I think it’s safe to say that no one was cool as a seventh grader. No one was. Sorry. Most people look back on their twelve-year-old selves, put a hand to their face, and sigh bitterly.
I don’t do that. In fact, I prefer to block that entire model of myself from my memory. Seventh-grade Emily didn’t exist. I went straight from seven-year-old-playing in-the-dirt-Emily to present-day-wow-she-can-dress-herself-Emily.
So…twelve-year-old me doesn’t exist. But if she did, this is what she would have been like.
Seventh grade was the dawning of a new era, one that would produce who I am today. In seventh grade, I discovered the internet and more importantly, the world of fandoms. If you don’t know, “fandom” is the term for the collection of dedicated fans surrounding a movie, TV show, book, actor, game…really anything that has the capacity to give you feels. For instance, I don’t think toast has a fandom, unless there are people out there who are especially passionate about its moral struggles.
My fandom was the Disney Channel show, Kim Possible. I was absolutely obsessed with it, a fact I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live down. These days, I try to play down my obsessions so that when they pass, I won’t have my family and friends constantly reminding me of that one time that I had Kim Possible bed sheets, or the time I went around looking for a full, realistic Kim Possible costume at Disney stores because I didn’t understand cosplays. Or that time I made myself a ninja costume and taught my sisters and friends monkey kung fu… I feel my heart shriveling even as I write.
I played all the Kim Possible games on the Disney site. I collected anything that even hinted at Kim Possible. I bought a Kim Possible bathing suit even though it was clearly designed for someone half my age. But love does strange things to a person’s mind and reasoning capabilities, so I didn’t care.
It was a dark time of nerdiness but in my defense, I didn’t know how to handle all these new feelings I was having. Like I said, it was the beginning of an era. Things happened to characters in that show that were a little darker and a little more complicated than I was used to. Or rather, I noticed those bits more than I used to, and it made me feel things in my heart that I hadn’t felt before, regarding fictional characters. I began to empathize with characters, to understand them, feel their regret and humiliation, their anger, their sorrow, and to see myself in them.
I had always had favorite characters that would then be my make-believe personas of choice, but this was different. I needed to immerse myself in these characters and seeing them on TV wasn’t enough. I began reading fanfiction about them and I found some excellent fics that furthered my “feels.” I started writing about them and drawing pictures like crazy.
I don’t think everyone starts writing by writing fanfiction, but I did. My obsession with Kim Possible opened the door to passion for fictional characters and it left that door wide open. It opened the way to writing fiction of my own.
Without that embarrassing stage, I don’t think I would have become the person I am today: an equally embarrassing dork still obsessing over fictional characters. Ah yes. Maturity achieved.
A/N: When I set out to write about an embarrassing story from my junior high years, this is not the story I meant to tell. I meant to talk about what a hardcore goth/sk8er I
thought I was. Ah well, have this one instead. It’s not like I’m going to run out of them.