November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
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.
November 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
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.
October 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
Anonymous Sufferer writes,
I’m a high school female and I just recently (2 weeks ago) fell in love with a YouTube star who has now become even more famous. He is so great in real life, not just singing heartless songs. I’m basically consumed by thoughts of him, and every time I get on the Internet I immediately go to Google to stare at pictures of him. Any advice on how to get my mind off him and actually get schoolwork done?
October 5, 2015 § 1 Comment
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?
October 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
Anonymous Fangirl writes,
I don’t see much on your blog regarding people who “fangirl” over the real life relationships of celebs. I’m thinking of people who are freaking out over Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner separating. Or people who never got over the fact that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams broke up.
I admit I get a lot of enjoyment over watching a favorite celeb “falling in love” on social media or in the entertainment pages. They paint such lovely narratives holding hands while walking through New York City or pushing their shopping carts to the car after doing groceries or smiling serenely walking the red carpet.
Rationally, I know that all I’m seeing is the functional stuff i.e. the times when they are behaving themselves for the camera and paparazzi. I don’t see the arguments or the affairs or the long lonely days spent apart as people travel to film and work. But emotionally, those pictures are so lovely!
What advice do you have for fangirls who can’t help obsessing over real life celeb couples?
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.
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.
- Your fangirl thinking influences you more that what actually happens.
- 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!
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.
August 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
I wanted to ask how I should take a break from my fandom. I love my fandom (1D), and I love going on Tumblr and being showered with funny posts that make my day. But lately I’ve been a little overwhelmed with everything that’s going on. Most people on Tumblr freak out when crazy news pops up. They cry and say, “This is too much. This is why I get no sleep.” I hate when people get too attached to them as if we own them.
I think I should take a small break like I did last year for about 2 months. I think I’ll just leave for one month this time, but I don’t want to miss out on the thing that makes me laugh the most on a day to day basis. I know school is coming up on the first and I’ll be busy, but I really love being on Tumblr. I don’t know if I should take a break now and cut it cold turkey or if I should wait for a good time during the school year, or for a whole semester.
I just wanted to ask when you think I should stop and if maybe I’ll feel better after the drama cools over. I just need to chill for a moment but I don’t want to miss out. What do you think the problem is/when should I take the break? Thank you.
Prisca! Thank you for asking such a wonderful question. The cold turkey question is one I come up against again and again as a fangirl. I can’t tell you how many times people type “how do I stop fangirling” into Google every day. No literally, I can’t. GEEZ GOOGLE.
In the field of addiction, there’s a huge debate about whether helping someone with an alcohol problem means helping them stop drinking all together (aka sobriety), or reducing their drinking (aka harm reduction). While fangirling is nowhere near as serious as a drinking problem, our brains can still get stuck in that pattern of needing that dopamine to keep us happy. So rather than pulling out the rug from under our feels, you have to learn to train your brain to think differently about One Direction.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about how to keep your brain healthy and insightful. In Mindsight, Dr. Dan Siegel talks about how in order to have good mental health, we have to encourage neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is a fancy word for how your brain builds new connections between neurons. The more connections there are, the more your mind is equipped to deal with the rough stuff. Even the drama of fandom! People will continue to freak out, but you won’t have to hit that panic button. You’ll just be chillin, Prisca.
So to be a more chill fangirl, you need neuroplasticity. How do you get it? Siegel says there are 3 basic ways:
- Exercise – More than any mental exercise, physical exercise benefits your brain the most. So being active is super important. Your butt should be moving and not forever planted in front of your computer on Tumblr.
- Novelty – Your fangirl brain needs to be exposed to new experiences and thoughts. So if you’re stuck on the same ship, the same fic, and the same Internet conversations, your brain becomes more rigid or chaotic in stressful situations. Visit a museum, read a new book, or take a class and learn how to do something new. Novelty is golden.
- Emotional Arousal – is the fangirl’s middle name. Yeah, I think we’ve got this one covered. Siegel says that engaging our emotions helps our brain form new connections. But don’t limit your emotional involvement to just two fictional idiots who haven’t kissed yet! Or in your case, the same 1D member’s personal drama. Find other causes and real life stories that ignite your passion.
So Prisca, yes hopping up and down in front of the TV with creys about a new ship covers these 3 basics. But the more creative you can be with building neuroplasticity, the less the fandom drama will bug you. You’ll be able to enjoy 1D without feeling emotionally sucked into the latest news.
Whether that means taking a break or not is up to you! If you’re adding some new experiences and interests to your daily routine, fangirling should be less of a chore and more of a treat. Flex your brain, and you’ll be ready for anything.
March 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
Mrs. Imitating writes,
I watched The Imitation Game and fell in love (and deep pain) with the movie. And I’ve been having the Feels (there are still movie fangirls, right?). I cry because anything reminds me about the movie. It’s just shaken me and I love it, but I think about it too much. It’s stuck in my head (the sad scenes mostly), and it’s making me confused! Help!
Friend, I absolutely can give you some advice. But in the spirit of the story, you’ll have to decode it first! Or just click here if you’re not up to the challenge.
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March 23, 2015 § 1 Comment
*cough click play cough*
I fell in love with Adam Cartwright when I was eight. I am significantly older now, but still in love. With the internet, I’ve discovered Bonanza fan fiction and streaming old Bonanza episodes. I mean really! It’s embarrassing. Is this OK? How much is too much? I’m a published novelist, and it interferes with my plotting! I have an app that blocks my access during work hours, but I still think about it! My husband thinks I’m insane, so I have to hide my fangirling from him. I used to feel the same way about Paul Simon, but I appear to have grown out of that.
Let me just start by sending a giant thank you to my grandparents for never turning the TV off for a single second of my childhood. Because of them, Sarah, I am a 29-year-old woman who has spent more time on the Ponderosa than dare I say any other millennial on the planet. I guess being able to answer your question is worth having to put up with all those hours of Judge Judy blasting at 700,000 decibels. Maaaaybe.
How much is too much? The fact that you have to hide the behavior from your spouse tells me that you might have already wandered into that territory. The problem with fangirling is that it is a bonanza. The word is defined as “a source of sudden wealth or great luck,” and boy do we feel like we’ve struck gold when we find a fic archive or a streaming site that feeds the beast. But like anyone who wins the lottery, we struggle to manage the wealth.
To me, there’s a difference between what I call “selective sharing” about fangirling in relationships and blatant deception. For example, if your significant other asks why you’re in a good mood, you don’t need to say, “Because these idiots on my TV screen just kissed, so excuse me as I barf rainbows riding into the sunset of creys on my unicorn.” Maybe just go for, “Something really exciting happened on my show this week.” Or “I’m reading the best fanfiction, so just ignore me if I grin like an idiot for no apparent reason.”
So that being said, you don’t need to give your husband the plot points of the fic that you’re reading before bed. But if you’re spending vast amounts of time in fangirl world and have to lie about what you’ve been up to or why you’re spinning around in circles in a feels frenzy, then it can be problematic for any relationship. Like any addict, we lie to ourselves first before we start lying to others. We become masters at avoiding the truth, distorting reality to justify our behavior to our loved ones.
It sounds like you’re not lying to yourself about how your Cartwright feels are interfering with your own writing, and you have already taken some solid steps to separate work from play. Maybe take a break from Bonanza, or even go on an Internet fast? I know that a weekend free of technology always helps my creative juices, so consider leaving Adam back at the ranch for a few days.
Above all Sarah, never ever feel ashamed about being a fanwoman. There is no show too old, too new, too anything, that should make you feel embarrassed about wanting to dig a little deeper into the story. I’m sure your capacity for imagination has served you well as a writer, so it’s normal to feed the fire from time to time. Just make sure it’s contained, so the whole Ponderosa doesn’t go up in smoke. And if your husband just doesn’t quite get it, tell him he can buy a copy of Fangirl Therapy in 2016! Published by Perigee Books/Penguin. Huzzah!