Family Meanies

November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Jo writes,

I am a hardcore Gravity Falls fangirl. I just finished the latest episode, and it has seriously messed me up. I think I had a fangirl mental breakdown. But the worst part is that my parents just keep telling me, “Get over it. It’s not real.” My sister taped it laughing and my brother kept calling out “You sad you mega cry-baby?” I tried to delete the video from her phone to keep her from sharing it, but that just made my parents yell at me more, saying I couldn’t touch her stuff. I need to stop being a fangirl, but at the same time it’s the only thing keeping me together. 

Oh Jo. I’m sorry your family members are being such meanies. Sometimes sibling drama can seem even worse than the supernatural catastrophes in a cartoon. Fortunately, your fangirling can give you the advantage. Here’s how I see this situation as an opportunity for you to be the hero.

People make fun of things they don’t understand. 

You do it, and I’ve done it too. Clearly your siblings do it. When we don’t understand why someone is so passionate about something that means little or nothing to us, our instinct is to tease or ridicule. This happens with sports, bands, TV shows, ships, whatever. Our reasons for doing this can differ. Perhaps we feel left out, or feel the need to make ourselves seem superior. Whatever the motivation, it is an emotionally reactive one. Not a thoughtful one. So what do you do?

Model maturity in your own family. 

Jo, you can’t change how your family reacts to your intense feels. But you can model for them how to be a mature fangirl. Explain to them why the show is important to you. Be honest about how your feelings were hurt in a way that is thoughtful and doesn’t make them feel like you’re attacking them. Use sentences that start with I, not you. Which reaction is more mature?

“You’re so mean and you never understand me!”

“I felt embarrassed when you made fun of me for crying, because this show is important to me.”

Even if you’re the youngest in your family, you can show everyone else how to respond with respect.

tumblr_inline_nt3bowlw4m1ty2dla_500Humor is the best coping mechanism. 

Jo, when all else fails, remember that being able to see the humor in your fangirling is always a power tool. Our passion for fiction is wonderful, and inspiring, but it’s also a little bit hilarious as well. This may be hard to do when you’re a teenager, because your brain is programmed to see rough moments as the end of the world. But it isn’t the end of the world! The world is ripe for fangirling and increasingly embracing our unicorn nature.  I mean there were 65,000 people on YouTube who watched a girl watching an episode of Gravity Falls. ISN’T THE INTERNET AMAZING?

Fangirls are silly by nature, but we are also conquerers by nature. We take story and weave it into the fabric of our own lives. So how can Mabel and Dipper help you with your dilemma? Only they can tell you.

Best of luck! Be kind and be BAMFy.

Kathleen

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