TL;DR: My bones are too damn tired to deal with the downside of fandom.
I can, have, and will, shout from the rooftops over my fandoms. I will wave my flag of geekdom high and I will always be grateful for the friends, the family, and the inspiration I have received from fandom. Without several of those people who have become family, or simply inspired me, I would not be here today. And if it wasn’t for fandom, I wouldn’t have my beautiful AH in my life. Fandom has given me love, security, and hope. But it’s also given me headaches, nausea, and anger. It’s for the latter reasons that I don’t push too far into the mix any more. I’ll tweet/post/sketch/write, and if people agree with me great, if they don’t, ok, but if they start hurling abuse, I’m not going to try and change their minds, they are just going to get blocked on all of my social media, banned from commenting on my blog, and I won’t give them the time of day. It’s just not worth the hassle or the drama any more (not that I think it ever was, to be honest), and I have enough self-esteem to know that I deserve better than the shit people pull when they want to feel better about themselves by belittling others.
The good things about fandom can come hand in hand with the bad. I love the charitable nature of Sci-Fi fans. I love that at events like FCD ‘Out of the Ashes’ (which was epic by the way), a group of fans can raise thousands of pounds in just one day. I love that people will run marathons, jump out of planes, abseil down cliffs and buildings, hold bake sales, or find something else to raise money for charity because they’ve been inspired by someone in Sci-Fi they admire. It makes me go all warm and fuzzy. But I hate that for some people the fundraising has become about competition, that they do it in order to get noticed and they scream for attention to the point where they drown out the efforts of others, it’s not what charitable acts are about. It also infuriates me that within a certain fandom, if someone straddling several fandoms deigns to raise money for another charity other than the ‘main one’ of that fandom, their requests for support (financial or otherwise) are ignored. It’s given me cause for thought on a number of people on my social media, and there may be a few surprised people shortly who don’t understand why I’m no longer on their friends/followers lists. To those people, I say read this post, no matter the charity (as long as they have sound ethics and morals), we should recognise they all do a good job.
I love the fact that I’ve gotten to meet so many of the people who have bought my favourite shows/books/etc to life. I’m so freaking grateful that I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to thank people who have inspired me to do something with my life and to keep living. I’m amazed by the love, and warmth, and joy, I’ve had from becoming part of a family who supports its own and pushes each other to new heights, boosting morale and creating memories that are unrivalled (even away from the cons and the online love of the same thing). I’m insanely shocked by the opportunities that have come my way in recent years and I wouldn’t change the past 2 in particular for anything.
In contrast, I’m also over the bitchiness. Seriously. If I ship a particular pairing you don’t, move on, if I have an opinion you don’t agree with, give me a reasoned argument, don’t start spouting crap. I’m not ruining your enjoyment of the show/book/series/film/etc in question, so there’s really no need for you to start insulting me because I have an opinion. I enjoy what I enjoy and you enjoy what you enjoy. And if I want to imagine (ok gonna go a little off the deep end here – I want to stress this is not something I’ve ever shipped, sorry SL for even suggesting it), Reg and Dotty from Starhyke doing the naked fandago with Wu Oof and Vilma, that’s my choice, not yours. Just as I’m not going to judge you if you think Seven of Nine has slept with half of Starfleet. Do we really need to make other people feel shit for having an imagination or liking something we don’t like? Aren’t we marginalised enough by society because we’re seen as ‘obsessive?’
As I come up to the 20th anniversary of being in a particular fandom and the 22nd for another, I’m finding myself pulling away from the incessant noise. Love of something is amazing, I know this. And I know that it’s sometimes the only thing that keeps you going… believe me, I know that more than you might think, but it doesn’t give you the right to infringe on other people’s enjoyment of the same thing. There are certain events I will always try and go to, because of the way in which they are run and the friends that attend, there are times when I will want nothing more than to sit in a room of like minded people and discuss the finer aspects of quantum mechanics, or ponder if Talia and Ivanova would have made it if Control hadn’t existed, or discuss if Blowhard and the team ever got back to their time and how much things had changed. But for the most part, unless it’s a tello live tweet (not sci-fi but still fandom family), or a conversation with a dear friend/group I’m already a part of, I’m not going to rush to get into the thick of a fandom debate. Especially not with people who belitte, bemoan, and don’t offer logic to their thinking.
Fandom, like any family, has its cliques, but at the end of the day, none of us, gay, straight, bi, pansexual, asexual, black, white, Asian, cisgender, agender, bigender, transgender, disabled, able-bodied, etc, has the right to decide what another person should think. By all means, keep calling out the sexism, the misogyny, the abelism, the racism, the homophobia, the transphobia, the bigots of all descriptions. Just stop the competing and the bullshit that makes those of us who have been around a long time roll our eyes at you in annoyance.