown me how many ways there are to fangirl over something or someone.  For me, a lesbian at odds with the paucity of diverse female representation in media, fangirling has been a way to find representation via subtext.  Yes, it’s cathexis, yes, it’s a way to negotiate desire (especially at times in my life when I’ve been less than comfortable with my own identity), and hell yes it’s about finding heroes.  Smart girls, brave girls, strong girls.  I can understand all this on an intellectual level, and even be OK with the fact that I am a grown professional who spends way too much time on Tumblr.

What I am not as OK with is the feels.  They are impossible to describe to someone who does not experience them.  How is it possible to be emotionally mature (as I strive to be) and still have an uncontrollable crush on a fictional character?  Your advice to channel this energy into productive real-world pursuits in most welcome.  But oh, the pain of it.  Objectively, I know that it is a little bit nuts to swoon over Maura Isles.  Rizzoli and Isles is not even a very good show!  And yet here I am.  Fangirling.  Help.

Oh the feels. I’ll never forget the time I led a therapy group not realizing I had written “feels” on a whiteboard instead of “feelings” until afterwards. Super professional am I.

Feels are a lovely, affordable, and physically safe high when you think of all the other nefarious activities we could doing in search of a delicious rush of emotion.


I wish I could bottle up the feels I get around Day 6 into a new TV lady crush and use them on days I feel down. The air smells sweeter, I’m lighter on my feet, and I’m grinning like an idiot.

But that initial dose of feels turns into a ravenous monster the longer you go. It takes more viewing, more ficwriting, more headcanon, more gifing to reach the high as your tolerance increases. It becomes a painful chore as we carry the obsession on our back throughout the day.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for the feels, my friend. But you can pay attention to what they tell you. 90% of the time when our feels don’t burn out after the first few weeks like a supernova of hairporn, they serve a purpose. And this purpose is usually to disengage or distract us from our own anxieties.

So the best way to tackle feels isn’t to delete all your Sasha pics. It’s taking inventory of your life right now. You seem like a super professional lady, so there’s sure to be some stressors in your life. What are they? Attack them. Engage them. Cope positively. The more you face anxieties head on, the less your mind will need to check out via the nearest ladyBAMF. You can squeeflail like a crazy woman when you need to, but you won’t carry the feels around like a 350 pound gorilla. It’ll be more like a tiny organ grinder monkey with a top hat. Way more manageable.

Enjoy your feels lady! But enjoy the rest of life as well. When you take care of business and your brain, the rest is icing on the cake.

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