Okay, so here’s a cheat day (spoiler alert: there might be a few of them this month), though, in my defense, internet fandom is the realm of high emotions and hyper-fixation, and is incredibly kind to — and honestly, probably dominated by — fans with neurodivergences.
This was partially inspired by my husband, who, when I told him I was thinking of doing the A-to-Z Challenge and was brainstorming themes, wondered aloud if I thought I had “enough fandoms” to do a Fandom A-to-Z. Which, honestly, I think would be both a challenge and a boatload of fun, but instead I decided to keep more thematically connected to the blog. And, since this blog is both personal and about neurodivergence, I figured I could spare a couple of posts that hit on one or both slightly more tangentially.
I have been in fandom for the better part of my life. I honestly think I’m as drawn to fandom as I am because of who I am — I fixate, hyperfocus, and perseverate as a simple fact of my existence, and I’ve engaged in a what I’d call mild maladaptive daydreaming to some extent since I was nine years old. The fact that fandom accepts and celebrates that level of devotion, focus, and enthusiasm and allows a safe, social space for escapist fantasy speaks to me on a deep, down-in-my-soul level.
I feel like mainstream perception of fandom has improved exponentially over my lifetime, though I also think there is still some of the old stigma; people, I think, assume fandom skews younger than it does, and s a result tends to infantilizes adults who are active participants (though, as I said, this is become less of an issue as more and more people are becoming openly fannish). My own fandom has, ever since I entered fandom at 12 or 13 years old, skewed heavily toward female/queer-centered spaces and fandoms, spanning a wide age range; I think the current perception that fandom skews younger is because younger fans 1.) have co-opted most of the new mediums that are conducive to fandoms gathering, 2.) have more time in which to pursue fannish activities, and 3.) have less of a reason to be covert about their ages/mask or compartmentalize their lives outside of fandom.
I am very careful about who I reveal my fannishness to; I guess that sound hypocritical, since here I am blogging about it, but I mean in more specific terms. I’ll talk about being fannish, or even about a particular fandom, but I likely won’t share meta, or art, or fanfic (even though I produce and consume all three) publicly — and lest you think that’s silly or overly dramatic, I’d like to point out that the phrase, “in the fandom closet” exists for a reason. However, while I’m not going to be plastering my blog with links to my fandom personas or any of my fanfic, I’m happy to talk fandom in a more general sense with anyone who is interested… and often people who are less than interested, to be honest.
To that end, it’s incredibly hard for me to talk succinctly about fandom, so in lieu of writing a cohesive piece beyond what I’ve already got, let me give you a few Fandom Tidbits and Highlights, and I encourage other readers with fannish leanings to share their own.
Year I Got Involved with Fandom: 1996
How Old I Was: 13
First Fandoms: Disney, specifically Darkwing Duck, The Lion King, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
First Fandom I Ever Wrote For: Les Miserables
Longest Active Involvement in a Fandom: Harry Potter
Most Intense Involvement in a Fandom: House, M.D.
Fandom I’ve Read the Most Fic For: House, M.D.
Fandom I’ve Written the Most Fic For (Published or Not): Les Miserables and Sherlock
First Convention I Ever Attended: LeakyCon 2009
Most Hit-Me-Out-of-the-Blue Fandom: Clay Aiken/The Claymates, post American Idol Season 2
Fandom That Has Had the Greatest Impact on My Real Life: Supernatural and GISHWHES
Fandoms for Which I’ve Encountered Cast or Creators: RENT, Welcome to Night Vale, Steven Universe
Fandom for Which I’ve Attended the Most IRL Events: Sherlock and Doctor Who
I welcome questions, discussion, and further contributions.
Seriously. I can talk about this all day.