Dear Closeted fandomers,
In spring 2015 I decided to start watching Doctor Who after I had been embarrassingly diagnosed with pink eye. Pink eye as an adult is maybe the worst thing; it’s like a visible STD. I had to send emails and texts to everyone I had been in contact with the two days leading up to my diagnosis. After apologizing profusely to my friends and family I placed myself on lock down. I was quarantined to my house or more specifically my bed.
Nothing on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant or Popcorn Time was of any interest to me. I had cracked my iPad mini’s screen so I couldn’t curl with a good book on my Kindle app. I was bored out of my mind; I had nothing to keep myself from wondering "How the hell did I get pink eye?" It was tough, I contemplated actually picking up my phone to call my parents! I was desperate for something to do. Before I pick up my phone to call my parental units, I browsed through Netflix one more time. This time Netflix had a suggestion for me that I didn’t turn my nose up at. The suggestion was Doctor Who. I’m not sure why it was suggested, but it was. I’m also not sure why it appealed to me, but it did.
Being the kind of gal I am, I decided to google Doctor Who so I can get a feel for what I’m about to get myself into. From the moment I get my first results I’m bombarded with information. I’m scared, I’m confused, and I’m lost. I didn’t know where to start. I find out that there have been twelve doctors since the show started in 1963. My first thought is "Nope, I don’t want to watch some old English Sci-Fi show." I almost turn away but my inner voice tells me to shut up, it’s this or listen to my Mother lecture me about my paying my taxes on time. So I move forward with my Doctor Who research. Turns out I don’t have to watch the show starting in 1963 to understand the premise. In fact you could watch the older episodes its on Netflix but it’s not compete and somewhat of a mess. Starting with series one(2005) is the way to go and it just happens to star the great Christopher Eccleston whom I’ve loved since seeing him in the film adaptation of one of my favorite books Jude the Obscure. Fun fact the film also has an appearance from Number 10.
We have a winner! I think I might like this show about a time traveling Alien time lord. Whatever that is. I mean Eccleston is maybe one of the most underrated actors on the planet and I love his work, how can I not love it? So, I settle into bed with all my provisions and hit play.
Here’s some cold hard truths, I hated the beginning. I’m a visual person and a film snob. The cinematography was horrible like really horrible. That almost made me stop watching,yet I kept on chugging along. I had to see the great Eccleston. It took a little over five minutes for him to appear on screen and I haven’t looked back since.
I started on a Sunday and spent the whole day in bed only leaving once to get Chipotle (I wore an eye patch to avoid the look of disgust on peoples faces) I was obsessed with this show. I was obsessed with Rose and The Doctor. I was in love with the BBC and its producers for casting diverse actors not just in speaking roles but in background. Watching certain shows in America would have you think New York is full of only one race of people. I absolutely loved everything about this show! That being said, I kept it to myself. I would tell no one about my new love. In my research I found that Doctor Who had a cult following and I wanted nothing to do with that sort of thing. I wasn’t going to be one of “those” people. I would just watch it until my eye infection cleared up and then I would only watch when I had some free time and that would be that. I was embarrassed by the fandom, the merchandise and endless articles about The Doctor I found online. I thought to myself, "don’t these people have a lives? What dorks!"
Three days later I was still in bed watching Doctor Who and devouring all the theories, crying over Number 9’s departure and Eccleston subsequent refusal to have anything to do with my new favorite show. I couldn’t get enough. I decided to be brave and post a status update on Facebook about my new found obsession. Only three people liked it. Of the three, my friend Elizabeth would became my Doctor Who teacher whether she liked it our not. She responded to my many questions in a way that never told me too much. I wanted to know everything, but she would just say “No Spoilers” I didn’t understand at first but was told it would make sense eventually.
By the beginning of April I had a new gig that would occupy most of my time and I still hadn't started my taxes. Both ended up taking a backseat to my new love Number 10. I was obsessed with Rose, The Cyber Men, Daleks, and Oods. The brilliant David Tennant made me cry,laugh and angry all within one show. At some point people where starting to ask questions. My nights were usually spent watching Doctor Who, or devouring every bit of information I could about the cast, the crew and fan theories.
I decided I needed to come out the Doctor Who closet. I had to tell my people of this awesome show. I was no longer ashamed, I was no longer judging the fandom. I became a member of that fandom. My friend and Doctor Who teacher told me we had a name, and that name Whovian. I’m a Whovian and I’m damn proud of it! I decided to posts a couple things about my new found love. A couple people "liked" them,but mostly it was met with silence. So I posted more and more and found that a couple of friends and family where also Whovian's. I wasn't alone! I didn’t turn my Facebook page into a Doctor Who shrine or anything, but I no longer lied about my evening plans. I searched for and bought the best Tardis iPhone case I could find along with other merchandise. My ringtone is the Tardis whooshing but other then that I quietly settled into my new found community.
I get nods and smiles on BART when I take my phone out, or when my phone rings.One lady actually engaged in a conversation with me about Eccleston’s departure. We had differing opinions but both agreed it’s the best show ever made.
In the time since I discovered Doctor Who, I’ve learned a lot about myself and others. I’ve learned that being a fan of a show is nothing to be embarrassed about; being a member of a fandom is nothing to be embarrassed about. If it brings you joy and happiness and the lets you escape your life for an hour or so each day, so be it. The shows are created for our enjoyment, so why not enjoy them openly and with other like-minded individuals? I've been blessed to virtually meet a couple of pretty awesome Whovian's. All with their own theories, their favorite Doctor and their own reasons for either loving or hating River Song. I messaged and befriended a fellow Whovian who lost her Mom and found comfort in the series when her whole world was falling apart. I became her Doctor Who teacher and I'm consistently telling her "No spoilers".
Being part of a Fandom is an escape. Its a fun, healthy and safe escape from real life and there is no shame in that. Life is hard, work is hard, relationships are hard so many things in this world are hard on us, yet we do them in order to survive. We forget to stop and have fun. We forget to feed our imagination. We forget to step outside of our worlds to experience the unknown. Quite frankly we take adulthood too seriously. Fandom is about embracing your imagination, its about having fun. You know like we did when we're kids. Playing dress up, games, art, stories it's all Fandom and its what keeps you young.
In conclusion, I say if you're in the fandom closet not just the Whovian closet come out into the light. It's beautiful out here!
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