Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Challenge with Neat Little Boxes

Dear Mr. Vernon,

we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain... and an athlete... and a basket case... a princess... and a criminal... Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club

John Hughes was brilliant. Twenty five years later, that quote from the closing lines of The Breakfast Club still holds true.

People try to put us in boxes. It’s human nature to want to classify or define. Twi-hards, Twimoms, Robsten Shippers...all different titles applied in an effort to neatly organize people into categories. We have them in real life, and we have them in Fan Fiction too.

But the reality is, no one ever fits cleanly into one little box. Daughter, sister, friend, mother, there are so many ways that we can be classified.

A number of us hide our Twilight affection. Fan fiction, movies, books – we lock that part of us away from real life, choosing instead to share it with a community of anonymous people hidden behind clever screen names. But over time, those anonymous names may come to life. Twitter, email, and gchat break down our constraints (location, time zone, etc) and we start to get to know the person, not the identity. We start to clump together based on our interests, our senses of humor or preferences, and somewhere along the way, real life and fan fiction start to blend. That random name becomes a person, one that might even be called a friend. It’s in that melding of real and online that something magical happens.

We came together because we read books that, for whatever reason, we couldn’t put out of our heads. Through sparkly vamps and klutzy girls we started to transcend the stories and become something more. We form support networks for the good times and bad. We bond together in grief and in laughter. We raise money for charity and commit random acts of kindness.

I can only think of one box that defines all those traits. Friendship.

In the past few months, a number of things have happened in this fandom that has crystallized our relationships. We have lost members long before their time; we’ve supported others as they struggle with loss, illness, divorce, natural disaster, and a myriad of other things. We’ve laughed and cried together. We’ve lashed out in anger, only to find a sympathetic ear or shoulder who can help us work through our frustrations. Put those actions in a box and try and define them without describing it as friendship. I dare you.

When I first joined this fandom, I was worried about what people would think if they found me out. I’m married; a mom who is gainfully employed and has a nice normal life. Would people consider me strange because I was fascinated by the books? Would they judge me differently if they knew what I wrote about?

A year later, I have a different perspective, as colored by the amazing women I’ve interacted with. While diverse in our upbringings, ages, backgrounds and life stage, I’ve formed a common bond with so many people in this fandom, and that has allowed me to change my perspective. Let the world look down on me for my attachment to the books. Let my husband tease me as I met up with three friends in Chicago to go see New Moon, or have dinner with other online friends in Detroit, in New York, or San Francisco when I travel. The world may choose to classify those actions as one of a geek or a nerd, but I refuse to be defined by those things, and I refuse to let anyone else define us this way.

We came into this fandom for one reason, but we stick around for so much more. We look forward to the summer, to Comicon and the release of Eclipse. We talk eagerly about what will or will not happen with the release of Breaking Dawn. Peppered in those conversations are discussions about what to have for dinner, boyfriends, PMS, and even the random ogling of Rob. I challenge anyone to define those conversations as anything other than friendship.

Twitard,Twihard,Twi-mom. Let them try and box us in. We all know better.

My use of The Breakfast Club quote at the beginning of this article was not random. We came in assuming one thing, and it became something so much more. Thank you, fandom, for disproving the stereotype and showing that we are much more than what can be contained in one little box.

Hmonster4 proudly wears her heart on her sleeve and wears her fandom colors proudly. When not trying to spread sunshine and rainbows, she enjoys bribing people with dark chocolate dipped twinkies, championing lesser known fics, and wishing for warmer weather.


  1. H you made me all teary. Especially worse after watching Remember Me tonight. That was beautiful, poetic and oh so true. I can't imagine my life without the people I've met through this crazy thing called fanfiction and Twilight. I actually feel closer to a lot of the so called "online friends" than I do with the ones I actually have in the "real world".
    There's just something about people that "get" it. Get the need to explore our selves creatively, appreciate and support each other through little and big things. Who can laugh, and cry and even if you have differences when it comes the characters or the movies.. it doesn't matter because there's always SOMETHING that brings you closer. Be it music, love of certain actors ... recipes for food even!

    I love us. I love being part of something that's so much more than an "obsession with that crazy kids book about sparkly vampires."

    and I LOVE that there are places like twitter and email and sites like TLYDF where I can shout it from the webtops!

  2. This is so great. And true--I have friends that, were I not a "Twi-hard" (or "twi-tard" for the nay-sayers out there), I would've never came in contact with. I met fellow Twilighters on message boards, fansites, Twitter, & LJ. Some live here in America, in neighboring states, but some live in Germany, Australia, even Jordan. And I think it's beautiful that we can connect because of a book & then so much more. :)

  3. Pass the chocolate dipped twinkies and wine this way. Or well, it's early. Let's do coffee instead. Or mimosas.

  4. And she calls *me* a creampuff... [eyeroll] Guess it takes one to know one, huh?

    This was all kinds of lovely, my friend. You know that I'm endlessly fascinated by the social dynamics in fandoms, but in the end, it just comes down to connections and friendship and being there.

    Thanks for the twinkies, and all of the other stuff you give us all so freely.

    <3 you, MonsterB.

  5. x100.
    I'm so glad to have a small group of ladies who I can share my guilty pleasure with!
    BTW hun, if you're tired of the cold I'll glad swap you cos I'm sick of the heat!

  6. I want to print this out and carry it with me everywhere I go, so I can refer to it when I defend myself from people who think I'm crazy for my involvement with Twific.

    I can't tell you how happy, proud and honored I am to count you among the friends I've made in this fandom. <3

  7. Not going to lie, this made me cry, in a good way, because you nailed it completely.

    My husband often remarks on how he can't understand what the draw is to people online, why I spend so much time getting to know people I will likely never meet or consider them friends. The next time, I'll just send him a copy of this. :-)


  8. You are wise beyond your years. It takes a writer to say it so eloquently, but I think a lot of us second your emotion.

    Love, peace and happiness to all.

  9. Awesome article. Truly. This is my favorite fandom, hands down. I've never felt so accepted and at home. Most of my pals aren't really too into the fandom anymore, but I'm hoping to find a new group to hang out with. I miss a support group and a group of awesome women I can support.

  10. As I was reading your post, I felt as though you had been reading my mind over the last few months. I haven't been able to personally connect with many of the writers I read in the fanfic world, outside of reviews. However, I definitely, feel a sense of comaraderie with everyone in the fandom. I was a little late to the game, in learning about all things Twilight and only discovered the books and movies last summer. I had recently moved to Egypt to teach for a year and found myself drawn in by this amazing story. After reading the books for the hundreth time, I stumbled upon fanfic. It has been an interesting journey, I really don't have anyone to share this with aside from a group of my tenth graders. I love them and hearing their thoughts on the subject, but I would also like to discuss it with those closer to my age and my friends back in the states, tease me me for my new addiction. lol But after reading your blog, I don't feel quite so alone. Thank you! I will stop rambling now. Love the blog! :)

  11. This was wonderful and it echoes my thoughts. I have met some very interesting, entertaining and true people through this fandom.

  12. As usual, your way with words just twists me up, in a good way. This was the perfect expression of what keeps me here even when my mojo is low and RL is completely at odds with what I want to be doing. I wouldn't trade a minute of what I've found. Thank you so much for everything you've shared with all of us. xo laracff

  13. I read this the other day - and promptly notified some of my, er, fic friends to read it,too!Fic, and especially the ladies *snort* I've met in this world, has gotten me through some sad, lonely times this last year - and given me the push I needed to move on...

    I find myself wondering from time to time, is there, perhaps, a 12-step program for Twi-addiction? In any case, don't expect ME to start one! <><3


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