I was a preteen fan girl

image

Me at 10 / Me today.

When I was 6 or 7, I discovered Sailor Moon. It was my first and only ever real fandom affliction. I rushed home from school to watch episodes re-air on Cartoon Network, I had dreams about turning out to be a Sailor Soldier, I dressed up as Sailor Moon for Halloween, I sketched out picture after picture of Princess Serenity, I knew the Sailor Soldier’s blood types and food preferences and birthdays. They were more my friends than anyone I knew.

It was probably the only time in my life where it was easy to buy me a gift, because my entire family knew: anything Sailor Moon. I had manga and anime, musical lockets and brooches and Moon Healing wands and Crystal Scepters, both movies, a handful of books that were written copies of the dubbed series. I went into every Hot Topic hoping they’d stocked something new from the show on their shelves, I dug through Comic Book stores hoping for any kind of paraphernalia.

And then I got the internet, and I discovered FanFiction.net. 

So many stories about fanfiction revolve around budding sexuality and exploring boundaries, and I think that’s really imporant. But for me it was damn near pure innocence. I probably threw in a few Japanese curse words. For me, it was a place to put down all the Sailor Moon story fantasies I was making up in my head anyway. And it made me write. Who would I be now without that?

Don’t get me wrong, I was a terror. I haggled for comments. I threatened not to write if I didn’t hit a certain quota of responses. And it’s not like I deserved them: My shitty 90s computer barely had dial up, let alone a word processor with spell check. Somehow people still managed to slog through my glaring typos and spelling errors. At some point, a kind user offered to help me with my grammar and I would send her my stories before posting. There were kind suggestions in the comments – “could you maybe make each chapter longer?” Slowly my writing improved, I started moving beyond dialogue to descriptive near-paragraphs. I racked up 20,000+ words on my profile.

But here’s the thing about fandom: it is lonely. Online I was getting near-constant feedback encouraging me to write and to stay engaged, but offline, and with people who weren’t Sailor Moon fans, I got weird looks and discouraging comments. “Why don’t you write a real story?” I didn’t realize they were fake. And once I believed they weren’t real, I stopped. 

What brought all this up was an amazing tattoo that got posted on Reddit a few weeks ago. It’s a full-sleeve Sailor Moon mock up. I saw it and everything I loved about the show came rushing back. My coworkers joined in and told me they’d loved the show, or had seen it, and I thought – where were you guys when I was alone in loving it? I came home and watched the rebooted Sailor Moon Crystal on Hulu. I pitched and published a Sailor Moon quotes article at my company.

image

Today when I got home I got a surprise package from one of my coworkers. She bought me a Sailor Moon sweater. At first I thought: Oh! I mean! I used to love this, but I’m not – you know – I’m into cool things now.

And I realized just how much enthusiasm is shamed. I loved that show with all my heart. It was my friend when I was lonely, it taught me lessons when I was afraid, it made me write. Who would I be without that?

So this is a reminder to love what you love and embrace it. It might make you who you are.

image

Published by Colleen

Writer, backpacker, fledgling runner. Equally afraid of and thrilled by nature.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: