So you’re part of a fandom. A whole group of people shares theories, art and fanvids fervently. You finally feel at home with all those likeminded peers.
Sure it’s fun BUT have you read or watched anything else for the past <introduce a ridiculously long amount of time>?
I’ll go out on a limb here and say you haven’t.
You’ve been sucked into a vortex of active participation (or sometimes just passive contemplation) of characters, story arcs and entangled theories.
Remember the “strange consequences” I mentioned on the previous post? Well, if you’ve ever been part of an active fandom, I think it’s safe to assume that you did cut some ties with the real world during your fanatic days.
And then maybe it got cancelled or you simply turned that dreaded last page. I’m pretty sure you felt angsty and acted snarky towards those clueless around you: withdrawal symptoms.
And that’s when you venture into the fandom’s gloomier place, reserved to relive those darkest hours that marked the end of the world you were so completely immersed into.
But we know this is how it goes. It’s a vicious cycle. So why?
Why do we feel the need to tear our eyes out watching favorite characters suffer, die, live impossible loves?… Doesn’t real life provide us enough pain? Do we really need more? Are we supposed to be living in such a perfect world that only their hurt – the one we watch, read -gives us the pathos escape we need?
I believe our lives are far from perfect many times. As it is often said we have moments. Of happiness, sadness, even despair. But this doesn’t mean that our lives aren’t good.
No matter how grateful you feel, there is always a little “something” you wish was different: for me is health. If only I had Disney’s Rapunzel magical healing powers… But it’s fiction. Fantasy. And there lies the reason why we take refuge in fictional worlds: there are no limits, or rephrasing it, the limits are different.
By this point you’re probably thinking “Eureka! What a breakthrough, Sherlock.” And you’re right. I’ve been just stating the obvious. Now, what I am trying to get to is why do we torture ourselves with fan art of those final agonizing moments of a character or story?
Having had some reasons to cry in real life, I found myself crying with one of those fanvids. I am not even talking about watching, say “Angels take Manhattan” (Doctor Who’s 7th season finale], where you are experiencing the whole thing for the first time and find yourself grieving the characters that you’ll miss, the familiar faces that won’t be on screen every episode. I’m talking about masochistically re-watching episodes and fanvids with “tear trigger” music. Seriously: what’s wrong?
I think we have to go back to the beginning: “why” are we part of a fandom?
We need to belong, to share our experiences through those worlds.
We need to have heroes, but they have to be flawed and able to get hurt.
Only then we get our catharsis.
You cry for their pain, while secretly crying for yours. Are we really that shallow? Can we just show feelings over fictional characters? No. But it’s easier. You don’t have to explain it. It’s there. It’s the lost of your favorite character or the love story that will never be.
It isn’t. It’s you. But that doesn’t have to be said to anyone, not even to yourself.