We’ve talked a few times about friendships and community that come along with fandom and connecting with others. Personally, I think it’s a very important thing- being able to connect with others who enjoy the same things. For some people, those relationships can be some of the strongest in their lives (or even, the only meaningful relationships they have).
One of the best things about the age of the internet was the ease of discussing our favorite TV shows/films/comics/bands etc with others from around the world. When Buffy the Vampire Slayer was at it’s peak, forums and websites began popping up all over the internet. I’m sure that other shows etc were also at the center of this craze, but it was Buffy for me… I was able to talk to other people who loved the show as much as I did! And then I learned, through these new friends, about other things connected to the show- for instance, that some of the actors had bands (some were even good!) that played around Los Angeles. And suddenly some of the faceless names on the internet were real people, hanging out at a venue having a good time.
To be honest, I’m still friends with a lot of those people.
Sure, there are those who become extremely obsessive about their fandoms (I’m looking at you “Wincest” people…) and those that live for creating “flame wars”. Heck, we’ve even been trolled here by people who disagree with our “Olicity” love. But overall, the communities created via being a fan of something does a lot of positive things for people. I mean, when I was a kid being a nerd or geek was completely frowned on- though I have never been a member of the popular crowd and thus didn’t really care- but today… well, it looks like the nerds shall inherit after all.
I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. September is suicide prevention month and all over the sites I frequent I have seen positive messages posted to encourage people to reach out. And encourage others to connect with those around them and be a support. A lot of people do so within their fandom- I’ve seen memes using characters reaching out and supporting; thus fans see that they’re not alone (even if it is a character who feels the same). And sometimes the actors themselves are even putting their issues out there in order to show people that they aren’t alone- I’m looking at the awesome Jared Padalecki now.
I’ve also been thinking about what happens within our communities when things change. See- we aren’t just in one community. I have my Buffy friends, my rock and roll friends, my Arrow and The Flash friends, my convention pals, my mental health crew, etc. Sometimes people are in multiple circles, sometimes just one. And sometimes people create their own circle and we are the lucky ones, because we get invited to join that community.
Recently, I lost a great friend and my community crumbled.
So this is me putting things back together. Sure there’s a hole that can never be filled, but that doesn’t mean that this is the end. Who I lost was a bright, shining, beacon of nerdery. The spark of a community that took me in when I was alone and gave me the connection that I needed. I am grateful for this because even though he is gone, the community he created is there and continues; his legacy. And that’s the strength that comes from not being alone- on being a part of a community.
What I am trying to say is this- even if you believe you are the only one, I guarantee you are not. Some one else feels the way you do, someone else loves the things you do, someone else has been where you are… all you have to do is open your eyes, your heart, your arms and let them in. Whether you ever meet in person or not, sometimes all we need is a little support.
And nerds are the best at that.
Hi, my name is Elizabeth Ann, and I’m a nerd. Welcome to my community.