hurt and comfort
December 15, 2014 § 2 Comments
Maria Susanna writes,
In every fandom I’ve been in, I’ve been a hurt/comfort junkie and enjoyed the company of others who like fictionally hurting and comforting the ones we non-fictionally love, but now for the first time I’m in a fandom where it seems that other fans find that… weird. Someone literally just said “But why would you want [character] injured?”
Am I crazy? Are they crazy? How can I handle my sweet bittersweet feels about my fave being hurt without freaking out my fellow fangirls? (Maybe what I mean is, IS ANYONE EVER GOING TO READ MY FIC IF I FINISH WRITING IT??)
Maria, writing hurt/comfort fic does not make you crazy. It doesn’t make you sadistic. If you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy, you’ll find that it made Shonda Rhimes a bajillionaire. Hurt and comfort are part of the human experience, and every piece of fiction from Harry Potter to Downton Abbey employs it as part of plot.
You’ll always get haters when you write fanfic. If there’s too much angst, people want fluff, and vice versa. I am not the kind of fangirl who wants my favorite to end up in the hospital, because 90% of my favorite characters die on screen anyway (*side-eyes Damon & Carlton*).
But Maria, I think the question you need to ask yourself is what function the fic serves for you. Fiction can be a powerful coping mechanism for people struggling with past traumas, anxiety, and any number of maladies. But when it’s the only tool in your belt, it’s unlikely to work forever. Finding other ways to comfort yourself is essential, because we can’t distract ourselves forever with television or fanfiction.
We like to imagine our favorite characters being cared for, but the truth is that there are people you encounter every day, real people, who can benefit from your generosity. If you’re drawn to that kind of story, then why not start living it? Think of a friend who could use a note of encouragement, or an organization that could benefit form your time and talents. When I’m feeling caught up in my own stuff and retreat into fiction, it’s usually a signal that I need to practice kindness towards myself and others.
So keep writing that fic Maria! Do what you enjoy, and if people don’t like it, well then they don’t have to click on that link. But don’t be afraid to think about how your gift for comforting others can expand outside the boundaries of a fictional world. You won’t need those fic reviews when you can see the impact you’ve made in the lives of others.