Discussion · Random Happiness

Hiding Myself: The Secret Life of An Asian Pop Culture Fangirl

As many of you know from my bio, which I shamelessly posted years ago, I love anime and Asian pop. I live, breathe and sleep it. It’s been what has consumed me for the past three years, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I have many friends abroad, in the US and across the ocean, countries and continents away. I wouldn’t trade them for the world either.

What inspired me to write this you ask? This. Like her, come middle school and older, I hid myself away from everyone. And when I say ‘myself,’ I mean the parts of me that made me happy. The parts that made me feel whole.

Life As A Fangirl (early years)

When I was really little, my brother and his friends liked “Pokemon” and “Digimon.” I wanted no part of it until I actually watched it one day. And that’s when my love affair with anime began.

There was no one to fangirl about anime with. So “Inuyasha” and “Kekkaishi” were my ‘dirty little secrets.’ Same thing for still watching “Pokemon,” “Sailor Moon,” “Cardcaptor Sakura” and “Digimon.” Studio Ghibli? Forget about it. I couldn’t tell people about that.

The girls in my school were more obsessed about going to parties and being popular rather than what I liked. Sure, I had some friends. Until I started standing up for myself against people bullying me. Then I was pretty much alone. I zone out of real life, only taking time in the real world to study.

I’d stay up all night waiting for “Inuyasha” and “Kekkaishi” to come  on, only to get up early the next day to catch what little I could of “Pokemon” before school. Summer time was for reading my books, not to mention manga, and searching for anime, which sometimes was shown on AMC.

As for video games, FF all the way. I’ve loved “Final Fantasy” since my friend Josh introduced us to it in middle school. From there, there was “Granstream Saga,” in middle school my uncle gave us “Legend of Mana,” and my grandmother gave us “Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.” JRPGs have been and are still my favorite, story line permitting (I’m actually really picky).

I had friends in the 10th grade that loved me for who I was, and I was truly happy there because they didn’t mind my ‘weirdness,’ but then I had to move back to where I was bullied, and it was back to being a loner, for the most part. I had a friend or two here and there, but yeah. Standing up for yourself against bullies doesn’t make you many friends.

*Immature story time: I once brought a manga to school in the 8th grade. It was stolen from me, and I can guess by who (i don’t remember his name, but I know who it was) because there was a naked girl in it. Way to be mature, random jackass. I wasn’t able to replace that volume until middle school! I never brought my manga to school again.

Fagirl Life In College (more recent) 

I was never really a fangirl until college. When I met my friend Emi by chance. I gathered up the courage to play a game show in the AC (activity center) of my college, and won money for naming songs from different genres. At the end, I met her and a group of other people.

Turns out, she and the others were a part of Anime Club, or were friends by other means. I didn’t feel so alone anymore.

She became one of the first K-Pop friends I had in person. We could fangirl about SHINee and HyunA along with anime, like “Howl’s Moving Castle” or video games like “Final Fantasy” and “Kingdom Hearts.”

When I began my journey in K-Pop, back into J-Pop, my female friend and roommate wasn’t too approving of that either. imagine the first time she caught me watching BoA‘s “Amazing Kiss,” asking me what it was.

“J-Pop”

“Can You Understand It?”

“Well, no”

“Then why are you listening to it?”

Pretty much. Though, I shrugged it off. BoA and Asian pop as a whole makes me happy. It did then, and still does.

 

Fangirl Life (today)

Now that I’m out of college, on my own (as far as having friends to fangirl with) with my love of Asian culture, I once again feel alone. I have friends to share this love with, its true. But I also have to hide it.

I have a disapproving roommate. She’ll ask what I’m doing and when I answer honestly, she’ll scoff and ask why I can’t be normal. I’ve known her for years and so I usually shrug it off. But lately, I can’t be myself.

I know I don’t smile as often as I used to. I even lost my boyfriend because of my love of Asian culture. Technically, we started dating and he never contacted me again. But, he DID ask for my Facebook profile, and after I gave it to him, that’s when I never heard from him again.

That’s okay, he was racist anyway and I was trying to figure out a polite way to dump him. He did the work for me. I suppose I should be happy. I just wish the things that made me happy didn’t make people ignore me.

I have begun watching anime again with the relaunch of “Sailor Moon,” and thus began watching K-Dramas again, and began my first Korean reality show, “Roommate.” These shows make me happy. I laugh, I cry, I’m in my own little world.

Sure, I have to hide them to seem ‘normal,’ which leaves me feeling anxious, but I’d rather feel anxious than ashamed of who I am.

I’m going to KCON, and I’m going to meet more people like me. Fangirls who will share my sentiments, friends that I’ll finally meet face to face, and we can squee and fangirl all we want without fearing each other’s judgement.

And Julie from GoBoiano is right. I shouldn’t do things I hate to fit in. I’m going to be happy with myself instead of trying to shove my unique puzzle piece into someone else’s puzzle trying to fit in. I’ll find my own puzzle, and be happy with it.

I hope you guys can do the same. Gonna watch some “Roommate.” See you later!

-Karen

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