Friendship, The Best Ship
September 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air. But I don’t believe it for a second. I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork. – Anne Lamott
Spend two seconds in any fandom and you will see jealousy flare its ugly head. Fangirls act like they own a character, or they dismiss anyone who disagrees with them. They secretly hate those with more of a following or those who’ve met a certain celebrity. Anywhere there are humans on this planet there will be competition, so flailing over an OTP or debate over characterization is no exception. But did you know that that your emotions are the most tasty when you hand over the pie and let someone else have a slice?
Last weekend I went on a fangirl road trip to visit some of my tumblr friends (then twitter friends now real life friends). Two of us left after a long day of work at 9pm for a 6 hour road trip to meet our friends. And I can tell you without a doubt that arriving at a person’s house you’ve never met, in a strange city, at 3:30 in the morning, is the reason I am fangirl. It’s like getting to be a kid again, but with wine. When you meet women with whom you have shared the spectrum of emotions over the stories and characters you love, it’s like coming home. There is no need to impress, no need to size up, no need to compete in the manner that plagues so many of our adult relationships.
If you spend a lot of time complaining about interacting in a fandom, then it’s probably because you’re not doing it right. If you feel anxious because someone posted a picture of a celebrity before you do, or stole your fic idea, then you’ve failed to set your sights on the best part of fandom. The ship that sails faster and farther than the most life-ruining of OTPs. Friendship.
Unless you make them up yourself, you can never own a character, or a pairing, or a story. Sure, maybe you write better Vampire Diaries fanfic than anyone else ever has. Even better than Diane Lockhart’s housekeeper. But when we fangirl, we are borrowing characters. We’re taking them off the shelf, dusting them off, and taking them for a spin. But the shelf isn’t yours. The house isn’t even yours. You’re a guest, and you can spend that time bossing around the other visitors, or you can start paying attention to some of the absolutely fabulous people who just so happen to have stopped by.
The best fandom friends are the ones who root for your story as much as they do for your favorites in fiction. So don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone, or to shake someone off who’s bringing you down. Life is too short to get stuck in what’s temporary. Your interests may be transitory, but your confidantes don’t have to be.