I’ve only been writing for That’s Normal for a few years, but I’ve been a fan for much longer than that. Like a lot of you, That’s Normal came to me through Outlander. I’d been obsessed with elements of pop culture before, but not like I was for Outlander. Sure, I made a scrapbook page dedicated to my love for Legolas when I was around eleven, but nothing consumed my time like Outlander did. I would read at work, come home and read some more, and then I would forgo sleeping in lieu of reading. I’m honestly not sure how I survived. Probably because nothing will override my need to eat. Plus you can read and eat at the same time…
I made a Twitter so I could connect with other fans. I interacted with the Outlander Starz twitter account. I joined lots of Facebook fan groups, found podcasts, and bought unauthorized merch. I look back and honestly, I’m a little embarrassed. While I’ve un-followed all the groups I’ve joined, unsubscribed from the podcasts, and hidden away the Heughligans anniversary t-shirt I bought (no shade, y’all are so kind and great), I never stopped my daily perusal of That’s Normal.
I’m guessing I’m not alone, but every morning I have about seven internet tabs I open before I do anything else – email, Goodreads, my bank account, a few other boring, work-related sites, and That’s Normal. That was my habit before I started contributing to the site, and it will probably continue to be my habit for a couple of weeks or so until I get used to the fact that there won’t be any new posts. I’m pretty sad about it, but I completely understand. I’ve wondered many, many times how Bekah and Nikki do it. They’re girlboss goals, for sure.
It’s wonderful that they let all of us contribute to this site. I have no background in writing other than a love for stories and a great AP English score in high school (not a very cool #humblebrag but one I’m sharing nonetheless) – that doesn’t exactly make me qualified, but they gave me a shot. And all you readers did too. There has been nothing more rewarding than writing something and getting a positive response to it. Not for the stroke to my ego (although that’s nice too), but mainly because the best part of being a fan is sharing what you love with others. There have been so many times I’m reading or watching or listening to something and I just want to tell everyone around me how amazing it is, whether they care to know or not. That’s Normal has given me the opportunity to do that, much louder than it would be if I posted to my sad, empty Twitter account. In a world where being a fan can sometimes make you feel like a nerd or a freak, That’s Normal created a safe space – especially for women – to shout about what they love and be heard.
That has been incredibly meaningful to me, especially when it comes to the books I’ve shared with you all. From #TNReads, to Boozy Book Club, to the books that deserve their own rambling reviews, it’s been so joyful to share my love of reading with you all. Again, something that sometimes makes me feel like a nerd was embraced by everyone at this site and encouraged. At That’s Normal you never needed to hide your book covers or pretend you didn’t love the wacky fan-fic or insane genre-blending romance. Inevitably you’d find someone else that loved it just as much as you and was happy that you shared something you loved with the world.
It’s been a dream sharing the things I love with you all. Thank you, Bekah and Nikki, for letting me be a part of this wonderful chapter of your lives. And thank you to all the readers for being a fan – not of me, but of anything, of being passionate about something. Even when That’s Normal isn’t around to help you find your next fandom, you know all us crazy fans will find each other.