January 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
Frustrated Fangirl writes,
What do you do when your celeb crushes are dating or married to people you just do not like? My favorite female celeb is dating a guy who seems nice and seems to make her happy, but I think she could do better. He just doesn’t seem famous enough or good looking enough. It frustrates me because I want to be supportive and participate in her fandom, but I just don’t like this guy for her.
I liked it better when she was single because there were so many possibilities. But now she’s tied down to this one guy and it’s boring. I know I should be happy for her because they do seem to be getting along really well and they are kind of cute together. But it’s just not who I would pick for her. How do I feel better about this?
January 5, 2016 § 2 Comments
I’ve met my fave actress, I’ve talked to her, and it was wonderful! Now I’m about to meet her again but this time there will be many other fans around and I can already feel myself getting kinda… well jealous.
My main problem is that I would like to make an impression, make her laugh or something like that (what fan doesn’t want that, right?), but I’m so scared to appear creepy that when I talk to her I hardly dare to say anything at all. My goal is it to talk to her & seem like a young woman who deeply respects & appreciates her work and who admires her as a human being. I don’t want her to see me as one of the 100 crazy fangirls who have trouble distinguishing between fiction and reality.
So what can I do to seem like a passionate young women rather than a crazy fan? And how do I stop being jealous of other fans who might get 5 secs more time with her than me & my friend? Hope you can help me Kathleen.
November 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
Unrequited Lover writes,
I have crushes on fictional characters. I know that I will never meet them and that there is no chance that we could ever be together, but I still refuse to accept it. I can’t even wrap my head around it.
Having such strong feelings for fictional characters is interfering with my real life. If someone ever asks me on a date, it’s very rare that I’ll even consider it, because of the feelings I have for characters that don’t exist. It’s starting to get out of hand, and I’m missing out on a lot of opportunities. Help me please!
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?
July 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Hi. So I keep falling in love with boys. Specifically Youtubers & Band Members. I snog my hand pretending it’s them. I kiss ‘them’ (a stuffie) goodnight. Whenever I’m out places I picture myself as if I’m walking with them. I read fanfiction almost 24/7 and pretend it’s actually happening. Then I’m over him and onto the next in a few months. I realize it’s like smoking—unhealthy. These thoughts are not good for my sanity, plus I’m scared I might touch a guy’s arm or something while I’m daydreaming and not realize. I’m also scared that the next time a boy likes me I’ll go too far since I keep looking for this unrealistic love. Please. I need help. How do I stop doing this to myself? How do I not fall for every new boy?
Liv, I want you to know that making out with your hand is developmentally on point for any teenager, young adult, or congressman. And writing yourself into fic or headcanon isn’t unhealthy either. I have starred in any number of Emmy-winning television shows when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. When I died on LOST, it was SO DAMN MOVING.
Instead of focusing on how famous dude crushes are unrealistic, I want you to think about how your dreams can provide you some valuable information about yourself. So just for a minute, turn your focus onto yourself in these kissy daydreams. What is different about Band Member’s girlfriend Liv and Hand Snogging Liv? Do you see character traits you’d like to embody or improve?
When I think of the daydream version of myself, she’s not just smarter and more successful. She’s also braver, kinder to others, and a lot more easygoing. She doesn’t lurch around muttering sarcastic comments, and she’s not so damn hard on herself. This is a signal to me that these are the character traits I value above all others. Rather than worrying about going cold turkey on the imaginary feels, see how your dreams can generate a map for your own character development. Your plot arc may not have sexy times for a good while, but who cares when YOU’RE SO FUCKING AWESOME?!
We burrow into our imaginations because we’re fangirls, and that is a gift, not a curse. Don’t deny your unicorn nature, and don’t be ashamed that your mind is your greatest coping tool. Rather than pulling out the rug, see what healthy behaviors you can introduce instead. What would it look like if you were making out with LIFE, Liv? When you’re being brave and striving to be the best draft of yourself, you’ll have less time and less need to retreat back into fiction. So trot little unicorn! And let me know how it goes.
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!
November 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
These days, “Treat Yo Self” is a phrase we all know well whether we’re Parks and Rec fans or not. But I find myself shaking my head when I see posts on social media that talk about coping. All too often, we conflate ways of coping with the practices that actually perpetuate our anxiety.
Netflix marathons and chocolate cake are great, but if you’re only distracting yourself from your anxiety, then sooner or later it’s going to find you like an angry Internet troll. By definition fangirls tend to be anxious creatures, but that doesn’t mean we have to hang up our headcanon to be a little less reactive to the world around us.
There are three basic ways that humans bind anxiety, and here they are.
DRUGS! Alcohol and illicit drugs are certainly one way we cope with chronic and acute anxiety. But anything can be a drug if you repeat the behavior enough. Therefore many of our fangirl behaviors hijack the brain just like drugs. Not sure whether you’re using fangirling to manage your anxiety? Here are a few hints.
- Checking social media obsessively.
- Vigilant monitoring of celebrity’s activity (27 Google alerts, constant tweeting, going to extreme lengths to obtain video or photos).
- Impairing relationships, work or school progress because of fangirling. If you can’t miss an episode of your favorite show from time to time or can’t get your work done because of your fanfic, then this is a problem.
RELATIONSHIPS! People use their relationships as a way of managing their stress and anxiety. Love and friendship are beautiful things, but when you lose “self” in them (i.e. you’re unable to separate your identify from the other person’s), then it’s only a temporary fix to the anxiety. You’re likely to experience other physical and emotional symptoms in the long run. Here is what managing anxiety with relationships might look like.
- Sacrificing values or principles to fit in with a group.
- Acting out of fear of losing a relationship.
- Seeking constant praise and approval from others.
- Involving a third person to complain about other relationships.
- Cutting off a family member because the anxiety of dealing with them is too high.
Drugs and relationships are about distracting ourselves from our anxiety. But there is a third way, and it’s called
SITTING WITH IT! At least in the short term, anxiety won’t kill you. It’s unpleasant and uncomfortable, but sometimes just sitting with it can provide us with valuable information about ourselves. Engaging our reactivity rather than pushing it aside is how we grow into mature, nonreactive adults. Sitting with your anxiety might look like this.
- Practicing mindfulness and meditating.
- Turning your computer off early before you go to bed.
- Not checking your phone when you’re stopped at a red light.
- Standing up for yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
- Exploring your unhealthy coping with a mental health professional.
- Practicing communicating with difficult people in a nonreactive manner.
Not don’t get me wrong. It’s fine to treat yourself with a glass of wine at the end of a long day or call a friend when you need to talk to someone. The goal isn’t to stop distracting yourself–this is an evolutionary mechanism that helps us get through the trials of life. The goal is to start engaging your anxiety in addition to those distractions. That way when you do dive into fictional worlds, it’s more about taking a vacation than escaping your mind like a refugee rushing for the border.
Not sure where to start? My ask is always open.
Also a reminder that you can still enter the BAMF necklace giveaway until Wednesday evening!
October 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
When it comes to television, it’s a brave new world. All you have to do is grab the remote after Sunday football to realize that the ladies have arrived. Veteran shows like The Good Wife and newcomers like Madam Secretary and How to Get Away With Murder teach us that television doesn’t have to have a bro-dominated cast to draw in male and female viewers alike.
The days of neurotic female subordinates or flighty love interests might be waning, but has your boyfriend’s brain caught up to the 21st century? TV lady haters unfurl their banners proudly on the Internet, but most have to be smoked out of their misogynist cave dwellings. If you’re not sure whether your guy is a lady hater or a lady worshipper, here are 4 questions you can ask him.
How did you feel about Skyler White? Recently a friend taught me that this is the ultimate litmus test. Hate for this badass Breaking Bad lady was so vitriolic that Anna Gunn personally wrote a letter to the New York Times defending her character. The “I hate Skyler White” Facebook page has 30,000 likes, and her fanpage has about 300. Just to find this picture I had to wade through uncountable hate memes on Google image. If your boyfriend felt that Skyler White was wrong not to support her husband’s reign of terror, then you might want to take a closer look at this one.
What do you think about the women on Game of Thrones? If a prospective male can’t even tell you his favorite female on Game of Thrones, then you should probably be worried. Chances are you’ll get an answer like Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth, but a true lover of women also knows that real strength comes in many forms, not just the kind that will stab you in the gut. If your guy says shit about Sansa Stark or other ladies on the show, then you might want to be careful. Why hate on a woman who’s just doing what she can do survive?
Do you watch The Big Bang Theory? Look, I am well aware that 20 million people watch this show. Big Bang Theory reruns are about as avoidable as Internet comments. But aren’t we past the days of shelving women in science geek or dumb, hot girl tropes? This show is an advertisement that men are the true nerds, and at best, a woman can serve as a love interest. So if you’re interested in being more in life than someone’s girlfriend, I suggest you ask this question to a potential guy.
Who’s your favorite female lead? If it takes your dude more than fifteen seconds to answer this question (because he can’t think of any, not because there are so many he can’t choose), then it’s worth a deeper conversation. It’s great for couples to have their own TV interests, but if your boyfriend won’t even consider watching a show with a female lead, then you need to know his thinking.
Talking about powerful women in television isn’t about picking a fight with a guy you’re dating. It’s about getting a peak into the brain and seeing how he might process and label his interactions with women in day-to-day life. A man who respects ladies, sees their weaknesses as only human, and understands their stories arc as larger than that of a wife or girlfriend, is likely to be the best kind of guy. So go find the remote, and see what he has to say.
September 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Part of my mission here at Fangirl Therapy is to do my part erasing some of the stigma that has plagued the ladies of fandom for centuries. Okay decades. But it’s still a big fucking deal. We are not all fourteen year olds crying at a Bieber concert. We have jobs and healthy relationships and some of us even make our beds every day. You wouldn’t even be able to pick us out of a lineup on the days that all our Threadless t-shirts are in the dirty laundry.
The truth is, the time is ripe for fangirling. We are rising up out of the ashes and claiming that our imaginations make us hot commodities. We are on the rise and on the move. Like if you had a magic wand and personified a Kelly Clarkson song. Okay maybe too far.
So let’s bust some myths, shall we?
Myth #1: Fangirls are all teenagers. The first fangirl friend I ever met in real life was a wonderfully intelligent and successful woman in her 40s. Sure there are herds of thirteen year olds lurking about the web and whining about not having enough allowance money for concert tickets, but most of us are college age and beyond. Is it more socially acceptable for a teenager to cry about Sirius Black than your grandmother? Yes. But that doesn’t mean the middle-aged ladies of the world aren’t secretly pining over Claire Underwood’s wardrobe in their free time.
Myth#2: Fangirls are trying to escape their boring lives. False. My life is pretty damn exciting. The stories I could tell about my clients if confidentiality weren’t an issue would fill a thousand TV seasons. I have hobbies that don’t involve making gifs. Fangirls can have rich and adventurous lives just like other people. We just have six thousand imaginary friends along for the ride and don’t require Bejeweled to keep us occupied.
Myth #3: Fangirls aren’t capable of healthy relationships. Seriously? What is it about the Internet that makes people think all of our fangirl friends are serial killers or proselytizing lesbians preying on straight girls? All of a sudden we’re all Orange is the New Black characters. Are there fangirls who meet online and become involved romantically? Of course. This tends to happen sometimes when humans interact with other humans. I met my boyfriend through an online dating site. It’s a brave new world folks. Engaging in fandom and participating in healthy family, friend and romantic relationships aren’t mutually exclusive. Anything can become unhealthy if you focus on it too intensely, real world relationships and online relationships alike.
And finally, Myth #4. Fangirls spend all day on the Internet. Hmm. Fine, this is 100% true. I’m on the Internet right now, scrolling past cat gifs. Haters gonna hate. Fangirls have been known, from time to time, to hang up our clicky fingers and breathe some fresh air and go hiking and shit. How else do you think we come up with vacation headcanon for our OTP?