At TGON there is no shame in having a fandom or multiple fandoms that you are obsessed with. In today’s media, we have so many choices. There are retro ones such as Star Wars and Scooby-Doo, both of which have been brought into the modern era. Then there is Supernatural, Harry Potter, and far more than I can name here. We all know our fandoms are great, but why would someone be thankful for them? Let me explain my point of view.
Aside from the obvious entertainment value, sometimes fandoms offer a lifeline. For me, childhood was not a pleasant experience. My teen years were worse. I am also considered mentally disabled. That means I have a hard time processing some things. I was in trouble and grounded a lot in those years and had everything except books taken from me. I learned to love reading. My first fandom obsession was Sweet Valley Twins then Sweet Valley High. My friends were obsessed with The Baby Sitter’s Club. Yes, I do realize how much this is dating me. My books got me through grounding. By the time I became a teen, I knew reading provided me an escape. I was all about the Vampire Diaries and the Secret Circle series and trilogy respectively.
When I was out of trouble after school and Saturday morning cartoons were my jam. My brother, sister, and I had so much fun watching them. My Dad was a sci-fi junky. I watched Battlestar Galactica and Beauty and the Beast the TV show (starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman) with him. It allowed me time with him that was an enjoyable time in our contentious relationship.
In my 20s I started having kids. My cartoon fandoms gave me a way to connect with my kids. When they started pulling cartoons from my generation to my kids’ generation, I was so excited. Briana, Kacy, and I watched Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, and all kinds of stuff. Kacy got into Care Bears and My Little Pony and I was giddy. The girls helped me introduce all of these to their little brother when he came along. Even having my kids, I held on to my fandoms, but I opened to new ones. As an adult, I was free to enjoy them to the fullest.
Becoming an independent adult not only gave me the freedom to enjoy the books and shows and movies fully, I also became open to new ones. My old ones got me through dark times. When I was scared as a kid, I always had my books to take me away. I had shows to connect with others when I was safe to. When I finally became safe as an adult, which took me until my mid-twenties, I wanted more to read, more to watch, more anything. I finally had friends that cared about me and I found others in my friend group who liked the same books as me and could make recommendations.
I had never before had people I could talk to about my books and shows. Well, Dad and I discussed the shows we watched but I had no one else to do it with. I was very much a loner. So finding other people I could talk to about this stuff was freaking awesome! I babbled and tried hard to shut up and listen to them and it was sooooooo much fun! My friend Shane is actually the one to introduce me to Harry Dresden, Anita Blake, and Merry Gentry. I will be forever grateful to him for that. I no longer needed a place to hide so I could truly enjoy it. Goddess this will make me sound old but with the invention of the internet, I have so many people to talk and share with. Just like I am sharing with all of you. Plus, I can find out so much more information about my fandoms and each person in them. It’s great!
My fandoms got me through many dark times. They have given me joy and allowed me to share that joy with others. I have made a slew of friends. Friends in real life, online, and character friends and I thoroughly enjoy all of them. So pull up a chair and talk about Letterkenny or Resident Evil with your friends. I bet you one of them needs to talk to someone about it too. Do you have any fandoms you are grateful for? What are they and why? Let me know in the comments below. Until next week…