I’ve recently discovered the Nerdy Girlie, and she’s amazing. She has what she and Super Space Chick call 5 Fandom Friday. It’s open to bloggers to participate! As I’ve been uninspired lately and exhausted from making a long, long move across a few states and starting a new job, I decided to give this a shot!
When we’re young, it’s easy to get bullied for things we like that others don’t or can’t understand. I enjoyed being on my own and having one or two close friends at a young age.
Being shy, I found it hard to reach out to anyone else. I felt intimidated and scared that they wouldn’t like me or “get” me. I found my solace in reading, television and movies. Little did I know that diving into these fandoms would lead me to the best people. I’ll start with the ones that made an impact on me when I was young up until today. (Disclaimer: Ages and timeline could be a little wibbley-wobbley; it’s been a long time!)
Harry Potter (8 years old)
I remember transferring from one school to another in first grade. My first grade teacher at the last school was very behind. My new first grade teacher was already teaching everyone how to read. My little heart plummeted. I was behind the others. I’d never catch up. I cried to Mrs. Morrison that I’d never learn to read.
Mrs. Morrison was the very best teacher I ever had. She made sure I never lost confidence and before I knew it, I was the best reader in class. I made 100’s on every test. I got to pick my own books in the library… But they were getting too short, too simple. I wanted more. Mrs. Morrison started letting me check out three at a time, and I still passed every reading test with flying colors.
Slowly, as I went up in grades, the teachers noticed how much I loved to read and how good at it I was. I’ll never forget when I got to pick up my first “chapter book.” The very first Harry Potter. It was like hitting the jackpot. Victory was even sweeter to be in third grade and reading at a sixth grade level.
Harry Potter became an addiction. I read all the books we had in the library. Then I asked for copies for Christmas, and I read them again. My mom and I would stand outside of bookstores when a new Harry Potter book dropped. We went to all the movies. I would read my brand new copy in a day, even in a few hours if I didn’t have school.
Even today, I still feel that rush when I read Harry Potter. I took my book collection to my new place and designated it’s spot on the shelf. I’ve bought the audio books and listen and re-listen in my car on long drives. You never get over Harry Potter. The series gave me my love for reading, and that’s something that I’ll cherish forever.
InuYasha (11 years old)
The very first anime I ever watched was Sailor Moon. I enjoyed the girl power vibe and adored the funny, relatable characters. Usagi was a lot like me and I saw myself in other characters too. I wish I could say Sailor Moon was my gateway fandom to anime, but it wasn’t.
Late one night, I couldn’t sleep and ended up watching InuYasha. I’m sure everyone is inwardly groaning right now, but just wait a second. I loved the story, the fighting, the good versus evil, the powerful stories behind the characters. Sango quickly became my favorite, with Kagome as a close second. These girls were strong, young, and smart.
Becoming a mega-fan of InuYasha turned out to be a great thing for me. When I changed schools in seventh grade, I found myself without any friends. I was brand new, and a lot of these kids knew each other from elementary school. I felt alone. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. After a few months with no friends still, I saw a girl sporting an InuYasha t-shirt. With all the courage I had in my introverted heart, I told her I liked her shirt. I made ten friends that day, all so close and dear to me still.
I’m still a big fan of InuYasha, but the novelty has worn off. I still have plushies, shirts, games, and DVD’s. I plan to share them with some special people one day who can fall in love with the fandom like I did. InuYasha was truly the gateway fandom into anime for me.
Gaming (13 years old)
I actually got my first playstation at 5 years old. I’ve always been a passionate gamer. Being young, you don’t delve too deep in story lines or lore. You want to play the game! At thirteen, I started getting into gaming, like hardcore. I played horror, RPGs, anything with a good solid story. The Fatal Frame series, Silent Hill, Haunting Ground, Clock Tower 3, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil to name a few. If it was deep, confusing, made you cry in sadness/frustration/happiness I wanted to play it. Even more than playing it, I realized, one day, I wanted to make a game that made others feel the same way.
Gaming gave me my career path. I took every art class I could in middle and high school so I could draw characters and environments. I wanted to make the games I enjoyed playing so much. I went to college and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Game Art, The Advanced Achievement Award, and as Salutatorian of my class. I’m currently a graphic artist creating 2D and 3D models. It’s probably my dream job at this point in my life, but one day, I want to make a game just so I can have others play it and enjoy gaming as much as I do. Maybe it’ll change someone else’s life as much as mine.
Gaming also helped my best friend at the time and I become very close, closer than I had been to anyone else in that point in my life. I truly felt like he would forever be my best friend, but growing up and apart happens. I look back and remember the all-nighters we pulled, waiting on the internet so we could look up a walk-through for a puzzle we were absolutely stuck on, crying during the sad parts, screaming and jumping during the scary parts, laughing and high-fiving when we beat a hard boss.
Gaming has brought me closer to many people, like my boyfriend and my brother, and gave me a drive unlike any other.
Doctor Who (20 years old)
If you know me personally, you know I’m a super fan of Doctor Who. I have shirts, books, videos, a car magnet, figurines of the TARDIS, my own sonic screwdriver; I even cosplayed as 9 one year for Halloween! There’s so many reasons behind my love of Doctor Who, but the story behind how I even started watching it is what I want to write about today.
If you’ve read any of my older blog posts, you’ll know I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years. It literally destroyed me from the inside out. The first few weeks back in my parents’ house was the hardest for me. I felt ashamed, exhausted, and just… stuck. My friend, who is now my amazing boyfriend, had been begging me for months to watch Doctor Who. I said no, everyone else is watching it, everyone else is already a fan, I’m not a Sci-Fi fan (which now that I think about it is a huge lie; I love Star Trek, Star Wars, and now Doctor Who!).
One day I finally gave in. I turned on Netflix and got lost in Christopher Eccleston’s doctor. It lifted my spirits and gave me something to look forward to. Until he regenerated. Oh, I cried and cursed the show. I didn’t watch it again for three weeks. I loved Eccleston. I didn’t want David Tennant to take his place!
My boyfriend told me though, that I’d fall in love with Tennant. And I did. Doctor Who slowly repaired my fandom-loving heart. Falling in love with Tennant got me out of my funk and post-break-up unhappiness. I have a lot to thank Doctor Who, Eccleston, and Tennant for. They’ll never know it, as usually a fandom never knows how much they’ve helped someone out of a depression. A big thank you to my boyfriend, too, since I never would have watched it without his persistent prodding!
Walking Dead (currently)
Walking dead may be an unexpected fandom on this list but it has brought my family, my boyfriend, and I closer together. With my boyfriend living in Ireland, he sees it the day after we do here in the states, but we still talk about it as soon as he’s done watching!
Before I moved to Saint Louis from Alabama, every Sunday night my family and I watched Walking Dead. We’ve been doing this since pretty much the second/third season. We laugh and cry together. We discuss the characters and story heavily. We’ve gone on the tours to see the sets, we’ve bought figurines, comic books, shirts, pajamas, everything Walking Dead. The show has truly brought my family closer together. Even when our schedules didn’t match up that week, we still watched Walking Dead that Sunday night.
Now that I’m in Saint Louis, we’ve fallen hard on Walking Dead for support. We’ll watch it together and text back and forth, still trying to stay connected in some way despite being apart. I plan on bringing my Walking Dead-loving family out here for a convention so we can meet our heroes and the actors who play them. I really miss my family, and Walking Dead makes me feel a little closer to home.
Which fandom(s) made you the person you are today? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!