I consider myself a PlayStation fan girl, a Final Fantasy fanatic, and lover of JRPGs. These are my ‘go to’ fandoms, the ones I publicly cheerlead for, the OSTs I listen to while driving, and the music I play on the piano. It’s my reflexive answer when asked about my gaming preferences.
Then Amy asked the question: “Can you be a fandom of one?”
I realized there was another. A forbidden love, if you will. A secret fandom. The one you don’t tell anyone about. Like those Anne Rice novels you secretly loved, or your true crime obsession. A fandom created by a deep emotional bridge connecting to a former version of yourself. You know there are others out there, but who are they; where do you find them?
Do you want to find them, given the deeply personal connection you have with the material?
Some things aren’t meant to be shared with the world. Its purpose is the comfort of the self. For me, this deeply personal fandom involved a cinematic experience full of adventure, crazy characters, and tactical stealth espionage.
Fourteen was an awkward age. As a military brat, in a small white town, I’d seen too much and never bothered with real community attachments. A lone wolf, I’d tell myself. A rebel princess without a cause. Once a year, my dad walked into whatever school I attended to discuss my attitude, or to settle a score over a test I failed.
The problem? I learned history from a different perspective.
For example, in the United States, we were taught the Monitor and the Merrimack were the first iron armored ships used in combat, in 1862 during the U.S. Civil War. In South Korea, we were taught 거북선 (Goebukson) or turtle ships, designed by Admiral Yi Sun Shin, battled in 1592 during an attempted Japanese invasion. My history answers often caused my teachers to clash with my parents, and by default, me.
I learned there was a difference between what the answer was, and what answer someone was looking for. I saw authority as a means of controlling the narrative, no matter how wrong that narrative was. Now I have words like colonialism and systemic injustice. Back then I just felt alone, cursing my luck for being me.