It’s been a year since Alden Richards staged his Adrenaline Rush concert. It’s also been a year since I came out of the closet and told the world about the state of my mental health.
Around this time last year, I was seriously contemplating on retiring as an active fan. Adrenaline Rush was supposed to be my last hurrah, so to speak. One year, a couple of drama series and a movie after, guess what… I’m far more active than before. What happened?
I’ve pondered through it and listed down my random thoughts and realizations from the past 12 months since that fateful night on September 21, 2018:
1. It IS possible to fangirl alone and enjoy it.
Yes, it is far more difficult if you don’t belong to any fan group, especially in the Alden fandom where belonging to a fan club/group is the most guaranteed and convenient way to collect your Alden moments. Fight me on this, it’s the truth and we all know it. I was once an FC member, ya know. Now that I no longer belong to any group, I would have to fight my way and double-triple the efforts just to have the perks that I used to enjoy when I was still with an FC. Sometimes I get lucky, oftentimes I don’t. But that’s just how the way things are.
However, fangirling alone has its perks. I am free to move and ‘strategize’. I don’t have to seek permission from anyone before doing things like set visits, or even taking a selfie with Alden. I can share my own thoughts and opinions without compromising my group. I am only accountable towards Alden and no one else.
It could get lonely sometimes, but that’s just normal. There are things that still need a lot of getting used to, such as being treated like I don’t belong there (yep, that still happens). I just have to constantly remind myself that it’s not about me; it’s just all part of fandom politics. Myself is just too stubborn to listen sometimes (sometimes??? ).
2. It’s OK to be paranoid, but not too much.
One of the things I acquired from all the things I went through as an Alden fan is extreme paranoia. As a result, I became elusive towards people in this fandom, in general. I am elusive by default because I’m an introvert. I’m not good at dealing with strangers. But once the ice breaks, it’s all good from there. Once it’s all good, I have the tendency to be too trusting. I end up trusting the wrong people. In the world of fandom politics, ‘trust’ is a very big word.
I got stabbed in the back multiple times in a span of what… 3 years? I guess you can’t blame me if I have trust issues. My trust issues evolved into extreme paranoia.
With the recent developments in the fandom, things have changed. I’m still awkward towards some, particularly those who used to shade and bash me on socmed, but I now get to exchange pleasantries with people whom I used to distance myself from (or they distanced themselves from me). It’s all good. However, I still need to constantly remind myself to be cautious and not to trust too much. The fandom politics is still there, after all.
3. Don’t give everything for your idol. Save some for yourself.
Alden said something along these lines in one of his speeches at a recent fan event. I can totally relate with what he said.
People who know me over the years know that I’m a very passionate and devoted fan. Heck, if I give the same passion towards my work as I do with fangirling, I’m either at a higher position by now, or got killed/ate death threats for breakfast. (Aren’t we glad that I’m not as passionate at work? hehe) But there came a point when my daily life gets affected by what’s happening with my idol and the fandom. I had to suffer from emotional and psychological distress before I realized that I should not let my entire being be consumed by fangirling. I learned the lesson the hard way. I still get random bouts of sadness every now and then, but I’m just a person with a mental health issue. It comes with the territory.
So guys and gals, remember this: We become fans of a celebrity in order to take a break from the rigors of our daily lives. They are supposed to be our stress-relievers. If they become the source of stress, take a step back and re-evaluate. Don’t worry if your idol is like Alden, he’ll understand why you need to take a break. He’s unselfish that way.
4. Remind myself where I really belong.
There are times when I feel like I don’t belong anywhere in this fandom, like I’m not good enough to be his fan. Whenever it happens, I get sad. Extremely sad, and question my entire existence. I got this a lot particularly during HLG promotions. I felt like I’m being slapped in the face of the fact that if you don’t belong to a recognized fan group, you don’t belong, period. In order to cope, I had to constantly remind myself that I declared at the beginning of 2019 that I’m just going to do it the normal way and fangirl from a distance. However, stubborn Agent P is stubborn and doesn’t listen to reason. Thus, the sudden bouts of extreme sadness and loss of self-confidence.
Recent events have told to me that what I feel is not necessarily what it really is. So now, I have to re-calibrate my declaration and re-define where I really belong. I do belong somewhere in this fandom. It’s not ‘from a distance’, not a far one, anyway. To hell with anyone who tells me otherwise.