I’m aware that I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks, and I hope no one thought I’d disappeared into the ether once again.
My situation right now is as so: I’m being made redundant from the job I’ve had for the past five years, and the charity shop I’ve been managing closed its doors for the last time yesterday. So for the past two weeks I’ve been focused on closing down the shop, saying goodbye to my volunteers, dealing with a ton of extra paperwork, and making plans for emptying out the shop unit. I’m also job-hunting, as although I’m still employed for another couple of months, I’d like to have a new job to move into once my contract comes to an end.
So I’ve had very little free time, and very little energy to do anything productive.
But it did get me thinking about how much fandom is actually fun and relaxing, and how it sometimes ends up feeling like a bit of a chore.
While I’ve been dealing with all this work stuff, various people have been asking me if I’ve watched a certain show, read a certain fic, seen a certain blog post or meme, or heard the latest fandom news. And in all honesty, I don’t feel all that bad about falling behind with stuff.
I’ve made the effort to keep up with just two shows from the Winter 2020 season: ‘My Hero Academia’ because regular tumblr posts mean it’s what everyone’s talking about and it’s just easier to watch the ep after work on Saturday than to try to avoid spoilers, and ‘The Case Files Of Jeweler Richard’ because it is my current obsession and the one thing that brings me true untarnished joy. It’s practically all I’ve posted about on Twitter and Tumblr. The only fandom ‘work’ I’ve achieved this month has been my first fanfiction of 2020 – a three-chapter Seigi/Richard story which I’m actually rather proud of, even though it was eked out in spare moments when I couldn’t sleep or had some down-time at work.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I think fandom is, first and foremost, about having fun. The slogan from the gambling awareness ads applies here: “when the fun stops, stop.” Even though there are shows I started watching but didn’t keep up with, I don’t actually feel all that bad about it. There are plenty of Winter 2020 anime I was enjoying but just haven’t had the energy to keep up with. I genuinely want to get back into ‘Pet’ and ‘Somali and the Forest Spirit’ and ‘Dorohedoro’, but most days, once I got home from work, I couldn’t summon the brain power to pay attention to anything longer than a tweet.
A friend keeps bugging me to finish ‘The Witcher’. I binged the first five episodes in December while pulling an all-nighter to finish a crochet project, then just couldn’t be bothered with the rest.
I started watching ‘October Faction’ and found it reasonably entertaining, but it hasn’t grabbed me enough to make me actively watch the remaining episodes.
I have at least two volumes of manga which have been sitting, unread, on my desk since mid-January, and a novel in my work-bag which I could read on the tram but feels like so much work compared to just pulling out my phone and pulling up a 1500-word fic.
There is a wealth of podcasts I could discover, and new cartoons on Netflix, and new webcomics I’ve bookmarked but haven’t actually read.
And I don’t care.
When fandom feels like work, then it’s time to take a step back. Sometimes we all need a brain-break, and right now is my time.
When I go into work this week, I’ll be working alone, clearing out the stock that remains after the closing-down sale, and taking down the shelves and rails and filing away all the paperwork, and I won’t have to speak to a single customer or volunteer. After a few days of working alone, chances are I’ll be itching to get back into fandom, to hear human voices and share thoughts on episodes and give my brain something challenging again.
But for today, I’m turning off, tuning out, and saying ‘not today, fandom’.
And that’s okay.