Fans are funny creatures. We come in a lot of types, like casual, fair weather, hard core, devotee, and crazy nutbar.
And I’m a type of fan who gets a lot of crap from other fans, and always have.
Allow me to tell you a story of my fandom and how it shapes things.
In general, I’m not a person given to grand moments. Ask my wife. Buying rings was something we carefully planned. Ditto a car, and everything else large in our lives. I don’t surprise her, I tell her what I want and she tells me what she wants, and we make it happen. This doesn’t mean we don’t have big gifts, it’s that we don’t surprise each other with them. Wife wanted a sewing machine? We were saving up for it when serendipity struck and we got one for $200 total. A good one, too. I wanted a bow? We put aside money and then, when someone gave us funds as a present, bought it.
But I’m not the romantic who gets a flash mob to help me propose. I’m not the spur-of-the-moment trip to Paris person. I’m not into grand gestures. I’m the person who shows up every day and demonstrates my love and affection in the small ways. Like putting aside a couple bucks to buy that thing, or even just “Hey, we had a Coke Zero at work and you love them so I brought it home for you.” I remember her in ever moment, so she always knows I love her.
And I’m a fan in the same way. You see, I’m the fan who really, really, loves a thing, will be happy to talk your ear off about it, but I’m not the one who’s going to make a movement to send millions of peanuts to someone in order to save a show. Oh, I’m happy to donate when I agree with it. I mean, if you consider the shows saved by fans, one would be a fool to think that fans don’t care, or they have no power. But I’m not the one who comes up with that sort of thing. I’m a follower in that sense.
But follower is the wrong word. My path intersects the grand-gesturers, but it’s not the one I follow. I follow the path of fandom where, day in and day out, I continue to show my fan-colors. Every day I contribute to the fandom in small ways. Every day I do something, maybe a lot of things, but generally not massive things to give back. I am constant and consistent.
When you get down to it, I am not trying to change the world, but to change myself.
My fandoms are meant to make me better. They teach me things I didn’t know, introduce me to people I didn’t know, open my eyes to the world. Being a Jorja Fox fan made me more of an activist. Being a WordPress fan made me a community leader. Being a comic book fan taught me art. Star Trek did science, and so on and so forth. Heck, Xena inspires me to exercise and keep fit (and remember not to take myself too seriously).
But I don’t ‘do’ fandom for a thank you or anything at all like that. I do it because I like the me it made. I had a situation early this year where I felt I was being a person I didn’t like because of the fandom I was hanging with. When my fandom makes me a worse person, I walk away, and I think that’s the smart thing to do. If I can’t use it to make me, and the world, better, I’m doing something wrong.
So while I’m the kind of person who laughs at the end of Lost, it’s not a thing of meanness or a lack of understanding. It’s just that I’m the fan who does her thing every day and carries on, and when the day ends, I accept that I had a wonderful thing and I move forward to the next great thing to make me more awesome. I’ll miss it, and I’ll look back on it with sadness, but hey. Let’s go forward.
That point of view is what gets me crap from people who claim I give up, or I’m a traitor (love that one…). They say I was never really a fan, or a member of the community, because I accept the end. Oh, I’ve tried to explain that acceptance doesn’t mean agreement. And that walking away from Batwoman because I don’t like the new story line doesn’t make me less of a fan. It doesn’t make me a better fan than you either, it just makes me … me.
There’s room for nearly every type of fan. So let’s stop attacking each other for being different types of fans.