I’ve got an appreciation for many things.
• family & friends
• creating things
• fine art & performance
• video games
• food & drink
and much more.
But I’m an ardent fan of specific things.
• the Montreal Canadiens / Oakland Raiders / LA Dodgers / Atlanta Hawks / Barcelona FC (SPORTS!)
• pasta, pizza and carbohydrate filled pleasantries (FOOD!)
• red wine, gin and scotch (DRINK!)
• X-Men, Daredevil, Batman and Spider-Man (COMICS!)
• and more things that I won’t bore you with, otherwise this post will be a mile long and full of inconsistent, non-linear thoughts.
Fandoms are an important part of who we are as people. It shows passion and education and experience in a singular thing, which makes us feel like experts. We invest a lot of time being a fan of something, and we take a small piece of ownership in it.
For example – my favourite sports team is the Montreal Canadiens. Whenever I speak of the teams success or failure, I almost take it personally. I find myself often saying “We did/didn’t do this…” or “Our guys did/didn’t do this” as if I was part of the team as a player/owner/coach/manager or whatever. It’s like being adopted into a family and being welcomed as a member with a legitimate say in how things should happen. Fans of TV shows and movies do the same thing. They get invested in stories and plots, and make up fictionalized scenarios.
And this is where things get tricky.
How much ownership can you have over something you have no control in? How many times have you heard of fans rebelling against the direction a sports team or a TV franchise takes or what a product brand formula changes to?
It happens every day.
So when I find myself in a situation where I get heated over the mismanagement of something I love and have invested time in, I tend to blurt it out on social media or on the internet in the hopes someone will join me in support. Someone who is disgruntled like I am. I honestly believe that frustration comes out when we feel like our time has been wasted, and that the simplest answers are often overlooked and warnings go unheeded. It’s common to get upset when you’re being ignored, but is this extra stress necessary?
I’ve been trying to take account of things that stress me out in my daily life. I keep thinking of “how I used to be.” I often refer to an era where I was more confident, more patient and calm, happier. And I look at what is in my life right now, and it’s easy to heap blame on certain things, as if they’re holding me back. Things like:
• Work responsibilities
• Parental responsibilities
• Spousal responsibilities
• Homeowner responsibilities
But, we can’t stay 22 forever. Eventually we have to face these realities and deal with them accordingly. It’s a thing called ‘growing up.’ With responsibility comes the weight of stress. In order to keep everything running 100%, more work needs to be put in, which requires a measured amount of stress.
But what happens when you haven’t measured and it feels overwhelming? Well, that’s when it’s time to take inventory, and that’s how I’ve gotten to this point.
(I apologize for the roundabout explanation – a little context was necessary to explain where this is going.)
As part of my stress management/inventory, I noted the things that piss me off or aggravate me. They were small things, but I noticed they veered off into a different territory. I was getting upset about the direction of things I had no control over. And when I looked at it on paper and how silly it was, it felt like a heavy helmet was taken off of my head and I could see clearly and I could stand up straight again. I also felt a little bit foolish, since the thing that pissed me off that I couldn’t control was absolutely meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
So getting back to fandom – sure, these things I’m a big fan of can affect my mood, but they shouldn’t affect my day. Given that the team I root for (go Habs go) are having a terrible year, there isn’t much I can do about it. I can give my opinion, get it off my chest and go about my day, or I could sulk and act like everything is terrible in my life.
I want to feel happy. So I’m just going to let that one go – can’t control it, so it can’t control me.