defenders membership

I entered the society of the craft at the age of fourteen, as an apprentice; I was forced by circumstance and driven by ingenuity to find it out for myself, as at the time it was extremely secretive and well out of the public eye.

  I spent the years between fourteen and eighteen training in my craft under elders who encouraged my explorations and taught me not merely to participate in the society’s activities but also to understand them, engage fully as a critic of them, and defend its membership from assault internal and external. I eventually attended a university recommended to me by an older member who had previously attended and who helped me apply. Afterward, I returned to the society and continued my studies for many years, forming strong bonds with fellow members and eventually mentoring younger members myself.

The society has helped me to find housing, employment, and rare experiences that have contributed to my education and aesthetic. I have had many opportunities to pass on my experiences and help to open membership to a wider community than I could have dreamed would find us twenty years previous.

My education in the human experience and the majority of my knowledge of the continuity of culture comes from time spent within the society since I was inducted as a young person. My interests within the organization have varied through the years, but never my dedication to it or my efforts to improve its reach and the quality of its membership.
— 

If fandom were described the way an 18th century secret society was described.

As close as I can reckon, today is my 22nd anniversary in fandom, dated from the first time I logged onto alt.tv.x-files.creative in 1995.