→ 3. Your Favorite Quote
"I love life, even when the bad things happen to me. I can't stop loving it. Every season of the year comes with a promise that something wonderful is going to happen to me someday." - Alexandra Lawrence ( Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught)
If you've been reading my entries for a while now, you've probably seen this quote a billion times already. It's in my introduction, I mention it at the start of each year, it's scribbled on the first page of nearly every journal and planner I own... And if I could have a variation of it tattooed on my arm, I would. It's one of my mantras, and is often followed by "Embrace the chaos!" from Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Breathing Room. It's the quote, I believe, which best represents who I am and how I live my life. It brings me courage and, because I believe in it, I give it power. Power that eventually returns to me, to form a perfectly self-affirming cycle. It's amazing how words can have that sort of effect on people. After all, as Albus Dumbledore once said, "Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic."
While we're on the topic of favorites, I'd like to direct you to a post berryblue_girl made in reign_cw. She's working on a special assignment about fandom right now and is asking for your stories about your experiences as a fangirl (or fanboy). It's actually off-topic but since the mods haven't cracked down on it, I'm assuming that even if you aren't in the fandom you can reply. Here's what I said:
To begin, I'd like to tell you a little bit about how I got into fandom and fangirling. I've always been a writer, I think. I mean, like most kids, I did doodle quite a bit - but realized early on in my life that I'm a lot more comfortable with writing and, more specifically, telling stories. Writing, in that regard, simply became my medium of choice. Now, it's been more than a decade since I started writing fanfiction, and it's a hobby I intend to carry on for as long as I am able. Because it started with the sole purpose of entertaining my friends. I'd plop down in our favorite spot and just begin talking, not really thinking about it or editing my stories. I would place us all in an alternate reality where we could interact with our favorite anime characters, and we'd go on adventures together. And over time, more and more friends would want to hear my stories, never mind that we were hedging on Mary Sue elements.
When I discovered Fanfiction.Net (circa 2003), I had a place to publish my stories, so I put more thought and time into actually writing, even printing my stories out and giving them to my friends (and family). And then at some point, I drew further away from my self-insert phase* - though I do still love writing these every so often - and took to focusing on canon characters and elements and playing with plots. Interesting to note that I wasn't too keen on slash at first as well, but now ship just about anything and everything. (I am a chronic multi-shipper and it's made me a happier person altogether.)
* I've always had a special place in my heart for self-insert stories. Contrary to popular belief, not all self-inserts contain Mary Sues. A self-inserted character, as I understand, is one who represents the author, an idealized version or maybe a part of them they'd like to feature in the story; while a Mary Sue is a character who is often "competent in too many areas" [source], is too beautiful, too smart, too perfect to be "real". An author may decide to incorporate self-insertion, but this doesn't necessarily mean the character that results will be a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu). Then again, I suppose the definition of a Mary Sue is relative, since Mary Sues may, likewise, simply be "undesirable characters as deemed by the reader/s" [source].
Knowing my "origin story", I guess it must sound like I spend my days cooped up in my room and writing fic*. But, luckily, reality is a lot less anti-social. At present, I am an editor for a fairly large bookstore chain and spend my time - when I am not writing fic or checking manuscripts at the office - working on possible novels I can't wait to publish someday, checking titles off of my to-read list (which continues to grow by the day), hustling with our beagles, shopping, going out with friends, and basically partaking in whatever else the world and life itself have to offer. I am not, in the truest sense, anti-social in any way and enjoy being around other people - as long as they're not angry/noisy/messy crowds**. So, when people first figure out that I am a "fangirl", it throws them off. They've heard that fangirls are creepers, a hairsbreadth away from evolving into stalkers, and a whole other type of human being.
I am, however, a seasoned and self-licensed fangirl. I'm proud that I'm a fangirl and owe a lot to this hobby, to my passion -- to fandom. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to meet all these wonderful people I have in my life now. I probably wouldn't have discovered just how much I love writing and that I want to publish my own novel someday. I wouldn't have become a more well-rounded person in general. I wouldn't have been exposed to a more culturally balanced world, and to that degree, life would be a lot less exciting.
* For the most part, this is actually true. I do prefer being at home, in my pajamas, curled up in bed, and writing or reading the world away. At one point, my mom took to calling my room "The Bat Cave" because I'd rarely come out during the day. I have a not-so-secret stash of munchies, in case I get hungry and can't be bothered to check the pantry downstairs. And every nook and cranny of my room is filled with books and paper and pens. But I do also enjoy the company of other people, and definitely wouldn't want to live in a world without conversation. I have a fondness for clothes and shoes and headbands, and quite possibly love being the center of attention (depending on the situation, of course) at social gatherings. And performing on stage is another great love of mine.
** Concerts and mixers are an exception, if that makes any sense. I mean, if there's a purpose then I wouldn't mind being in a crowd. Just keep the pushing/shoving and yelling like headless chicken to a minimum, please.
Maybe I've just been lucky so far, but I've never met an "ugly" fandom experience*, other than a skeptical look or two and having to listen to the misconceptions people can have about fandom and fangirls. My parents have always been quite thankful for my interest in fandom and fanfiction, because they figure, much like I do, that these are potent anti-drugs. These interests kept me away from doing worse than spending all of my allowance on playing cards and various official merchandise. And I suppose a part of them couldn't believe that the girl whose big dream it was (and still is), was to attend SDCC someday, was the same girl who went to parties and actively drank alcohol. Sorry, yes, I know that last bit logically has nothing to do with being a fangirl, but people actually thought that my interest in anime meant that I couldn't talk to real boys - when the truth is, I admit, that I am an absolute flirt and will flirt with anything that moves. Which, can I just say, isn't a bad thing.
My mom still enjoys telling people that my love of writing extends to blogging about my favorite anime, TV shows, and movies, and to writing fanfiction (even if, I suspect, she doesn't completely understand the concept). Whether or not she gets it, what she does know is that it makes me happy and is the reason why I know exactly what I want for myself now. And that works for her. It works for the both of us. With friends who aren't into fandom per se, I just tell them that, at the core, it's the act of talking about and finding a community for something you like. For example, there are fandoms devoted to cats and to bands, so it doesn't just extend to fictional elements. Having said that, writing fic and creating art is all about showing your appreciation for that particular fandom, whether it's an anime or book or to Taylor Swift. Just sitting down at the cinema with your friends and talking about how much you enjoyed Thor: The Dark World is already partaking in fandom.
Knowing that, I suspect the misconceptions about it stem from the fact that fans give it a name at all. Fandom is essentially a foreign term which not everyone can relate to, because they don't know it or what it entails. So, as people already existing within the circle that is fandom, we can make it easier for them and for ourselves by explaining it in the simplest way we can. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be on board with the idea of writing fic or creating icons, gifs, or manips to celebrate fandom, but discussions are very common ground and are definitely a place to start. The rest can come later, or so I've learned from my experiences so far.
* For the record, I'd like to note that the negative experiences I have encountered actually happened within fandom or within a particular one. Cases like character/ship bashing, for instance, are common but manageable, depending on how you respond, so I wouldn't label them as "ugly" unless the situation escalates to the point that no one is making sense anymore. I've been flamed in the past as well, for liking what I like or writing what I like - but, again, there are so many ways of dealing with them and I don't count them as bad experiences.