Read! The Fangirl Life

zdaDbRrqKathleen Smith is a licensed therapist and writer who runs #fangirlhealth sessions on twitter, because lets face it – some days, loving your idols can be emotionally exhausting AF.

She also has a new book coming out called The Fangirl Life which is exactly the book for you if you’re like, always preoccupied with fangirling and sometimes feel like you need to just BREATHE.

So, if you’re the kinda girl who ships yourself with dead fictional characters (hello, John Snow) or anyone from One Direction, then you’re in good company. READ ON.

OMG your book is awesome. What inspired you to write it? Did you think that fangirls needed some headspace?

To be honest, the idea rather just popped into my head one day. My friends encouraged the topic, and I sat down and wrote it for National Novel Writing Month. I thought that if aspects of fangirling can motivate me, then it has to be true for others! Passion = momentum, so why not channel all that energy into something life-changing?

Is there a point that it can get a bit dark?

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Dark Knitting

Anything into which you invest a ton of emotion can get dark. I’m sure even an avid
knitter would tell you they’ve had at least one dark moment, lol. The thing about fangirling is that there is just so much on the Internet to encourage the interest that I think sometimes we accelerate too fast. It can become competitive, or all-consuming, and we forget what drew us to it in the first place, which is simply the joy of it all.

I love the fandoms I speak with (5SOS being a particular fave) and I find the girls I speak with to be creative, smart, vibrant – full of the joys of life, as my dad would say – why do you think young female fans are portrayed in a poor light by the press?

I think there are a lot of narratives in society about what’s allowed to be life-changing for a person. Religion, politics, a diet craze, even a sports team are considered acceptable things to obsess about. Yet somehow anything a teenage girl feels passionate about is a phase, or hysteria. What was viewed as “hysteric” behavior among women has always been taboo, so it makes sense that it would extend to their interests. I’d like to think that’s changing though!

In the book I’m on working now, there’s a young fangirl who’s Granny keeps telling her she’s wasting her life. But is she? How do you turn obsession into skills for the Real World?

When I think of moments where I was “wasting” my time, it’s not the times I was crying on Tumblr or marathoning a TV show. My wasted moments are the times I was too hard on myself, or I worried too much about what other people thought, or when I said “no” to something that could make me braver or stronger. I don’t think the fangirling behavior itself is the problem. It’s when I used it to hide from the bigger story for my life. When I can stand on top of the shoulders of the people who inspire me, real and fictional, then I’m using my passion for the real world. I’m taking notes, and I’m being curious about my interests and what they can do for me.

 

So, I know you fangirl hard over TV, but hit me with your biggest obsessions?

You know I think as I’ve gotten older I feel like I obsess less, or have what I call fewer “situations.” I have short bursts of feels, but I think my recovery time is faster. I have so many different interests that I don’t devote as much brain energy to one particular actress or TV show like I used to do. That being said, I’m currently still swooning over Essie Davis from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Let’s just say I’ve watched a lot of Australian television in the last few months.

Have you ever done anything weird yourself whilst head down amongst the fandom?

 Oh man. Yes I have, and I talk a little bit about it in the book. When I was in the Glee fandom I went an ENTIRE YEAR only wearing skirts or dresses every day. I was inspired by one of the character’s wardrobes and thought making the effort to look nice would improve my self-esteem. And it totally did! I called it the No Pants Challenge. That’s the American meaning of pants, not the UK one, lol. I also text my fangirl friends weird thoughts every day. But they are bound to confidentiality.

A couple of questions from some pluky fangirls I know:

1)   Eliza writes: I love music so much. SO MUCH. (imma directioner and harmoniser) But I don’t want to play or be in a band or anything. AM I WASTING MY LIFE FOREVER?

Eliza! I love television SO MUCH. It is my lifeblood. But I don’t want to be a TV writer or an actor. So if you’re wasting your life forever, so am I? But I don’t believe we are. Anything that brings you joy makes you a better version of yourself. You just have to figure out how to spread that joy to other people. Maybe it’s not through music, but in someway you can learn to give love to yourself and others. You are a different person because of your favorite bands. Embrace that person, and over time, you’ll learn what her story will be.

2)   Yumi writes: Sometimes I crush over Calum so bad that I feel he’s ignoring me on purpose. I’ve created whole stories and scenarios where we’re dating and even though I know it’s mad I can’t stop. What’s wrong with me?

Yumi! I’m 31-years-old (!) and I do this every day with my favorite TV characters. It’s called having an imagination, and adults who keep their imaginations alive make the best people. You just have to figure out when you need to be in the present, and when you can be in Calum-land. Riding in a car, falling asleep at night, or sitting in a boring meeting are perfectly acceptable times to imagine things. But when you’re with your friends, are focusing on your goals, or are working on something special, take a big, deep breath, and bring your mind back to where you are and what you’re doing. Calum won’t mind if you take some breaks from him.

NOW – PREORDER THE BOOK! 

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 Fangirling is more than a hobby; it’s a way of life for an enormous community. As a fangirl, you are a passionate, intelligent, and creative creature. But sometimes focusing on the fictional can keep you from putting those qualities to use in your everyday life. Rather than using your pop culture obsessions to avoid your real-life problems, you can tackle issues like stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem by turning obsession into inspiration.

Its the book we were waiting for, you guys!

Pre-order your Copy today! If you live outside the US, it should be available at most major bookseller sites in your country.

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Don’t forget to add it to your to-read list on Goodreads!

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