The Fandom Runner

January 26, 2015 § 3 Comments

The Maze Runner writes,

HELP!!! I have recently started reading The Maze Runner  and started fangirling over it. I’m only half way through the book, but I have already fell in love with the cast in the movie, especially this one actor and he is becoming a real life-ruiner. I have been reading constantly and recently lost some sleep over it. This is the first real fandom I have been in where I’m afraid it will take over my life. How do I obsess less while still enjoying the book and eventually the movie?

Oh boy. When you think about it, fandom is a lot like The Maze. Only fewer doods. One day you wake up and find that you’ve been flung up an emotional elevator into uncharted territory. You have no other memories except your Tumblr url. Like the Glade, fandom is a precariously balanced society teetering on the edge of chaos at any point. So how the hell do you get out? I think you know the answer to that.

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“Obsessing less” isn’t really an option my friend. Either you obsess, or you don’t. And getting through the maze of life-ruining emotions and anxieties is no tricky feat, but it can be done. Here are a few strategies I might suggest.

Follow your anxiety. What are the Grievers in your life? What’s your worst fear? What stresses you out day-to-day? You might have to get close to them and even take a sting or two to gain some insight about your habits. The more tuned in your stressors you are, the less you’ll use obsession with Alby and the gang to calm yourself down.

Make fandom about reward, not escape. Teach yourself to associate reading your favorite fic or watching your favorite movie with getting shit done. You should be participating in fandom because you had a successful day, not to avoid having one. If you escape into fiction every day because you want to escape something scary, then you’ll dig yourself deeper and deeper. And it’ll take less and less over time to make you run.

Take courage from fiction. What is the moral of The Maze Runner in your opinion? That we’re all f**ked in dystopian scenarios? I think the message of the series is that we can accomplish anything with enough persistence. Thomas and the other runners couldn’t learn the maze in a single day. Bit by bit, they began to piece together a map of where they were headed.

Life is exactly the same way, friend. The gates open, and you start running all over again. Each day you take a little more with you, and make it a little farther than the last. Beating our obsessions works just like that. Every day I show up and try and be a little more of a fanwoman than I was the day before. I might slip, and I might get stung, but I’m a little freer today than I was the day before.

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