I’ve often waxed lyrical about the joys of fandom at my journal, and I never need another excuse to do that, because there’s so much to love about fandom!
Fandom isn’t just a group of people who happen to like the same TV show or film, or book. We’re a family; a community. We’re a community of like-minded people who all love the same thing and who can openly share their likes, loves, and passions with each other.
And like any community, we interact, we have fun, we take care of the more vulnerable members of our community, we support each other’s dreams and cheerlead each other’s challenges.
But fandom isn’t just an abstract thing; to me it’s a place. It’s a place with no borders, where us fans, regardless of or race or sexuality or whatever other characteristics we may have can go to belong, to be welcomed into the arms of a community that is accepting and fun; a community that GETS us.
Somehow, friendships made through fandom are easy; easier than friendships forged in real life through work, or school or location. Real life friendships have to form and evolve. When you start out, you’re just two disparate strangers working for the same organisation, or living in the same street. Friendships made through fandom, on the other hand, begin with you both knowing something about each other - what you love and what you have in common. And although those friendships may start out as something as simple and superficial as a shared love of the same TV show, or the same book, they quickly grow into something far more meaningful.
Many of my fandom friendships have outgrown the computer screen and crossed over into real life, and those friendships have given me more joy than I could ever put into a simple post like this.
Members of fandom are often those of us that society thinks of as ‘weird’ or a bit odd, or on the edge of ‘normal’. A lot of us probably suffered through school, and have never been regarded as 'cool' or in with the ‘in’ crowd; but in fandom, ‘weirdness’ is embraced, individuality is celebrated, imagination is admired. Fandom is where you can be yourself, where you can be all that you can be, and more.
The sheer depth of talent and skill within fandom is mindboggling. To be able to immerse yourself in such a deep and welcoming pool of creativity is a delight and a privilege, and what makes it so special is that all these amazing fanworks, whether they be inspirational art, gripping stories, entertaining videos etc, are all done just for the sheer pleasure of creating them, not for any financial gain.
So yes, I never need any excuse to write a love letter to fandom; everything I’ve written here comes from my personal experience. Fandom has enabled me to learn new skills, and to rediscover and develop old ones. It has given me friends from all over the world. Those friends know who they are and how much they mean to me, and if I can give back to them and to fandom generally a fraction of the love and happiness they’ve given me, then my time in fandom will have been very well spent.
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