Today, I’d like to discuss something dark and disturbing.
My internet and fandom obsessions.
I’m not hyperbole-ing. Much. The way I feel about fandoms (the word to describe a group of fans of a certain popular culture phenomenon — be it book, movie,show, or otherwise — who are somewhat organised on the internet and VERY serious about their love), or rather, the show, book, movie in question, is pretty unhealthy. I mean I’ve looked up the definition of addicted, and I fit into pretty much all the criteria for addicted to the internet.
And this is the result I got:
Your Internet usage is causing significant problems in your life. You should evaluate the impact of the Internet on your life and address the problems directly caused by your Internet usage.
I couldn’t even make myself find alternative quizzes to prove these SOBs wrong, because my reaction to every question was a resounding, guilt laden yes.
Much of the time I spend on the internet, on my computer, is a result of the various things I am obsessed with, due to my status as a part of the — theres that word again — fandom.
It started with Harry Potter. (Didn’t it all?)
I hit the teen years, got myself a laptop, and voila. I was foruming, fan-fictioning, watching fan videos and reading speculations. Harry Potter was followed by a renewed interest in my pre-teen and early teen obsession with Lord of the Rings, and then all of my other childhood favourites, Narnia, His Dark Materials etc. Fortunately, these didn’t really have a very active online community so things eased off until I was introduced to the magical world of illegally watching shows online.
Community. How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family. Glee. These were my gateway shows. Most of these were just passing interests, but I found my obsessions here, too. Community is still one of my favourite things in the world then. Then I discovered the glorious, terrifying business that is marathoning, and I was pretty much lost to the world. I marathoned The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Grey’s Anatomy, Arrested Development, everything great, okay, and really crappy that appealed to my strange tastes.
The next phase — one that I think I’m technically still in — was A Song of Ice and Fire. AND the TV show, Game of Thrones. The fandom is truly impressive. Intelligent and obsessed in equal measures, you will find every type of fan on earth within this it. Like Harry Potter, the plot twists in whats left of the series has probably been guessed on the numerous forums by the smart, speculative fans. People, and me amongst them, take this shit seriously.
But this is all not the disturbing part. Not the time I spend on these shows, how invested I am in them, how much useless knowledge I possess about the ins and out of ALL of these things. Not really, not even that crappy quiz telling me my internet addiction is a serious fucking problem The disturbing part is something I can hardly even explain. Its something so subtle, that people might say its not even really an issue.
I feel like the boundaries between reality and fiction often get blurred in my mind. Its NOT schizophrenia type deal. Not expecting Don Draper to stroll into my room and down that Lava Vodka I got from Iceland. Its more a question of the way I process my life. I mentioned in my first post how everything is a story, even real life. This is the darker side of that expectation.
In real life things aren’t. They’re not this way or that way. There is no writer dictating the tone of the show, the quality of the writing, the nature of the twists and turns. But I keep expecting. I keep expecting too much order from a reality that is essentially chaotic. I expect romance and drama when these things, they don’t even exist, not really.
But its even more than that. Its a feeling of unreality that grips me whenever something is happening to me. I act in the ways that I have seen people act in the books, in the movies, on TV. But whenever I try to forget all of that and really just think of what I want to do, and do it, a feeling of unreality fills me.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m afraid if someone took all those stories away from me, I’d be nothing. I’m afraid that as a person, I’m being dishonest. I say I want things, I work towards them, I behave a certain way. but I don’t even know if thats all what I want. If I really truly think about it, I have no idea what I want from life. What if this is just it? I’m 21. A grown woman. I should know at least some part of my self by now. But what if I’ve read too many stories to ever really live? What if all I think I know, my whole personality is just a composite of all the heroines I ever loved? What if, essentially, I live too much in a fantasy world to ever enjoy the challenges of the real world?
I know what the answer is. So what? If all of that is true, then the answer is clear. Switch off of everything for a while. Try doing new things, old things, with a clear state of mind. Try the simple things like getting an icecream, watching a movie, going for a barbecue, and just do it, don’t think about it.
I’m afraid, though. I’m afraid to let go of the calm control of being a silent observer in my life. Its sounds paradoxical. To be in control by not doing anything? But when I actually let myself do what I want, I’m taking on the responsibility of whatever consequences may follow. Its scary thing, to know that there is no one to blame but yourself for your failure and your sadness.
I don’t know what I’m going to do about all of this. But it does feel kind of great to get these thoughts, however muddled and confused they may be, off my chest. Its something I’ve been brooding about for the last few days. Not to be flip, but there is a chance this is all coming from the fact that the lady hormones are all kinds of messed up right now. Even if it is though, there is no smoke without fire, so thank you, lady hormones.
Never thought I’d say that.