As a thirteen-year-old, “fangirl” was probably the only word that defined me. I lived and breathed in a completely different world. All the content that I consumed from books to TV series to YouTube had me hooked.
I have since been forced to grow out of my fangirl self. You can’t spend hours rereading Heroes of Olympus if you have a stack of dishes waiting to be washed. You definitely can’t binge-watch Ryan Higa’s parkour compilation if you haven’t even started that project report due tomorrow night. I realize that adulthood unwittingly replaced my fangirling self. But I now begin to contemplate how much of a mark it left on me.
Fangirling requires you to be carefree and extraordinarily obsessive. It needs you to give up all the things that worry you and focus your attention on that one thing you’ve started to love. Your mind tends to fixate itself on one story, artist, or character.
This tendency has carried into other aspects of my life as I’ve grown older. It is difficult for me to multitask because I’ve trained my mind to solely focus on only one thing at a time. It’s challenging to get my mind off of something unless its completely out of the way – I’m compelled to devote all my attention to the task at hand, which often proves to be bad for my mental health, especially when I’m overworked.
It’s all or nothing for me, and the frustration with not being able to meet my own standards is intense.
Fangirling can also make you stagnant in terms of your opinions. In other words, it becomes very difficult to oppose or alter your judgments once you’ve established them. You become vulnerable to criticism, especially towards the things you love.
My obsessive tendencies do not allow me to change the way I think about a certain issue or topic easily. It seems to me that my belief systems are stuck in a place, despite the desperation to change my mind. For instance, first impressions are permanent for me; it may take more than a few years to change my opinion of people. This is definitely not something I want to carry throughout my adult life.
Julia Dhar gave me the most useful piece of advice in this TED talk. To disagree with people you need to find common ground, be open to ideas, and simply not take things personally. Without the ability to step out of your comfort zone and compromise, bad decisions come easy.
Fangirling also proves to be a very unhealthy coping mechanism. When times are tough and we really need to make that one phone call or make a difficult decision, focusing your energy on consuming content is effective. It takes your mind off your problems, but it’s just a distraction. Consequently, you end up procrastinating the whole problem-solving experience.
I realize that adulthood unwittingly replaced my fangirling self.
The world of fantasy has set high standards for different aspects of life – friendships always make it through, love never breaks your heart and the “good guy” has no flaws.
Although it may seem as if fangirling is the sole root of my flaws, it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe the world can be a better place. If our imagination is capable of creating a world with peace, then we can too.
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