The thing about Tumblr that probably makes me saddest is the underlying assumption that women past a certain age (which seems to be about 25?) stop having any sort of outside interests beyond family/career/kids. Like, y’all are always so shocked that grown women have lives and can fangirl as hard as we did as teenagers.
It makes me sad not because it makes me feel old (although it does), but because these younger women are constricting their own lives–they fully expect that this will happen to them someday. Y’all deserve better. Y’all deserve to EXPECT better.
And worse than that, the idea that there’s something WRONG with a grown woman who has other interests.
One of the biggest things I realized growing up?
It doesn’t happen.
You expect somehow you will change when you are finally An Adult™. You’ll stop enjoying the things you enjoy now for something more “adult” or “mature.” You’ll FEEL like an adult and not like a child anymore. You’ll feel comfortable and secure and not scared and unsure and confused. You expect you will feel like you have your shit together.
But I can tell you that it doesn’t happen. You’ll still feel like the “you” you were at 15 or 17 or 19.
You just have these…things to deal with. Like rent. And insurance.
You have a job either because a) you like it or b) it keeps the lights and internet on.
You’ll look up from fangirling one day and realize “Shit. I am twenty eight years old. That’s almost 30!” Or maybe it will be that you look down at the small child clasped around your legs and realize “That is my child. I have a child. A human being child.” Or maybe it will be that you have to negotiate your budget around con tickets AND a mortgage payment.
Growing up isn’t a thing that happens.
It’s a realization that it doesn’t happen.
Holy shit, y’all. There are some AMAZING responses to this post. Yes, everything alwayshometomarvel says. All that.
Feeling like I wasn’t ‘adult’ enough fucked me up for years. I would cry at night and feel like a total piece of shit because I was married with a kid, and yet I still did ‘not adult’ things–I played MMOs, I cosplayed and went to conventions, I drew fan art and wrote fan fic. I kept waiting for the day that I would wake up and realize that what I really needed to be doing was the laundry, cleaning the house, making dinner every night, etc. Basically, be the ‘perfect’ wife and mother.
And somewhere between then and now, I somehow managed to tell myself…fuck it. I AM an adult. I go to work every day and pay the bills and help raise my son and take care of the house. I do legit adult things. AND I play MMOs, go to conventions, and participate in fandom. And THAT’S OKAY. I’m 32 years old now and finally at peace with that part of myself. (Having a supportive husband and kid doesn’t hurt either!)
All of this is such truth. Believing these things about growing up, and especially about being over 25? Really made it hard for me when I turned 30.
I was literally suicidal on my 30th birthday. I spent the whole day in tears. I felt like I had died and my life was now worthless and small and never going to be hopeful or full of promise or fun again. I felt like killing myself on my birthday because I bought into this lie that somewhere after your mid-twenties, you diminish as a woman because the only thing that made you alive and shiny was your youth.
I’m 31 now and I’m done with that shit. I’m over it. I don’t care if you think I’m too old for something. If I’m an old lady in Tumblr terms, then I’m past the legal age where I’m obligated to care what you think.
So, I’m telling you girls out there right now who are in your teens and twenties, get rid of this idea of what older women are “supposed” to look like. Get rid of this idea that “soccer moms” don’t play video games or that all women over 25 should be married and contemplating kids. Get rid of the idea that fanfic and fandom and fun things are for “kids.”
Mostly, get rid of this notion that the only thing really valuable about you is your youth. Youth is part of life, but it’s not the most valuable or beautiful or exciting time of your life. I like my life at 30 about 1000% than I did at 15, 18, 20, even 25.
on her deathbed, my grandmother pulled my mom close to her and said, “i don’t feel old. i don’t know how i’m supposed to feel. but inside, i still feel seventeen.” when I was a teenager, I used to think that story was sad; sad and strange somehow, like she’d been frozen in time. but now that i am a woman in my thirties, I understand. I understand her. I am a grown woman in the ways that matter. I listen to myself more, trust my experience more. but inside? I still feel the joy and rage and mess; I am still changing. we’re not frozen in time. we are just still growing.
the more we acknowledge that modern “adulthood” is largely a concept designed to sell vacuums and sedans, and not an arbitrary total overhaul of self at age 35, the more we can admit our ongoing capacity– no, our ongoing NEED for play and playfulness and exploration. those are childish things we should never have to put away.
I’m heading into the last year of my 40′s. I own a home (ok, I own a very small apartment) and I’ve held down a job in the same industry for 25+ years, in varying forms. I do laundry and wash dishes when they need doing, and pay my bills on time (except the times I don’t, ooops). I am, dog help us all, the more adulting adult people are always looking for.
And I wallow in fanfic and fandom, I go to concerts and dance my ass off and eat Chinese food after midnight, I have Funko Pop! figures staring down at me from the top of my fridge, I color my hair (or not) depending on whim, not expectation, and some of my closest friends and mischief-partners are in their 30′s (and some are in their 60′s).
Claim it all. This is your birthright.
I’ll be 60 next year. I’ll also be going to SPN cons and writing meta and buying merch and flailing about Show and Destiel.
When my kids were little, I wrote fanfic and published fanzines and went to fan-run cons because I needed something that was ~mine~, that wasn’t about being a mom or a wife–something that was about being ME. It’s easy to lose sight of that uniqueness when you have to worry about diapers and soccer practice and getting kids on the bus every morning, but y'all, it’s so important. SO IMPORTANT to hold onto YOU.
Amen to all of this. Adult(ing)™ is what you do, not what you are.
No matter your age.
Burn down the presumption that being into fandom as an adult is somehow juvenile.
You know who doesn’t have to deal with this shit? Male sports fans, who are apparently entitled not to let go of the things they loved as children, while us fangirls have to suck it up. How nice for them!!
Please, stop hating your future self. Stop thinking that fun and frivolousness and pleasure and possibility are not for her. Stop thinking you’re trapped. Just stop.
30. I’ve reached no ‘adult’ milestones at all &, honestly, I’ve realized that for some people being an adult just means surviving. It’s ok to just survive… and enjoy cartoons & video games while doing so.
One of the things I feel luckiest about with fandom is that when I was a teenage fan, I spent a lot of time talking to fans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. I never felt like fandom was something I’d grow out of, it would just be something I’d be able to devote more money and less shame to.
I’m sad that perspective is going away, because it was affirming in a way I don’t even think I understood when I experienced it.
MODERN MEDIA FANDOM WAS INVENTED BY MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN AND DON’T YOU FUCKING FORGET IT
I knew people who were in their fifties and sixties when I started - they saved my life, I tell you. And that was forty years ago. This whole “fandom is for the young” - is kinda new. Like, quit that, new. I was always the youngest in the crowd - always. By decades.
My mother was almost forty when I was born, and I wasn’t the last child she had.
I grew up in a community where the median age was 67 - and they did plays, watched movies and read books. LOTS OF THEM. I knew people in their eighties still running small businesses. It’s what you did.
30 was “I’m not too young to do that anymore” - not that it was too late to do that anymore. I’d heard that all my life, now I was old enough to assert myself and do ANYTHING. Each decade after that, turn up the volume.
I am currently playing every iteration of Pokemon right now. I am writing whatever I damn well please. Reading whatever I damn well please and if I am still in love with Virgil Tracy? THAT’S A GOOD THING.
I got Lego for my 56th birthday. Glorious.
Come over and sit by me. It’s all good.http://ift.tt/eA8V8J
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2fITBFj