So how do you know if you're slowly being sucked into the vortex that is fangirling? Maybe these stages will sound familiar to you.
Or book, or movie, or a particular actor. Doesn't really matter. Point is, it all started with that one thing that really caught your attention. It could've been a catchy line from a tune, or maybe your friend just showed you a picture of a really hot guy and you just had to find out all about his life via the Internet. No matter how simple that one thing may have been, you'll know in the next few stages that it certainly was life-changing. You decide whether that change was a good thing or a bad thing.
This is essentially where your status as a fan begins. This is also the time when you magically transform into a professional stalker. Fine, not necessarily a stalker. Maybe "skilled researcher" would sound less creepy. You find yourself taking a significant amount of time out of your day to look up videos of this new band you've discovered. You've got all their middle names and birthdays memorized. You feel this sort of overprotective-parent vibe over your idols, and it takes every fiber of your being not to punch someone in the face when someone disses your fandom.
Maybe you've been flipping cushions in hopes to find some money just so you could buy the next book in the series. It is usually at this point where you start to spend your already lacking allowance or savings to buy merchandise of that thing you love more than you love yourself. A lot of concerts, album launches, fan events, not to mention crying over shipping fees that are more expensive than that thing you're buying online - happening in this stage. Anyone who has ever been a fan of anything would know that the struggle does not end here. Not only will your wallet suffer, but so will your emotional capacity. Basically, this third stage is just one big "I love this so much, it hurts" moment. It can get petty and unreasonable at times. Really, it's all just taking over your life.
If you're lucky, you'll get past all the small-minded and superficial mentalities of a fan who's just starting out. No more starting of unnecessary fandom drama or Twitter wars, no more hysterical crying due to post-concert depression. If you start to think, "Wow, I was hella annoying back then," looking back, you'll see that maybe you were in it for the wrong reasons. As a survivor of the battle, you are now a mature fan.
Despite the "obsessive, lonely teenagers with no lives" stereotype usually coupled with the terms fangirl and fanboy, there really is something more substantial behind it. Past the desperation and ugly crying that others see on the surface, it's really just about aggressively appreciating what you love and the fact that no one can ever take that away from you.
Photo sources: Cover | 1 | 2 | (Last two photos grabbed from Tumblr)