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I feel like hitting 30 was a really pivotal point in my life. I finally felt like I was really coming into my own. It is also the age when I finally ended up falling completely in love with my inner fangirl.
If you’re like me you’ve always known that you were a little different. Maybe books were your thing. Maybe it was comics. Maybe it was movies. Maybe it was music. Whatever it was you were a little more into it than most of your friends. You called it a completely normal passion. Your mom called it an unhealthy obsession.
You’ve always tried to get those closest to you to love what you did and when they didn’t reciprocate it felt really desperate didn’t it?
It became a mission: to find someone who could see what you saw, to feel what you felt. For me it was books, and Outlander being made into a TV show specifically, that led me to into the world of internet fandom. Here are the five stages I went through on my journey.
When I found out that Outlander was going to be made into a show on Starz I went online to find out everything I could about it. Not having Twitter or Tumblr, I did some major lurking. That was how I found That’s Normal and thankfully they led me up the pretty steep learning curve of entering fandom and fandom etiquette.
Like how to handle yourself when this happens:
Guuurrrlll we’ve all been there.
So after a few months of lurking you finally got yourself a fancy new Twitter handle and a Tumblr account for all your JAMMF/Hiddleston/Martin Freeman (yes that’s right, I said Martin Freeman) GIF needs…now what?
I cannot sum up entering an established fandom better than this:
You are literally showing up to a burning house armed with only a pizza. It can be overwhelming. There’s the purists (literal interpreters of text, etc.) vs. the blasphemers (seriously who gives a fuck if his eyes aren’t blue? Let’s have wine). There are shipping wars. There are the show runners and the writers and the creators and the actors. All of whom are probably effing up everything for everyone at any given moment. You might even regret ever having read/watched/listened to your favorite thing in the first place. Hang in there because this will (hopefully) lead directly to the next stage.
Through trial and error you’ll eventually find your people. Your Ride or Dies. And once you find them, don’t ever let them go. They’ll validate you and keep you sane as you navigate the turbulent fandom waters. They’ll give you fanfic and fan art, they’ll give you book recs, and GIFts. You’ll talk every day, you’ll share in each others lives, and before you know it they’ll become some of your closest friends. The only problem is that they all live too far away for you to hug them like you want to.
I really hope you get murdered by your internet friends at least once in your life. I’ve been murdered by four of them and I can’t recommend it enough.
Now that you’ve got your posse by your side you can really start to enjoy being in a fandom. You get to gush about it to your new group of friends who loves whatever it is just as much as you do.
Urban dictionary has provided you with an entirely new language. You speak the parlance, you can use shorthand like a pro, you got jokes now yo!
I mean let’s be honest at this point you’ve probably got a ship of your own, might even have written a little fanfic (even if it is just inside your head), and you’ve probably lost a good amount of time down meta threads on Reddit or Tumblr too. Those paparazzi photos aren’t going to meme themselves with a picture of your face on it are they? Heck no! You’ve got your fangirl pants on, now you can move on to the next stage.
The best part about finding fandom in your 30’s+? No longer caring what anyone else thinks about what you love. Women in their prime run a lot of these fandoms. This is about connection and community. It’s about joy and fantasy and passion. That old line others try and feed you about how silly and frivolous your faves are? Eff them. Here’s what they can do with all of their unwanted opinions:
My motto for interacting on the internet is: do no harm. Live and let live. We’ve all got our own way of doing things. As long as no one is getting hurt, you don’t need to understand why someone does something differently from you. You can always find a snark monster (is that TMed yet?) at That’s Normal to commiserate with you. And please, for the love of god, don’t take yourself so seriously. So on that note, break out the photoshop and the AO3 and get your fangirl on!
Wrong, the answer is there can never be too many. Amen.