[The ‘Yours in Armitage’ series is a collection of posts documenting my changing perceptions about my celebrity crush on Richard Armitage, using excerpts from past correspondence to help me come to terms with the uncertainties. I’m sharing this writing exercise in order to illustrate the highs and lows a fan can go through]
I’ve now reached the end of the excerpts from 2013 and can confidently say that this introspection has already helped me. I plan on doing another handful of posts to cover the years 2014-2017 and then after that, this little experiment will be finished. when I set out upon this venture, I was hoping that the process of reading back through my fangirl related correspondence would help me get a clearer picture of not only the issues I seemed to be struggling with concerning Richard Armitage, but also my history with the fangirling hobby in general. as I finished writing each post and replied to comments, I then wrote a short summary of thoughts about what issue was covered, what may have caused it in relation to past experiences, and then how it relates to me. what follows is what I’ve learned so far.
conclusion: fangirling calms me, it’s why I do it. building a framework of ‘things to know’ about the person: film work, popular interviews, basic biography information, etc. and then creating a routine within those boundaries. “routine” being what I do each day that involves the crush: checking Twitter for news/celebration of them, certain Tumblrs/blogs/forums, and just seeing them in some form every time I turn on my computer.
pattern: following a crush is an escape for me. I’m in it for the positive benefits
conclusion: I am cynical towards ‘making it big in Hollywood’ because of things that have happened to past crushes. Robert Pattinson was constantly on display in the media; Christian Bale was used for his fame by people close to him; the hate from fans that is directed towards Jamie Dornan’s wife and the spouses of other actors who are part of a popular fan ‘ship’; how all of them have had to ‘play the game’ in order to remain relevant enough to pursue what interests them.
pattern: my crush must not fully give in to popularity/marketing. he must always stay a step removed
subject: Romantic Relationship
conclusion: most of my past crushes have been married and seemed to have a good relationship with their spouse. I enjoy watching them hold hands and talk about the support they receive from one another; it enhances my own relationship from seeing it.
pattern: I prefer my crush to be in a relationship that I can celebrate. this also helps guard against me imagining myself in that role
conclusion: I have an ‘all or nothing’ issue in regards to thinking I have to find personal meaning in every project the crush does. if I don’t, it’s a let down, and I automatically start wondering if he’s really the one for me after all.
pattern: I must feel at ease with most everything related to my crush in order to keep the fangirl high optimal
conclusion: I prefer a balance of traits that are like me vs traits that I’m not familiar with. if the scale tips too far in one direction, I will stack it in order to achieve my preferred ratio. this can result in an unfair perception of who the person really is.
pattern: I inadvertently shape the crush into who I want/need him to be
subject: Television Role
conclusion: creates more time with my crush, strengthening the parasocial bond as he takes me through the storytelling process.
pattern: crush becomes a ‘guide’ to help me through what I’m supposed to learn
subject: Sharing Opinions
conclusion: fan reaction (‘object of affection’ opinions included) greatly influences my feelings. when a majority of opinion is established, it can result in pushing my opinion into that majority or it can cause me to fight against the majority instead. either instance leaves me feeling restless because I know, on some level, that the opinion is not inherently my own.
pattern: the opinions of others color my experience. the risk is that it might end up ‘ruining a good thing’