When I was in my Junior Year of college, I took a class called “Theory of Personality”. This class was mostly just a history class that focused on the lives of some of the most famous psychologists. It was a really interesting class and I wish it hadn’t been at 8am. The professor for this class was a licensed therapist and she often spoke of her real world experiences. During one class, she explained the idea of “self-care”. She explained that therapy is an emotionally draining job that can lead to burnout if one is not careful. To avoid that, we need to find something to use as self-care. This could be anything from spending time with family or doing yoga to smoking and drinking alcohol. Some forms of coping are healthier than others. When she asked the class to name things that they did for “self-care”, my immediate thought went to fandoms. Reading and watching stories are entertaining. But analyzing them and obsessing over them is what I consider really relaxing when I’m burned out. Especially reading fanfiction.
I can’t remember when this obsession with fanfiction began. Probably at some point around Middle School. I know I have a half-finished High School Musical self-insert fic from 8th Grade lying around my house somewhere. I still have my fanfiction.net account, although it hasn’t been updated in years. I love writing fanfiction. It doesn’t have to be good and you don’t have to create the character’s yourself. It’s a great way to practice writing skills with a topic of interest with a little less stress. It’s a great way to escape for a little while, too. As for reading fanfiction? It’s an addiction of mine. I’ll read all sorts of fanfiction. Angst, fluff, smut….you name it, I’ve probably read it at some point. My favorites tend to be the really lengthy ones that are practically novels in and of themselves. (Shoutout to the fic “Maslow” for Drakken/Shego fans. This is the fanfiction that started my spiral into addiction and it’s still my favorite fanfic).
After an emotionally draining day yesterday, I spent most of this morning catching up on a Les Miserables fanfiction. It instantly took me away from my problems and my morning flew by. It took willpower to get in a few chapters of my actual book today, I was so focused on reading the fanfiction. It may not be original characters, but it’s still a story in it’s own right. I highly recommend fanfiction to any and all fandom nerds. It’s a great way to get more of your favorite characters and to see them interact in ways you may never see on screen or on the page. They’re really fun to write, too. Call it a guilty pleasure if you want, but I can’t get enough of these stories. It’s my nerdy version of “self-care”.