Throughout all of my years as a fangirl, there has been one constant that has bothered me for a long time: falling out of love with fandoms.
My journey as a fangirl started when I was around 10 and got obsessed with football. Specifically, with Barça (I’m from Barcelona, can you blame me?). Today I am 23, and I have been through all sorts of fandom obsessions: from devouring Harry Potter books and cosplaying as Hermione before I knew what ‘cosplay’ was at age 13, to being in 6 concerts of my favourite British band or even staying up until 4am watching NBA games to see my favourite basketball player. All of these obsessions have had one thing in common: there was a time limit. After 2 years, the love would be gone.
As soon as I noticed the pattern, I started to get worried with every new fandom I joined. I knew that my friends and family would soon notice this tendency as well and start believing that everything that I loved was just a phase. To try to hide this fact, I would pretend that I was still interested in things that I really didn’t care for anymore and, at the same time, I would try not to be very vocal about my new obsession. I ended up developing a fear of the obsession ending and promised myself that “this time it’s for good”. But it never really was. At first I denied it, but I have recently learnt to accept it as a natural part of the life of a fangirl.
Besides the wording of “falling out of love”, abandoning a fandom almost feels like a break-up. The only difference is that there is not an exact moment to pinpoint when things started to change. Instead of that, it usually feels like a slow fade-away, which makes it even harder. You know it’s coming, you know it’s happening, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Feeling that you are de-attaching yourself from a fandom usually leads to frustration, sadness and, later on, nostalgia. I personally often felt this need to force myself into the thing in a desperate attempt to gain back that feeling I had lost. No mater how hard I tried, it never happened. And if it did, it only lasted for a bit. I have a perfect example for this: I had an obsession with basketball for 2 years. Right now, I only follow the national tournaments in summer. During those 2 weeks, I feel like I regained my passion for that sport and promise myself that, this time, I am going to follow the NBA or the Euroleague as well. I never do.
One of the biggest questions I had was: does it happen to everyone? It most likely does, but probably not in the same way. I moved on from the Harry Potter obsession, my best friend from childhood didn’t until another 5 years. This led to even more worry because now I also had the fear of letting my fellow fan friends down. Considering that falling out of love with a fandom always leads to falling in love with a new fandom, I couldn’t help but feeling that I had betrayed my friends.
Why does this happen exactly?
There could be many psychological answers to this question and I am pretty sure that many of them would be related to why we fall in love with a fandom in the first place. For starters, I have this feeling that, for many of the fandoms I have been in, I couldn’t have been in them in another time of my life. Many people talk about the effect that a certain TV show and/or its fandom have had on them and how it has helped them through hard times. Some even claimed that they saved them from depression and suicidal thoughts. What we like and what we decide to devote ourselves to is always linked to our own experiences and current personal moment. Therefore, those fandom experiences are subjected to us changing and evolving as people.
I have accepted this fact because I have accepted that I am not a static being. My fandoms helped me improve my English when I was reading Harry Potter books. They have taught me about different aspects of life, from teaching me valuable lessons on friendship, respect and following one’s dreams to making me very savvy on basketball rules or very skilled with piano. They have also brought all sorts of different people in my life. I now know that I keep growing up, learning and trying out different things and I will always be glad for everything these fandoms have given me.
How about you? How often do you change fandoms? How do you feel when it happens? Let us know in the comments!