Don’t shame others for things they’re passionate about

For as long as I can remember, I have been what is referred to in pop culture as a “fangirl.”

The term “fangirl” can mean a lot of different things, but in concise terms, it denotes a person who is an extremely enthusiastic fan of someone or something.

I’ve been a fangirl of many things over the years: the Harry Potter books, the TV show Glee, the South Korean boyband BTS.

I’ve never been good at enjoying stuff casually. When I’m into something, I’m into it completely.

I’ve watched and re-watched the Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” too many times to count, and if someone asked me to, I could perform the entire soundtrack to Hamilton as a one-woman show.

There have been times when I am fully aware that someone is judging me for being as passionate as I am about stuff like this. Sometimes I can just tell that someone thinks I’m weird, and it used to make me feel discouraged.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that passion, no matter what it’s inspired by, is
never a bad thing.

As humans, we need a reason to get up in the morning. We need things to look forward to and get excited about.

Some people are really interested in politics. Some people absolutely love their jobs. Some people are diehard fans of certain sports teams. It has taken me a while, but I’ve realized that my passions for fandoms, bands and shows are just as valid and important as any of those things.

For example, my dad’s family is and always has been very invested in the University of Michigan Wolverines football team. My aunts, uncles and cousins have always had season tickets to the games, my dad will stop to talk to anyone he sees wearing a Michigan shirt and the team’s performance during the current season is a guaranteed topic of conversation at any family gathering.

This used to annoy me. No part of me is interested in sports, and my family knows that. I used to give them a hard time about it, and vice versa.

However, I’ve recently realized that their love of Michigan football and my love of Broadway musicals and Marvel movies all come from a similar place.

There may not be a bone in my body that cares about football, but I realize now why my family loves it so much.

It gives them something to be excited about. It has provided them a wonderful community of friends over the years. It inspires competition and camaraderie and so many other good things.

These are the exact same benefits I have gotten from being a part of my many fandoms.

All of this is to say don’t make people feel discouraged for being excited about the things they’re excited about.

You know how you can see someone’s eyes light up when they’re talking about something they love? Don’t be the person to kill that light in their eyes.

My little sister is a huge fan of the CW series “The Flash.” She can talk about it for hours, and even though I don’t watch the show, I’ll never tell her to stop talking about it.

I think we need to especially encourage young girls like her not to be ashamed of whatever it is they love.

Sometimes it seems that grown men investing a great deal of their time and energy into watching football and remembering stats and facts about the players and coaches is more respectable than a 14-year-old girl with a homemade sign singing her heart out at a Taylor Swift concert.

But if you look closely, they’re pretty much doing the exact same thing.

So, I would just like to urge everyone to recognize that people have different passions.

Some people love sports, some people love their work, some people love politics and some people love supporting their favorite actor or musician. And that is not something to be ashamed of. It allows expression of creativity and connection to other people.

We all have different interests, but whatever it is that inspires a true passion in you, don’t let it go. Love it out loud. I promise it’s a good thing, and I guarantee you there are others who share your passion.

Reported by Micali Gadola, Vanguard Reporter

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