Secret Jetsetter

May 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Jennifer writes,

Came across this book and site recently and have a fangirl question. I wouldn’t say I’m an obsessive fan, but when I fan over something I love it intensely and deeply and blog about it all day. When they’re celebrities and there’s a fan meet, I feel a real need to meet them. For the last 3 years, about once a year, I’ve been buying tickets overseas to attend fan meets in secret (often having to lie to others about my location and purpose for travel because it’s embarrassing and very last minute). I also fly 8-10 hours just for 2-3 days because I often have to get back to work. But I have a huge problem with plane anxiety and feel the guilt of lying to people I love…though I don’t mean to deceive them. I feel nervous that if something happened to me, they would be really upset…and all because I wanted to meet my favourite celebrity! Yesterday, I made the decision to not go on a plane to attend a fan meet I really wanted to see because it would mean that I’d have to get back on my sister’s birthday the next day, and I was nervous about the plane ride. I feel less guilty and relieved that I don’t have to ride on a plane, but also really empty and sad that I didn’t go through with my choice. How can I stop myself from feeling this way? What would you suggest I do about my addiction to overseas fan meets?

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The Whisper Screams

March 30, 2016 § 1 Comment

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Isabella writes,

Hello, I am a HUGE geek. I like to watch gamers on YouTube and whenever I find a new ship, I tend to internally scream. If I find a new nOtp, I visibly gag and do whisper screams. How do I stop myself from overreacting over ships?

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Fangirl Mindfulness

March 9, 2016 § 6 Comments

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I wanted to give a big thank you to those who have been joining the #fangirlhealth Twitter chats every Wednesday night at 8pm. We’ve had some great discussion about how fangirling can be a source of inspiration rather than simple distraction and how fangirls can engage in self-care.

Tonight I’ll be doing some self-care of my own, so in lieu of the chat I’m leaving two fangirl mindfulness exercises for you to practice.

First, let’s look at some of the ways that a fangirl can be less than mindful:

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Escape Artist

February 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Anonymous writes,

So I get lost in my headcanon. A lot. It happens at work, at home, on the bus. . . After a CBT therapy last year, I realized that this behaviour could be an escapist response to my anxiety. I have since been trying to teach my brain not to go there all the time.

The only issue is that getting lost in my headcanon is the only way I’m able to write fic. Now that I’m trying to limit myself, my fic ideas remain unwritten. I’m afraid that if I indulge in them, I’ll just end up in an escapist fantasy again.

Any suggestions as to how I can still write my fic and be mindful?

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Girl Crush Guardian

January 6, 2016 § 2 Comments

Brienne-of-Tarth

Girl in the UK writes,

My issue is that my girl-crush is gaining in profile and popularity, particularly with one upcoming role. With this increase in attention comes bitchiness from gossip sites and people who disapprove of her casting in the upcoming role. Naturally, this makes me indescribably furious, to the extent that I have researched ways to hack and sabotage one gossip website (I didn’t go through with it). I struggle to look away from the nasty comments about my darling. Once I have seen a cruel comment, I feel compelled to look again and again, several times an hour, to see if there have been any more. This can go on for days until the thread becomes quiet.  How can I break the habit of wallowing in NEGATIVE feelings and upsetting myself??? 

I worry about how any future criticism with affect my girl-crush’s career and feelings, as well as my own, as this sort of thing has depressed me for weeks and weeks in the past. I have no control over her emotions or the words of others, so how can I control my own anxiety and my sadness if people criticise my girl-crush?

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Star Wars Anxiety

December 4, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Star Wars Gal writes,

I’m writing on behalf of my girlfriend. Lately she’s become very anxious about the upcoming Star Wars sequel. Specifically, she’s worried that the new movie will turn Luke into a villain (or kill him off). The idea that Luke could be dead in the film, or turned to the Dark Side, really really upsets her — she started crying about it at one point.

We’ve discussed why Luke is important to her as a character, and why she might be feeling so strongly about this possibility. We’ve agreed that I’ll go see the movie on my own first, to check if she’ll be able to cope with the plotline. What she’d like me to ask you is, can you recommend some ways to handle her anxiety and distress about this?

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The Fangirl Crash

November 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Amy writes,

After a fandom related event happens, I crash. Like a concert where I’ll be in the same room as my faves, or a convention where I’ll be seeing the people of my dreams “in the flesh.” The days leading up to the event are often very exciting, but on the day I can make myself ill. I’ve had situations where I literally feel like I’m going to be sick. When the thing actually happens I’m shaking and I feel like I’ve left my own body. And then when it’s over, it’s like all my emotion has bubbled over and I’m left crying in the car on the way home. Sometimes I’m upset for days, when nothing actually bad has happened. In fact something amazing has happened! I’ve seen a fave!

I have a big fandom-y thing coming up and I’d love my memories of it not to be tarnished by the weird depressed feeling I get for days after. If you have any idea what the hell is going on or any tips on how to cope with being me, that you be wonderful.

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The Jealous Fangirl

October 5, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Julia writes, 

I am addicted to this character called L Lawliet from the anime Death Note. I get jealous with people when they mention him and I get really sad when I don’t know something about him. When I think a lot about it, I get a “fangirl attack”. What should I do?

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The Irrational Fangirl

September 30, 2015 § 2 Comments

If you’re a fangirl, you tend to learn towards the irrational. Don’t believe me? Have you ever had any of these thoughts?

I need [insert actress] to be in this episode or I’ll die. 

Everyone should reblog this post on Tumblr. 

Nobody understands this character the way I do. 

If I don’t make it home for this episode, I’m going to lose it. 

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Sure, we joke about these extreme ways of thinking, but they take their toll. You get anxious when you miss a trailer, and you assume the worst when nobody reviews your fanfic in the first 15 minutes. So what do you do?

There’s a form of therapy called REBT that teaches us to change how we think about our thoughts. Sound confusing? Let’s break it down.

  1. Your fangirl thinking influences you more that what actually happens.
  2. So to be less crey, you have to change your thoughts.

How do you change your thinking? You practice your ABCs. Let’s look at an example.

A= Activating Event. Traffic is bad, and you might miss your favorite TV show.

B= Belief. I must watch this TV show live or I will die.

C= Consequence. I feel anxious! OH nOOOOO!

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How do you change the consequence? You go back and examine the belief.

D= Dispute belief. Hmm. There were a lot of shows I never watched live, and I still enjoyed them.

and with that, we have

E! More Effective View. I like watching TV live, but I’ll be okay if I miss an episode or two.

When you can adjust your beliefs, you’ll feel less upset when the fangirl world doesn’t quite go your way.

So try it out! What irrational thoughts do you have about the way people act in your fandom or your fanfic? You can still enjoy your unicorn nature without sacrificing your sanity.

The OTP Channel

March 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

DaCupcakePanda writes,

Hi! I ship a load of stuff, but I don’t ship ANY OF THEM as much as Hayffie (Haymitch and Effie from The Hunger Games). Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Eurgh, not one of those people. Hayffie doesn’t even WORK. It doesn’t make sense!” Well, I can’t argue with you because we all have our different opinions, but I believe they should be canon. My problem is that I need them to be together so much, I can’t think of anything else. When I go to bed, I imagine how they would kiss and say goodnight and blardy blar, so forth and so on. What can I do?

Is blardy blar the new Yada-Yada? I love it.

BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO?

jj2As fangirls sometimes we forget that people go to bed thinking about things other than what I like to call The OTP Channel. And the reality is that using your imagination is actually a brilliant way to end to the day. I put on an episode of my favorite headcanon, and within ten minutes I’m asleep. I’m not worrying about the day ahead or second-guessing my decisions.

There is brilliance in the blardy blar, DCP. Because you’re accessing your imagination more than the average citizen of Panem, there are all sorts of benefits that keep your brain nice and wrinkly. But the downside is that sometimes the OTP Channel is a 24-hour network. You’d rather watch Hayffie flirt than finish your homework or hang out with friends.

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In Catching Fire, Haymitch shares an interesting observation with Katniss and Peeta. From now on, your job is to be a distraction so people forget what the real problems are. And like the star-crossed lovers from District 12, your OTP does exactly that. They distract you.

Humans deal with anxiety in two ways. By distracting, and by engaging it. Neither tactic is bad as long as we use both of them. That means turning off The OTP Channel sometimes. So pastry bear, here’s what I recommend that you do.

Step 1: Pay Attention! Go 24 hours and make a note every time you think about your OTP. Where are you, what are you doing, who’s around you? What thoughts, difficult situations, or responsibilities might you be avoiding?

Step 2: Spend some time in your head. Pick a free moment and set an alarm for 5 minutes. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t judge yourself if they’re negative or they land on your OTP. Just neutrally nudge them aside and focus on breathing and your senses. This is called mindfulness.

Step 3: Make the odds be ever in your favor.  Start taking moments throughout the day where you’d think about your OTP and instead be mindful of what’s around you. Set a reminder on your phone if you have to. Making lunch, showering, sitting in boring staff meetings, and driving to the grocery store are all opportunities to look up and appreciate the sights and sounds around you. To pay attention to what’s making you stressed or worried and to be rational and solution-focused.

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aka the voice inside you who doesn’t want you to BAMF

Step 4: Reward yourself with headcanon. The fangirl is an expert at diving deep into her imagination to avoid the real life opportunities snapping their fingers in front of her face. But the fanwoman doesn’t hide behind headcanon. Instead it’s her treat at the end of a long day of BAMF-worthy conquering.

I don’t think you’re one of those people, friend. You’re one of my people, and we’re people who conquer, blardy blar and all. So stay alive, stay focused, and show them something they’ll remember.

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