Don't Be Ashamed To Be a Fangirl (or boy)

I am taking a play-writing class this semester and for the first week we had to write a short play about one of three prompts. The one I picked was "that crazed girl". My thoughts immediately went to fangirl. So I wrote a short play (which I hope to edit and expand) about a girl obsessed with a fictional fantasy TV show. She becomes more and more obsessed and realizes the people around her are assholes and chooses fantasy over reality. She's not crazy, she know's it's not real, but she finds the fantasy more genuine and meaningful to her than reality.
Now, this is super extreme. It stems from the feelings I have (and I'm sure most people have) that fiction is a nice retreat from reality and sometimes it'd be nice to stay there. But, this was also influenced by my early fangirl days and some of the negativity I faced.

I'm a huge Tolkien fan. Anyone who knows me knows this. People who don't know me know this. As a literature major we have to write a twenty page thesis and I wrote mine on Tolkien (specifically The Fellowship of the Ring). I was a Tolkien fangirl at a very young age.

I was in third grade when The Fellowship of the Ring came out. I watched it with my dad (we rented it on VHS) and I was hooked. We saw the next two movies in theaters and I read The Hobbit in fifth grade and loved it. It is still my favorite book. Fifth grade was when I really got into Tolkien. I remember comments like "It's just a phase, she'll be into something else later" or "She just likes the movies because of that hot actor: (insert name here)". No one took my love for Tolkien seriously (except my dad, who is also a fan) and some found it amusing. The reason I dove into Tolkien in fifth grade and into middle school (that's when I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy) was because those were hard years. I didn't fit in with my peers and felt lonely. I had horrible self-esteem. And those are the years kids start to get mean. Fifth grade was the first (but certainly not the last) time I was called a "bitch" and a "slut". I found comfort and meaning in Tolkien. It helped give me strength and helped to shape me into the person I wanted to be.

So for a while I felt weird about my immense love for Tolkien. People make you feel bad sometimes for being too passionate about something. Especially something like fantasy. It's hard to explain but I felt almost ashamed or guilty, like I should have been focusing on more important things. But I didn't want to. I eventually embraced my obsession and people figured out that it wasn't going away. But even as an adult I've been thrown some shade over my fangirl-ness.

For example: people wonder why I would rather stay home on a Saturday night and read fanfiction instead of going to parties and making memories. I am a young college student, shouldn't I be doing young person stuff? Won't I feel like I missed out later? The answer is no. I felt obligated for a while to go to parties and try to be a normal young adult. And I hated it. It's cool if people like to party and socialize. But I really don't. And there is nothing wrong with that. I don't feel incomplete. I am much happier chilling and doing fandom-related things. Fortunately, I've grown comfortable enough to embrace the fact that I am a Tolkien fangirl.

All of this is to make a few points. A) Don't be ashamed of loving something. It's great to be passionate. B) Don't feel like you have to "live life" in a way others make you feel obligated to. Do what you want and what makes you happy. C) Don't make other people feel ashamed of their obsessions. You might think it's stupid but it might be very meaningful to them.

Sorry for the length and rambling-ness of this post. But hopefully someone gets something useful out of this! Feel free to share your tales of being a fangirl (or boy)!