it’s complicated

July 5, 2016- I can’t seem to quit Richard. I guess I’ll label my fangirl status as ‘it’s complicated’ and just take what comes. you know, when I first heard his words describing love in that Audible interview, I felt bad for him. I thought, what kind of stressful relationships has this man been in to make him think of love in this way? but now I kind of get it. it does a good job describing the push & pull I’ve often felt this past year in regards to him.

 

I’ve stated previously that I’ve crushed on other actors before Richard Armitage. in most cases, my fangirl feelings started to slowly fade and ended up transferring onto another actor, without too many bumps along the way. Leonardo DiCaprio stepped aside for Ewan McGregor, who stepped aside for Christian Bale, who stepped aside for Robert Pattinson. after Rob though, I actually went looking for a different crush, it didn’t just happen. I was looking for something specific and I found that in Richard. before long, Jamie Dornan showed up and has been running parallel to Richard, but Richard deviated from the pattern because no one stepped aside for him; there was already a void that needing filling when I found him. I’m sure that has some bearing on why I’ve dug my heels in this time, why I’ve not transitioned from my crush on him into one entirely on someone else. I don’t understand the ‘why’ of it yet, though.

Yours in Armitage,

Kelly

some are assuming I’m going to leave Richard behind

July 29, 2015- I know some are assuming I’m going to leave Richard behind and chase Jamie Dornan instead, but I’m not going to throw myself into another obsession like that (fandom, blog, etc.) I just don’t have the energy!

 

Being part of a fandom does take energy, whether you’re creating and posting or following and commenting, but all of that interaction can be extremely beneficial as well. it can also be tiring at times, frustrating, a responsibility that I don’t always want to deal with, especially if I lose track of Richard in the process. that may sound odd, how can Richard get lost within his own fandom? it literally revolves around him! but sometimes it becomes more about fan interaction than the object of our affection. that’s not always a bad thing, many fans say that’s a plus for them, they came here for Richard but stay for the fans. it’s a heartwarming thought but it’s not true for me. I enjoy the fans, but I need Richard; he’s why I’m here.

I’ve been involved in three different fandoms in my time online as a fangirl. each experience has been unique, but not, at the same time. overall there have been more pros than cons, but they all shared a risk: the more I know about the crush, the higher my expectations rise. my quest to acquire insight into what makes them tick and how that influences their acting, creating a depth that continually draws me to them, can sometimes backfire into raising my expectations to unattainable levels; my pedestals are complex. so with Jamie Dornan, I decided to adjust my approach. I switched from ‘too much’ to ‘just enough’ instead. know just enough about him to draw me in, just enough to keep me interested, just enough to touch me in a meaningful way.

I’m not part of the Jamie Dornan fandom. I follow a few fan accounts on Twitter but no blogs, forums, or fan groups. my interaction with the fandom is zero. the Twitter accounts keep me updated on current happenings, but I mostly follow them for the random pictures and quotes that they post. I find it freeing. this way, I never lose track of Jamie, he’s right where I expect him to be. this has carried over into my side interests as well, those ‘for the moment’ actors that I’m curious about and follow for awhile. I feel an even less need to know about their personal lives/background than I did before. a quick run down of their career and a general feel for their off screen personality is usually all it takes to satisfy me these days. I’m done with the extensive biographies, the unabridged list of interviews and appearances, the clothing portfolios. I like not knowing. I like being surprised.

I’m not joining another fandom, I like this one. I’m not trading Richard Armitage for Jamie Dornan, I’m keeping them both. my need for absolutes is changing. I’m giving myself permission to just like what I like. it sounds simple but for me, it’s a big step.

Yours in Armitage,

Kelly

he doesn’t need my protection

February 17, 2014- admittedly I am protective of Richard, it’s just in my nature and I don’t want to ignore that part of me. he doesn’t need my protection but *I* need to protect him.

Richard Armitage doesn’t need my protection. he doesn’t need me to defend him when others say negative things about him. he doesn’t need me to give background about why he may do or say the things that he does. he doesn’t need it but I need it. at least, I used to. I didn’t want people who didn’t ‘know’ him as well as I did to misunderstand, to judge him unfairly, whether that be in regards to his acting career or his off screen personality. I thought I was setting the record straight. after awhile I realized that the type of negative comments that seemed to be setting me off had to do with my own insecurities, things that I felt Richard and I had in common. makes sense. once I came to terms with that, it became easier to let those types of criticisms slide. but that knee-jerk feeling to defend didn’t go away completely, it was still there, I just chose not to act upon it. then came a slightly different realization: it wasn’t about him (not really), and it wasn’t about me (per se), it was really about fangirling.

in the ‘protection’ scuffles I’ve sometimes found myself in when fangirling, there are generally two sides: those who want to protect the actor from objectification, and those who want to protect their right to objectify. side number one wants to justify their actions by stressing that it’s about the story, the acting, the social themes, etc. it’s not because of the attraction to the actor, it’s so much more than that. side number two wants to admire the natural physical form of the actor, drown in his charisma, revel in his virtual pheromones at face value (pun intended). when either side starts insulting the other, forcing them to conform, that’s when drama ensues. when I remove all the specifics of these incidents, I realized it was about justifying the act of fangirling itself; defending why it should be acceptable to do the things that I do in regards to the ‘object of my affection’. what I’m really saying is: I’m not silly or adolescent for doing what I do, for giving it such a big space in my life. I’m a grown up and this is a grown up thing. but no matter how I choose to justify it, it’s never going to be true until I believe it myself.

recently RA fandom friend, Guylty, made me a nifty zippered bag from custom designed fabric in exchange for a trade she and I had agreed upon. it was sitting on the coffee table yesterday evening when my husband randomly asked “what’s gnothi seauton mean?” I answered, “it’s Greek. it means know thy self“. he scrunched his brows together for a moment and then said, “oh. I thought it might be Irish, since your friend is from Ireland.” at this point I could have played it off, but why? he knows all about my Richard Armitage fascination, though he often scoffs at it. he knows the bag was made by a RA fandom friend. if I want to be taken seriously, like a grown up, then I need to quit acting like a child who was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. so I answered, “it’s from MI-5. Lucas North had it as a tattoo.” I see the scoff coming but before it does I explain, “they’re all fan symbols. see? the key is for Thorin, the scorpion for the Strike Back guy. they’re all related to characters.” husband’s head tilts to the side. I confidently continue,” she designed the fabric herself, and sent it away to be printed.” he gives the bag a closer look and then remarks “huh. that’s cool.” yeah, it is.

Yours in Armitage,

Kelly

what I’ve learned so far

64d7dc6c-8560-46c4-8ea0-1f7c16d81d62I’ve now reached the end of the excerpts from 2013 and can confidently say that this introspection has already helped me. I plan on doing another handful of posts to cover the years 2014-2017 and then after that, this little experiment will be finished. when I set out upon this venture, I was hoping that the process of reading back through my fangirl related correspondence would help me get a clearer picture of not only the issues I seemed to be struggling with concerning Richard Armitage, but also my history with the fangirling hobby in general. as I finished writing each post and replied to comments, I then wrote a short summary of thoughts about what issue was covered, what may have caused it in relation to past experiences, and then how it relates to me. what follows is what I’ve learned so far.

 

subject: Calm

conclusion: fangirling calms me, it’s why I do it. building a framework of ‘things to know’ about the person: film work, popular interviews, basic biography information, etc. and then creating a routine within those boundaries. “routine” being what I do each day that involves the crush: checking Twitter for news/celebration of them, certain Tumblrs/blogs/forums, and just seeing them in some form every time I turn on my computer.

pattern: following a crush is an escape for me. I’m in it for the positive benefits

 

subject: Hollywood

conclusion: I am cynical towards ‘making it big in Hollywood’ because of things that have happened to past crushes. Robert Pattinson was constantly on display in the media; Christian Bale was used for his fame by his Personal Assistant and family members; the hate from fans that is directed towards Jamie Dornan’s wife and the spouses of other actors who are part of a popular fan ‘ship’; and how all of them have had to ‘play the game’ in order to remain relevant enough to pursue what interests them.

pattern: my crush must not fully give in to popularity/marketing. he must always stay a step removed

 

subject: Romantic Relationship

conclusion: most of my past crushes have been married and seemed to have a good relationship with their spouse. I enjoy watching them hold hands and talk about the support they receive from one another; it enhances my own relationship from seeing it.

pattern: I prefer my crush to be in a relationship that I can celebrate. this also helps guard against me imagining myself in that role

 

subject: Disappointment

conclusion: I have an ‘all or nothing’ issue in regards to thinking I have to find personal meaning in every project the crush does. if I don’t, it’s a let down, and I automatically start wondering if he’s really the one for me after all.

pattern: I must feel at ease with most everything related to my crush in order to keep the fangirl high optimal

 

subject: Traits

conclusion: I prefer a balance of traits that are like me vs traits that I’m not familiar with. if the scale tips too far in one direction, I will stack it in order to achieve my preferred ratio. this can result in an unfair perception of who the person really is.

pattern: I inadvertently shape the crush into who I want/need him to be

 

subject: Television Role

conclusion: creates more time with my crush, strengthening the parasocial friendship as he takes me through the storytelling process.

pattern: crush becomes a ‘guide’ to help me through what I’m supposed to learn

 

subject: Sharing Opinions

conclusion: fan reaction (‘object of affection’ opinions included) greatly influences my feelings. when a majority of opinion is established, it can result in pushing my opinion into that majority or it can cause me to fight against the majority instead. either instance leaves me feeling restless because I know, on some level, that the opinion is not inherently my own.

pattern: the opinions of others color my experience. the risk is that it might end up ‘ruining a good thing’

 

*~*~*

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I liked seeing him speak out about his opinions

64d7dc6c-8560-46c4-8ea0-1f7c16d81d62November 17, 2013- [New York Moves article] I can’t say I agree with everything he said, but I liked seeing him speak out about his opinions. the way he fondly described New York City as a place where you can freely debate, says to me that he likes to have the kind of conversations where you can exchange ideas.

Three years ago I found it exciting that Richard Armitage chose to publicly share some of his political opinions in New York Moves magazine. he always seemed like someone who didn’t want to rock the boat, went out of his way not to alienate anyone in any way, and so kept most of his opinions (trivial or otherwise) to himself. I didn’t agree with the particular opinions he expressed in the interview but his thoughts about the subjects made sense to me from what I knew of his background and personality; it didn’t shock me. I also thought that how he chose to express those feelings, the venue he did so in, was appropriate. so all in all, the interview didn’t bother me.

Oh, what a difference three years makes! when Richard shares similar opinions now, it has the opposite effect on me. one difference is timing. back then, it was just a random instance of someone I admired sharing his opinion on political issues. now, it’s jumbled together with everyone making sure their political opinions are known. another difference is the platform. a magazine interview gives you space to better word your thoughts, Twitter does not. while differences in political opinion do change the shape of my bonding experience, it generally doesn’t make a huge impact. I think what bothered me in regards to Richard sharing his political opinions on Twitter is that it seemed to be a reflex reaction, it wasn’t as thought out and polished as I was used to seeing from him. his initial tweets regarding Brexit felt rather condescending to me. I don’t want to get into the actual politics of these matters but that specific instance did make an impact this time. seemingly out of the blue, Richard inadvertently placed himself within the ‘elite’ inside my mind. realistically, I will never be seated at a table discussing in depth subjects with him, let alone politics, but it did beg the question: would he be the kind of person I want to be around if I did find myself sitting next to him at a dinner party? the New York Moves article made me think that I would enjoy being seated next to him because he’s the type of person who would want to trade ideas, but those tweets on Twitter didn’t uphold that impression for me.

Where I’m at now: I’m trying to remind myself of how I felt three years ago when I saw Richard share his personal opinion on something for the first time. I’m trying to forget that the subject just happens to be politics, which I am so burnt out on at the moment. fandom has always been an escape for me but many of my contacts online have been sucked into the political vortex now, when they never mentioned anything political before. and really, that’s the crux of the matter: atmosphere. something that I learned while going through my old correspondence in order to find theb3iqwj5icaaangr excerpts for these posts is that other fans and their opinions/behaviors have influenced a lot of my struggles. how they felt about each other, how they felt about Richard, how they felt about how others felt about Richard…it was a cesspool of negativity; exactly like the current social media atmosphere.

I need to stick with what I feel within myself, what my gut tells me to be true. that Richard is still the same kind, passionate, slightly awkward man that took over my senses 3 years ago. I need to remind myself that this is about him and me. it was never meant to be about ‘them’.

Yours in Armitage,

Kelly