I'm asking this out of curiosity, how can you just let go of a ship like captain swan? you were a hardcore captain swan shipper and you were part of their journey from the very beginning and now you barely care about them if at all. it's just I don't know i thought you were staying till the end & would even have a hard time saying goodbye to them after the show ends. sorry if this came off as rude I'm totally just curious just cuz you were so invested for years now you don't care anymore
Well, honestly, I have discussed this subject before, and tried to be straight about it, and I’m sure you didn’t mean to be rude and are genuinely curious. Still, though, it’s a bit discouraging?
I’m still here. I’m still active on tumblr, I still reblog CS gifs fairly regularly, and I know what’s going on in the show, and I’m looking forward to the wedding. I’ve made several long posts on my process of stepping back from the show and why that happened. It’s certainly not that I just “let go” overnight. It’s been going on for almost a year, and it has not in the least been easy for me. CS got me back into fandom after a long time away. I don’t need to prove my bona fides as a shipper to anyone; I’ve shipped them since 2012, been on tumblr for them and an incredibly active and prolific fandom member since 2013, written multiple novel-length fics and countless drabbles for them (and am still working on TDH, which is my second-longest project EVER behind The North Remembers), answered thousands of questions, written just as many specs and metas and spoiler and roundup posts, went to my first ever con (way out of my comfort zone!) to meet Colin, and still have many dear friends who have changed my life. I don’t ever regret any of the time I did spend on them. I have loved them for a long time and I still care. I just am engaging with it differently, and I have had to do that for several reasons.
As noted, I was super invested during season 5. SUPER. It got to the place where I was thinking about it almost every waking moment, even as I was trying to adjust to a new city and country and degree study and the ups and downs that came with that. My mood was totally dictated by spoilers or theories or how people were reacting to them or how I was going to have to hold things together during an angsty time with all the people I had to comfort/talk through the pain of the Dark Ones/Underworld arc. It took a lot out of me, to be honest. I couldn’t even enjoy the show quite the same way because I was so dependent on it all working out and the effect this had on my ability to deal with things. I’ve always been honest about my years and years of anxiety and depression and what I’ve had to do with that, and the show was something for me to focus on and to try to get me out of my head (again, during an otherwise stressful year). Honestly, that level of addiction/dependence isn’t healthy for anything, especially what is, at the end of the day, just a TV show. The s5 finale burned me the hell out after all that pain with pretty much nothing to show for it, and I struggled over the summer with the thought that I was finally having to withdraw from it in bits and pieces. I watched 6x01, but… nope. That pretty much put the lid on it that I wasn’t prepared to go back at the same level again, and probably wouldn’t be.
As noted, and as anyone who has read my fics can attest, I have no problem with angst. I love angst, even long-term and complex angst. I love serious and dark and morally challenging stories, they are some of my favorites. But as I have also said, I do have a problem when that angst results, to my view, in no measurable story progress and the endless repetition of long-played-out character arcs. I just watched CS struggle to be together for all of season 5. I don’t want to watch more of Emma Has Walls or Killian Keeps Secrets Because He’s Guilty or Oh Look, They’re Separated and Will Die. It’s just… not interesting to me. So I still love them as a ship, but I’ve almost completely disengaged from wanting or expecting canon to provide any kind of satisfying or well-thought-through fulfillment for them. I’ve written tons and tons of fics (and novels). I write all the time. I analyze things for a living. I am an English tutor and a history teacher. I’m a storyteller. I have spent a long time with these characters and coming up with and thinking through what I want to see for them. That doesn’t mean I’m Better ™ than the writers, but it also means that any effort I put in feels like way more than they are, and that’s not a fun or stimulating way to engage with a fandom.
I don’t do hate-watching, and I certainly am not about to rain on the parade of people who do still love it as much as ever (which as I have said many times, I am happy for them). So it’s just better to focus on things that I DO actively enjoy and which I find rewarding and engaging. This year has been incredibly tough for me since about last November and the Orange Nazi’s election (and before that, really). I don’t need to put my limited and valuable free time into things that are just going to drain me or make me annoyed more than I already am. Fandom, once again and though it sometimes can be anything but, is supposed to be fun. And I am trying to space out my interests and have several different places to turn to for inspiration, rather than putting all my eggs in one basket. As noted, it’s just not healthy, and I have to take care with that.
As also noted, I was truly happy about the CS engagement and I will watch their wedding and probably reblog a lot of gifs from it. But I can look at said gifs and enjoy their cute moments and feel as if I’m getting what I need to, rather than having to slog through all of season 6. And honestly, if OUAT is losing people like me – a super, SUPER dedicated fan with years of investment and high-level commitment and fandom participation and creation – it doesn’t take too much guesswork to see that it’s probably losing regular viewers like crazy as well, and that’s why the ratings have taken a nosedive. I know I’m not alone, because I know a lot of fellow fandom people who just can’t muster up the same level of investment, and we’ve all paid our dues. We don’t have to “prove” anything or get caught in the inevitable “Who’s a Real/Better Fan” drama that just makes the whole cycle even more draining. We’re just engaging how we choose to, over a fictional narrative that has meant a ton to us, but has also changed, and we have as well.
So yeah. I still care. I am still a fan. But I think it’s important to remember, as always, that fandom is a FICTIONAL space, and that the people who engage in it are real, with all the hangups and changes of interest and needs and triggers and emotional reasons that go along with that, and we only interact with each other on a very limited basis through tumblr, which is obviously not face to face and where we curate the content we want to post/focus/present. It’s not objective, and it’s fun and amazing and collaborative, but it can also provide a somewhat limited perspective of who people are, what they’re doing, and why they decide to move on from something. So yeah, that’s where I am.