2013 – The Year of the Fangirl

This post was originally posted on Livejournal. 

Happy December 31, everyone! I’m thinking of putting up my annual Media Maps for Books, Movies, Music and Torrent Boyfriends like I’ve done for the last couple of years, and that might go up a little bit later. To be honest, I finished reading less books than the ones I actually bought and you’ll see why in a bit. I figured this is as good a time as any to take stock of the past year and recount moments that made 2013 the year it was because it was CUHRAHAYZAY. When I did this for 2012, chunks of the year came up blank with the really good parts standing out against a blah background. I’m happy to say that while 2013 was not an easy year, it was definitely way more packed and memorable than the previous one.

Remember when the world was supposed to end late last year? Yep, 2013 kicked off with cosmic effects off of that phenomenon with personal paradigms shifting, shifting, SHIFTING. I certainly felt it with the eschewing of many attitudes and frequencies of thought. Some shifts were radical and drastic, almost happening overnight. However, others were more of a process. I noticed that the biggest shifts had me returning to *cue the Enigma track and the music video of the horses running across the frame backwards* innocence. My biggest driver for 2013 was PLAY.

“Stay open, stay playful” was the best piece of advice I received at the beginning of the year, and using this as my guiding principle has led me to unexpected and exciting directions I never thought I’d take. The tail-end of 2012 had already given me a peek of what was to come in the next 365 days, and it was an exciting preview!

Fandom has always been a large part of my personal life, but as much as I loved to immerse myself in new information, absorb the passion and study the cultures of specific fandoms, my fandoms have always been more of a solitary endeavor than a social one. A firm (Groucho) Marxist when it came to socializing, my shell was a tough one to crack even from the inside. 2013 brought welcome changes in the way I approached fandom, and inadvertently brought on more positive effects in my life.

A year’s worth of fangirling…

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January – After falling into the GACKT fandom, I put up a Tumblr called GACKT SMUT. My pervy thoughts needed a place to go and the nature of tumblr made this project a satisfying personal endeavor. My objective was to put up a repository of pervy thoughts about the Japanese sex god set to some of my favorite GACKT shots. My goal was to be able to reach out to a few like-minded GACKT fans. The ones that liked it absolutely LOVED it and I was grateful to be able to help fill a GACKT-shaped gap in that tiny corner of the internet that was looking for GACKT smut. However, some hated it. The reasons varied, but that entire exercise gave me some learnings that not all social media and blog spaces had the same culture. I’ve been on Livejournal for ELEVEN years and have never been on the receiving end of internet hate. Some of the abuse I received over on tumblr just because I openly professed to wanting to stick a vibrator up someone’s ass was surprising. I can understand how sexually aggressive macros might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the level of hate some of the posts got made me feel that there was only one way to approach the fandom, and if you happened to express a different way of celebrating the fandom that didn’t agree with the majority, you were called a bad fan. I also ran into a few Big Named Fans who were self-proclaimed experts on the fandom simply because their opinions were popular with other fans or because they provided translations of everything GACKT broadcasted. This gave them license to shit on everything they didn’t agree with while ironically preaching to others that they shouldn’t be made to feel bad about liking what they liked. JUDGING YOU SO HARD, DEARS (or should it be G+Lovers now?) That said, some of the GACKT fans I ended up making friends with are some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to meet (more on this later.)

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February – Boy’s Love (BL, or yaoi) was also a huge thing. I re-discovered that my iPad made a fantastic manga reader and I hoarded titles quicker than I could read them. Yuiji Aniya was the first BL artist whose work I was introduced to. Her men were spindly limbed outlaws who were in love with fellow outsiders. But it was Fumi Yoshinaga’s work, like the wonderful  Antique Bakery I fell in love with. I hoarded BL OVA’s and series too – notably “Junjou Romantica” and “Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi”, both based on manga by artist Shinguku Nakamura. I also discovered live-action BL in the form of the Takumi-kun (and his million boy-problems) series, which I found was too emo for my smutty taste. Live BL predictably progressed to JGV. Naturally. An overabundance of Visual Kei yumminess enabled this train of fandom.

March – JGV became a major thing and I fell in love with a porn star named Manato. I started a correspondence with Katie, whom I met via Gackt Smut. Yay for new friends! Music-wise, I was working my way from GACKT to some of the younger Visual Kei bands like Abingdon Boys’ School, Alice Nine, and The Gazette when I noticed a lot of the Tumblrs I followed would also post a lot of K-pop. I realized the natural progression of the fandom was moving through concentric circles of BL, Visual Kei and K-pop, and I wanted to investigate more. I was talking to a young JGV fan off Paradox 5, a free JGV site when she started talking about some of the K-pop fans she “stanned”. Talk about LOST. She might as well have been speaking a foreign language. I looked into some of the groups she mentioned, but failed to understand what was so special about it when the fan-servicing in V-Kei was more overt. Plus, out of all the K-pop out there, where was a good place to start?

April – Wow. Fantastic Baby. My obsession with Shiny Males in Tiny Pants had progressed to K-pop (finally!) BigBang was the first group I followed music-wise, but I also liked Teen Top because of their ridiculous antics. But then came two big guns: ONE – SHINee’s legendary performance of “Dream Girl”  – it convinced me that these boy bands are really international spies masquerading as idols; TWO- discovering a certain pink-haired Luhan from EXO. Bye, world!

luhan

May – I started jogging in the morning, but made the mistake of stopping about eight days short of it officially becoming a habit : -( Not even my Official Running Crush was able to bring me back. It’s still my biggest regret of the year, and I hope to correct this in 2014. Set a writing goal for myself, which I was successful in completing.

June – My first K-pop show! Shelled out 5k for an upper box ticket to CNBLUE’s Araneta concert. This was also very memorable because it was the first show I attended by myself! My first legit purchased K-pop album – EXO’s “XOXO”. I called in sick to wait for the parcel to come. Totes worth it.

July – Ever since reading this piece about why it is so difficult to make new friends in one’s 30’s, I vowed to break that mold. While parts of the essay made sense of some of the difficulties I faced in expanding my social circle, I refused to believe that I would be unable to get myself out of it. Something had to change! I was already regularly writing my pen pal Katie, which was wonderful because we had forged a genuine connection through actual letters, but I still wanted a friend that was closer to my zip code that I could legitimately flail with. Then, I was introduced to Yumenoato by Jetcrashcity  after we talked about my recent conversion to the Unified Church of K-pop. SPAZZ CITY. Population 3.

August – I started writing fanfic again, and realized that the fic-landscape had changed dramatically over the course of five years. So many new writers were taking fic more seriously, and while I would always have a soft spot for ridiculously plotted Mary Sue-based fics and fics where characters randomly broke out into their favorite ‘NSync song before crashing their car to a fiery death, I stumbled upon a few exceptionally-written fic. Exollent‘s  fic, “Fetus-faced Fucker” was one of my first favorites. However, Changdictator‘s  “Anterograde Tomorrowthe consummate EXO fic to aspire to. It had all the ingredients to a successful piece of fic – a popular ship KaiSoo, some character angst, some wonderfully rendered smut, well-executed fluff and (ahem – spoiler ahead), character death. Anyone who quoted “See you tomorrow, hyung!Don’t forget!” to me became an instant friend.

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September – We got tickets to see SHINee and EXO at the Araneta! The last time I fangirled this hard was back in 2004 when  me and a bunch of rabid fangirls followed Hanson around ABS-CBN. I was 25 then, and considered myself way too old to be running around after teenyboppers. WELL POP KARMA IS A HUGE BITCH. I was 34 and at the airport with a new bunch of rabid fangirls waiting to see boys I could not in good conscience even call “oppa”. #Sorrynotsorry Yumenoato promised she would push me to EXO-K when the time came that I would be paralyzed by feels and could do nothing except freeze in my tracks. She made good on her promise because I threw myself over Byun Baekhyun. No other idols were harmed, though.

October – I became obsessed with photo books and I quit literacy. Books with peechurs of bias gimme! Also, Super Junior in Super Show 5 is SUPER! I cut a bitch to catch a t-shirt thrown by my SJ anti-bias Shindong.

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November – Hosted the annual Horror Movie Support Group Night at my house featuring “A Serbian Film” and “Mystics in Bali”. I highly recommend both films be viewed in that exact order. Participated in my first writers’ workshop and I found it very rewarding, supplying me with a few new tools and tricks with which to approach my writing. Plus, new fandom friends 🙂 Oh! And I also contributed to a magazine that embarrassed me the first time I bought it but now it embarrasses me that I was ever embarrassed because IT IS AWESOME.

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December – 2013 was a GREAT year to fangirl 🙂 Already looking forward to what 2014 will bring in terms of comebacks, shows and other idol activity-related shenanigans. February 2014 is already set, and #goalsetting for Bigger Things has started. I keep visualizing all the flailing I am going to do next year and I can’t wait!

To feels! To friendship! To fandom! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

5thwinringaround

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