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The Internet Answers How Fandom Changed Their Lives

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Trigger Warning: Depression and Suicidal Ideation.

Everyone’s part of a fandom. Whether it’s books, movies, TV shows, or more, if you love something and share your enthusiasm for this particular thing with others, you’re part of a fandom. And for many, being part of a fandom transcends just liking or loving something. Fandom means community, family, and a place to belong. It’s a home for those of us that have never had one, and it’s where many of us find who we are as people. That’s why the responses to Gail Simone’s tweet, asking for positive things that fandom has done for you, has hit so many right in the feels.

Personally, fandom saved my life. After an assault, my life spiraled. I couldn’t get out of bed, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I spent so much time wondering if the pain I was experiencing would stop if I just ended it all. I honestly couldn’t find any hope, even after therapy and even when I started taking medication to quiet the fire in my mind. But you know what did save me? Do you know who swooped in and gave me a family, a home, and a purpose? Fandom did. That’s why when I say fandom saved me, I mean it.

A huge part of my survival today is due to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. I remember sitting in therapy, my therapist trying his hardest to get me to find some hope in my life. The goal was to find something, no matter how small, that I could hold onto to keep me breathing and living for just a little longer. Jokingly, I said, “I have to know what happens in the next Marvel movie. Can’t know if I kill myself,” and it felt dumb and silly in the moment, but the way that my therapist lit up like a Christmas tree showed me that I had hit gold.

And it worked. Anytime I felt like my assault, my family, or the world was crushing me, I’d remind myself, “You gotta hold on a little longer because you have to know what happens in the MCU.” This worked for years. And it’s thanks to that fandom, that universe, that I kept pushing myself to get better and to become a more active part in that fandom and others that I found myself falling in love and like with. Years later, and even though my relationship with the MCU has shifted, I thank it for how much it grounded me.

I’m still fully entrenched in fandom, well beyond just the MCU. And because of it, I’ve met friends who have turned into my family and that I visit yearly, I’ve found my passion for writing, and I have a clearer understanding of my place in the world and the mark that I want to leave on it. I’m still working on quieting that fire in my mind through therapy and medication. Those things are essential. But it’s become so much easier to live with fandom at my side, constantly holding my hand.

This power that fandom has over the lives of those who join these communities isn’t limited to me or my experience, either. Twitter was quick to answer Gail Simone’s question with responses of their own about the positives that come with having passion and being part of a fandom. Some found their careers, their partners, and explored the world because they embraced their passion and became part of something bigger than themselves.

(image: Marvel Studios)

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Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.