9/4/2021 - That's a Shit Mindset You Got There
EDIT, 6/1/2022: I put a more updated version of this meta essay on my Ao3, which you can read if you'd like. With some changes/tweaks and new bits. This updated version being made since I turned 25 as of this year.
(For transparencies sake: Most of this blog post's text is from a twitter thread I made, with additions and edits.)
I’m gonna be 25 next year, I’m gonna enter that “too old for fun” zone a lot of people, especially people younger than me and even in my age range(early 20s) have internalized. I think this mindset is shitty, dumb, and it hurts literally everyone. I’ve got some stuff to say about that.
First and foremost, I’m autistic. I’ve been made fun of for my interests since I was a young kid. By my peers, and even my own parents too. Hell my parents still make shitty and snide jokes about me liking Nintendo games and wanting plushies. Not as much as they used to thankfully, but it still happens. So having to deal with having to endure mockery for having "childish interests" by people of literally all ages from kids around my age at the time (about being 9-10 years old and throughout my teen years) to various adults, it’s safe to say I learned to deal with comments telling me to “grow up” and “get different interests” since quite a young age.
I was made fun of for liking Pokémon for so much of my childhood as just one example of many things I dealt with. If you’re neruodivergent a sad reality is that no matter what you like, you will be made fun of by your peers regardless. Or even the adults in your life too. It’s a incredibly shitty thing to do that really can do serious damage but that’s a conversation I’ll have more in-depth another day.
I really don't know what exactly caused this shift in mindset. As a kid/teen, seeing adults in fandom and just loving the things I love was the coolest shit. It gave me happiness and hope. It told me: "Hey! I can still love these things as an adult!" in a time when I really needed that message. I'll never forget my English teacher in middle school. Once she learned I loved the Legend of Zelda(My favorite video game series ever and biggest special interest alongside The Leijiverse), I cannot even begin to describe to you how much of a ray of light hearing that was.
Middle school was hell, I barely had any friends and was made fun of daily for a long laundry list of a variety of reasons. One of those many things was the things I enjoyed. She told me how she played Zelda since it first came out. How she got a Gamecube to play Twilight Princess in the 2000s, and more. Her kindness, enthusiasm and her being so sweet and kind to me, as well as nurtuing and encouraging my love for Zelda I will never forget for as long as I live.
What happened? Why are so many kids, and even people in their early 20s so bent over people 25+ being in fandom?? When not even too long ago I feel, it was a really awesome thing to see. Something to aspire to. Something that gives you hope if people make fun of you for what you love. Adults, especially Adult women built the foundation for fandom as we know it today. Fandom was literally built upon Housewives making kinky Spock/Kirk fanfics, fanart and zines! I don't get this shift. And sadly it's REALLY kicked off and spread in the past couple years.
When it comes to having this shit internalized: this mindset is harmful to EVERYONE. Teens, adults, literally anyone of any age. And for the people under 25 that have this internalized and/or say this to others it will hurt you too. As you inch closer to 25, what will you do when you get there? Get rid of your merch? Delete any fanworks you might have made? Give up something that's made you happy?
I’ve seen many people in distress over “I’ll have to give this up soon because I’ll be too old” when it comes to fandom. I've seen way too many cases of this, and it's incredibly depressing. Especially as someone who was made fun of for their interests for so much of their youth. And still even deals with it from my family, people who are supposed to support you unconditionally.
I’m gonna tell you this if you think you gotta give up these things when you become 25: NO YOU DO NOT! Do not give up something that gives you pure joy in life. This world is buckwild. It really is, having something that gives you happiness is so goddamn important. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The world is on fire, we are in a pandemic still, horrible things happen so much and yet we are forced to march on to act like all this shit is normal when it's not. The mindset of once you become 25 “that you gotta give up fandom” and “find less childish/more adult interests” in general is bullshit and harmful.
Please let yourself have things to enjoy. It’s so important in this world. Permit yourself to have happiness, please.
If you have something that gives you happiness: HOLD ON TO IT! Don’t let it go, never let it go, no matter what anyone tells you. This mindset of once you reach a certain age and you gotta give in your "ability to have fun" card and go off to to taxes and shit is nonsense and horrible and I wanted to speak about it for a moment, because nobody should have this internalized.
You can check out the full list of posts that have been made here.