Fandom, for me, has always been about escapism. It was about finding a community of like-minded individuals who also love the same things as I do and sharing that excitement with each other where I couldn't easily have done so in real life since, well, there was never really an appropriate space for doing so. While yes, there will be the rotten apples in the fandom community who make the experience less pleasant in whatever form, the good far outweighs the bad since I still enjoy fandom as a whole. I joined LiveJournal because of that fannish community, of connecting with other people and befriending so many of you from conversations we've had, of getting to know each other through shared obsessions, of exchanging thoughts (whether it was agreeing or of opposing opinions) of something we enjoyed.
Fandom has been an amazing learning experience in multiple ways. It's taught me how to interact with others, how to engage in conversations and participate in debates. It's taught me how to pick my own battles, avoid certain situations, and when to use my voice. It's also educated me on subjects that I wouldn't have learned elsewhere, just from reading different sides and opinions on various topics via metas and essays and open discussions among the community, and I've gained perspectives on things I had never considered before. I've befriended people of all ages throughout the years who have had different experiences in life and have also taught me a great deal, as well. Also, because of fandom, I discovered the convention circuit, which has given me another outlet where I can share my fannish excitement with other fannish people in real life as I do online.
To me, fandom has never been only one thing where you either participate or you don't, it's so much more than that. It's been a huge chunk of my life. I entered the online fandom in high school (and had lurked a little before then), and I've not only learned so much and been involved with so many different fandoms over the years, I've also grown into myself as a person. Much of my fandom experience has shaped me into who I am today, and I will forever be grateful.
So thank you, fandom, for existing, for letting me know that I'm not alone in being an absolute fangirl and that there's no shame in being one, either, and that I have a place among your community. You were an important part of my formative years, and continue to be so even today, and I don't know where I would be without you.
And thank you, my beloved flist, for being there for me as well throughout the years. No matter whether you're new to my journal, been here a while, or those online friends now long gone, these friendships mean the world to me and I also don't know where I would be without you guys. You're all amazing, and even if you're not that involved with fandom as I am I'm happy that you're still here, that we still talk about the things we love and connect with. ❤
This challenge took a bit to finish, and I didn't answer every single one of the challenge days, but it was fun nonetheless. I really want to do more challenges like this in the future, or other writing/prompt memes in general.