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Fangirl: the part of my identity I’ll never lose interest in

A red Gryffindor shirt displaying my house pride. Black combat boots to twin with Tris Prior from “Divergent.” The “Blurryface” album by Twenty One Pilots blaring in my wired headphones. A galaxy backpack with straps covered in button pins, proudly enlightening passers-by of all my favorite things.

That’s how I presented myself in middle school. And if you had stopped me in the hallway and asked which backpack pin defined who I was, I would have answered with “The ‘fangirl’ pin,” which embarrassingly read:


(fan, gɘrl) noun. Slang.

One who is obsessed with a fictional character, celebrity or band. Fangirls are usually mistaken for stalkers. Some fangirls create cults and fanlistings.

See also: groupie.”

Was I a stalker in middle school? Absolutely not. Was I an active member of a “cult” of teenage girls who were a little too obsessive? No, because I didn’t have many friends who acted like me.

Being a fangirl was a massive part of my identity for those pivotal three years of middle school. I read fanfiction, had my OTPs (one true pairing) and made headcanons about different characters.

Fangirl culture influenced how I interacted with my interests, from the books I read to the movies I watched and even the music I listened to. A conversation couldn’t last five minutes before I referenced a “Marvel” movie or called someone who irritated me a “muggle.”

I couldn’t just have a silly little crush on a fictional character, I had to download tons of photos of Neville Longbottom from “Harry Potter” and Captain America from the “Marvel” franchise to my camera roll.

I couldn’t just have a favorite character, I had to model my personality around Hermione Granger and convince myself I was the modern-day equivalent.

I was nothing if I wasn’t a fangirl.

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Am I embarrassed to admit some of this? Without a doubt. But am I ashamed of who I was? Absolutely not.

Yes, I have changed tremendously since middle school. But, at the same time, it feels like I haven’t. I still immerse myself in the things I love, even if they’ve changed. I’m still giddy with excitement when talking about something I love or jumping around when an artist I like releases new music. I still find myself creating characters and inserting myself into fantasy worlds.

I have abandoned some old habits. But the tendencies are still the foundation. I no longer have tons of photos of fictional crushes saved to my camera roll. But I do blush a little when a character I think is cute appears on screen.

Gone are the hours dedicated to reading fanfiction or looking at “fandom” memes on Pinterest. But I now research everything about my interests and actively recommend them to my friends. I can’t guess the Twenty One Pilots song from just the first few notes anymore, but I can recognize the Taylor Swift song in just a few seconds.

And maybe I still ramble unprompted about my current obsessions, but I have incredible friends who want to listen.

I think middle school me would be sad to see I’m not bursting with anticipation for the new Twenty One Pilots album, or that I’m not halfway through another re-read of “Harry Potter.”

But that little girl from middle school is still with me. And when I look in the mirror, there’s one thing I’ll always be about to say to myself.

“Yer a fangirl, Taylor.”

Taylor Powers is a first-year double majoring in journalism and media and communication from Trenton, Ohio. She is a staff writer for The Student and an assistant editor for The Miami Student Magazine.