I’m a fangirl and sometimes, I do a bit of fangirling. What is fangirling? Well, I don’t know the technical definition, but basically, like fanboying, it’s when you might go overboard in the enthusiasm department while chatting with or standing in the presence of someone who has created something you really love or is a part of something that has become part of your life and/or helped to shape who you are.
When it was announced that Michel J. Fox was going to be appearing at the Calgary Expo, and then a Back to the Future panel with MJF, Christopher Lloyd, Tom Wilson, and Lea Thompson was announced, I asked my brother if he wanted to go with me. He politely declined for a few reasons, one of them being that he wasn’t sure if he could handle me seeing Michael J. Fox.
Fair enough. I too was a little concerned about whether or not I was going to be able to keep it together. My Mum had asked, “What are you going to do? Just stand in front of him and cry?” “Probably,” was my response because it would no doubt be true but, I was really hoping I wouldn’t be hot mess and that I would keep my cool, at least in front of him. Whatever happened after I walked away would be fitting and completely OK, but while meeting him, and thanking him for being my guiding light and safe space when I was a kid, I hoped to do this with at least a wee bit of grace.
However, as we all know, if you read my last post, I didn’t have to keep it together for MJF since, unfortunately, he’d had to cancel his appearance at the Calgary Expo. I sat through the Back to the Future panel a little heartbroken and I think I wasn’t the only one. AGAIN, as I said in my last post, I wasn’t angry at him. I was just disappointed. Meeting him would have been a real dream come true and I’m not trying to sound selfish in anyway. Even though I completely understand why he had to cancel, I’m still allowed to be sad.
But, I was still able to flex my fangirl skills in the direction of a couple other people and I kinda wish I could have a do over of sorts.
Megan Follows…sigh…what Canadian girl does not know and love her as Anne mid 80’s TV telling of Anne of Green Gables? I don’t know how many times I watched the show after my Mum taped for me off television and then after I received the box set one year (on VHS!) for Christmas, but it was numerous. I loved everything about it: Anne, her red hair, her relationship with Matthew and Marilla, Anne’s intelligence, humour, grace, courage, and spirit. I fell in love with PEI and if someone told me that one day I would live close enough to it that I would make a yearly trip that beautiful island, I would never have believed them. It became my comfort show and Megan Follows became another hero to me. I looked up to her a great deal.
While at the Calgary Expo I went to her panel and she spoke so beautifully. She was poised, gracious, and intelligent. She had beautiful stage presence that I’m positive shines as brilliantly when she’s acting on stage as it does on screen. I hope one day to see her in a play.
When at a con, sometimes I’ll choose an autograph of an actor over a photograph with them. With Megan I went with a photo. And wow…I’m not sure what she thought of me, but she looks a wee bit…well scared maybe… in our picture. Perhaps it was my costume. I am dressed as a boy in the photo and I look a bit threatening with that mask. Or perhaps it was my over abundance of enthusiasm. Whatever the case after I received the photo and saw my near tears smile, I wanted to slap myself with my mask, or my own hands, or ask someone to slap me. I fangirled on Anne…sigh…oh well. Chances are somewhere in the range of 100% that she won’t remember so I’m going to try and let my wincing feelings go.
Besides! I fangirled worse on an unsuspecting comic book writer who I won’t name as I don’t want her to feel I’m in anyway trying to cash in on her success or use her or anything like that. I visited her everyday of the con, mostly because she said to come back and show her my different cosplay outfits, and we’d have a little chat about her evening or what she was working on. I never stayed for long, and I was always polite. I’d mentioned in one of our conversations that I was a writer and hoping to one day have a career of sorts in the field of writing and tried to explain in real human words what one of her particular comics meant to me. The girl in the comic is fighting her past and her present. She is trapped by the feelings she’s having trouble expressing and knows that perhaps she shouldn’t be quite so public about how she’s attempting to fight her demons. In some ways I can relate to her plight and while trying to explain this to the very patient comic writer, I fear I may have seemed as if I was wanting more of her. I did ask if I could ever ask her for advice on writing but didn’t mean that in a, “I want to use you as a contact” kind of way. She’s a woman around my age, writing comics and sometimes it’s nice to have an ear to bend, but never use.
I wish I could tell her that I’m sorry if I came across as needy and weird, and maybe one day we’ll meet again and I’ll get that chance. In the mean time, I’m just trying very hard to not let my anxiety take over. When it does, it tends to shine the brightest of lights, on the slightest of negative experiences and magnify them 1000%. Mostly, it was fine. She was gracious, she introduced me to some new titles, and I learned from her what I’ve learned from many writers I’ve met (and not used); that if you want to be a writer, you need to write and submit your work as much as possible. Hard work will pay off, but you will get nowhere if you do nothing. I truly appreciated her advice and time.
For the record, when I got my picture taken with the delightful Tom Cavanagh, I walked away very happy and I’ve no lingering feelings of embarrassment.
So, fangirling, in a way, is about taking risks because you are putting yourself out there and openly expressing to someone you admire that you really like their work. For good or ill, for happiness or sorrow, for lasting positive memories or slightly cringe lingering moments; I think it’s a gift to live during a time where we have these kinds of opportunities to tell someone that their work has made a difference to us. After all, as a creative person it’s nice to get feedback about your work. Some artists say it doesn’t matter, and you should work for yourself. I agree in that you should do what makes you happy, and create material you yourself enjoy, but an audience can help encourage you to do more, and raise your own bar. And who better to let you know that your work is beloved than an enthusiastic, well meaning, 45-year-old fangirl.