The last few days have been tough....
Two side jobs and grading papers. A weekend spent at a conference instead of relaxing. A friend who almost died a couple of days ago (they are better now and might even make a full recovery).
On Monday, I was tired and emotionally drained.
What did I do? I read fanfics – and I’m glad I did. When I feel like this – sad, exhausted, vulnerable – I select very carefully what I read or watch or listen to. Usually, I turn to fan fiction labeled domestic fluff or hurt/comfort. I read crack fics as well. The sillier the better, everything to take my mind off of what’s bothering me for a few seconds. When I sat down to make a few notes in my journal, I realized that I used fanfics in a very strategic way. I think it is something I learned in fandom. I often read that fans write or read fics as a strategy to deal with emotions. I like to think of it as an elaborate and collaborative tool of emotion management.
Of course, reading fics is not the only thing I do when I have to deal with intense emotions, and neither is it for the fans. Sports, music, pets, friends, self-care… However, fan fictions and our interaction with it leads to verbalization, and that’s what I find interesting.
And sometimes, these fics do not only verbalize, sometimes, they remind me of the little things that might help. Although I didn’t get Hannibal’s fancy chicken soup (like Will might get), a fic made me cook a comfort food I’d almost forgotten about.