Coming Out of the #fangirl Closet (A Guest Post)

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a guest poster and after some minor persuasion, I was able to talk my friend Tiffani into sharing something with the site. Our mission statement here at I Am Geek is to embrace our inner geek and not shy away from it. To understand that it’s okay being who you are and loving what you love and Tiffani fit all these criteria, and then some, and was lovely enough to share her origin story so to speak. 

One thing you’ll notice right away is Tiffani’s enthusiasm. She’s got a lot that she wants to get out and she’s excited about re-telling her start into fandom, and for me, that’s some of the best stuff. Seeing someone maybe step out of their comfort zone to write a column talking about themselves and their passions. It’s that sense of community that we’ve been striving for since day one. 

I don’t want to bogart the column from Tiffani so I’m going to stop talking. Enjoy the piece, it’s a lot of fun and maybe some of you have some similar stories. So while you read this I’m going to read some comics and my book and let my brain kind of relax for a bit. That Legion review kicked my ass last night. For those of you who are new to the site thanks for stopping in and be sure to look around. We’ve got columns for everyone. 

Now everyone give Tiffani a huge welcome. I have a feeling you’ll be hearing from her more often than not.

*****

What better way to introduce myself than sharing my #fangirl story?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,…  Well maybe not that long ago and definitely not in a galaxy far, far away.  The East End of Long Island is where we start, in the mid-1980s.

I’m not sure of the exact age or even what it was that drew me in but my first memory of any sort of fandom would obviously be Star Wars.  I wish I could say I have the same story as my husband.  “Those opening credits, the crawl,… then the Star Destroyer comes into frame.  I was hooked right then and there.”  All of those things I love.  But for me it was the story, the action, the fact that there were more movies to watch, finding out what happens to our beloved characters, all of it.  I’ve probably seen Episode IV, A New Hope (the first Star Wars movie from the 70s) probably a hundred times if not more.  I mean, what else do you do when you’re in elementary school without weekend plans?

DVRs, Blu-Rays, and streaming from your Smart TV had yet to be invented in the mid-80s which means we had to resort to a VCR with VHS tapes.  I will pause so millennials can Google what those are…  Okay, let’s proceed.  We had to wait for shows and movies to come on the time they were scheduled and if we missed the beginning, or even dare miss an episode, we would have to wait for a re-run or another air date.  Hard times I know.  But, if you were fortunate enough to have a VCR that could record what was on TV, total game changer!  My dad was a HUGE VCR TV recorder.  We had mostly everything at our fingertips.  Star Wars, Top Gun, Roots, Indiana Jones, even that weird cartoon version of The Hobbit, the list goes on.

Fast forward to high school.  News of the filming of the first three episodes of Star Wars comes out.  Holy Shit!  You mean, we get to find out what Darth Vader was like as a kid?  How he became Darth Vader?!  Mind blown! That’s when you know you are a fan, a dork, a geek, a nerd, whatever you want to call it, when you get excited about shit like this.

I spent my late teenage years and into my early twenties impatiently waiting for these three movies to come out.  Dying for more to watch during the three-year wait in between each one.  We’re now in the late 90s and early 2000s, so still no social media, no Facebook posts, no YouTube trailer teasers to look up while you’re at work, you had to wait.  Occasionally, if you were lucky enough a trailer would pop up if you were on the right channel at the right time.  However, the waiting continued.

What really saved me was something else to get excited about.  Fox and Sony decided to start rolling out X-Men and Spider-Man movies!  These were the same characters I used to watch on Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.  Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Peter Parker, it was like having old friends back in your life, telling you their stories from the very beginning.  Soon after, that amazing New Zealand director, Peter Jackson, started rolling out The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Need I mention Harry Potter?  Even MORE movies to get excited about?!

I soon found myself obsessing with merchandise.  Somehow, I stumbled upon LOTR merch through the internet and catalogs in the mail.  As a twenty-something #fangirl I somehow thought it would be a good idea to order a ginormous poster map of Middle Earth.  Insert eye roll here.  Not because I did it, but because for some reason it’s still in the box and to be honest, I’m not 100% sure where it actually is.

I’m telling you this, yes as a backstory, but mostly to prove that I’ve been a #fangirl most of my life.  I still get friends and family members saying they don’t remember me being into any fandoms when I was younger.  It’s like I’m coming out of the #fangirl closet or something.  It does make me wonder, in the 80s and 90s and, yes even the early 2000s, with the lack of social media, how did anyone really know what any of us were really into back then as far as fandoms go?  Especially being a girl?  I certainly was not the kind of person to make my friends watch Star Wars Episodes IV through VI every time we hung out.  Not even the remastered versions that came out in 1997.  Besides the fact that I was a teenager and didn’t want to sit at home watching TV when I could go out with my friends.

Let’s face it, in 2018 we have more knowledge of everyone near and far from us than we did even eighteen years ago when I graduated high school.  I’ll put it to you like this.  You know everyone puts everything out on Facebook when your mom, who doesn’t have Facebook by the way, starts to tell you about the birth of a baby, a death or even someone’s vacation, you have to cut her off and say, “yeah mom, I know, I have Facebook remember?”.  So is it really that much of a surprise that not everyone knew about my unintentional semi-secret #fangirl life?  Not really.  How was I supposed to show it?

When you have something like Disney acquiring Marvel and Star Wars you know the marketing is going to be through the roof.  Talk about merch!  At this point, I probably have more graphic t-shirts expressing my love for my favorite fandoms than I do regular clothes.  So much so that after traveling back home to Long Island (I currently live in Wilmington, NC) in February for my cousin’s Baby Shower, I #1, realized everything I packed beside my dress for the shower, jeans and a couple of nice shirts to go out in, all were t-shirts, mostly Star Wars related and #2, a comment was made by one of my cousins, while out at a bar, pointing out that what I was wearing was (besides my shower dress of course) the only thing they had seen me in that wasn’t Star Wars related.  It’s not my fault that being able to purchase t-shirts and even dressy casual clothing for #fangirls is now a thing.

Well, there you have it.  Me and my little #fangirl story in a nutshell.  Own your inner #fangirl ladies!  Let your flag fly!  If they don’t get it, it’s all good.  I get it, you get it.  Enjoy it,  That’s what really matters.

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