(Qynka) when I lost my fandom I lost myself

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"Oh wow."

"Yeah. I got so many negative comments. And I just...freaked out. And that's when it got really dark. That's when I started trying to smash my screen."

bingey nods in mystified horror. "Right. So let's watch that clip. Watchers if you're squeamish take a moment because this is so tough to watch."

The images appear and it's Lealualia, with whitish gray hair. Honestly it really doesn't look that good on her. She's crying and screaming and trying, unsuccessfully, to smash her screen to pieces. She bangs it on the floor, nothing, she smashes it with a shoe, nothing, she throws it repeatedly against the wall, nothing. It goes on for minutes and she gets more distressed and freaked out as time passes. That's it, that's the whole thing. She's just sobbing and screaming the whole time. Until some Daddys break her door down and wrestle her to the ground and the screen goes dark.

"OK wow," bingey says. "I guess...wow. I think our screen is so important it's hard to even get into the mindset of trying to destroy it. That's your screen. You need it. Like..what even is that, you know?"

Lealualia nods.

"What do you see now?" bingey asks. "Watching that clip."

"She's a different person. I'm so changed I really feel nothing but sympathy for her. She fucked up. She lost perspective. But in a way I'm happy for her. That's rock bottom right there. Now she's going to learn. About what's real. About what really matters. She's about to start a journey that will take her so far away from where she is, she can't even begin to imagine."

"So where is she now. Where are you now."

"I'm in a place where I'm owning my choices. And so accepting of the fact that there are some choices I'm not able to make on my own. You can't take your fandom for granted. You need to invite them into the conversation, you need to allow them to weigh in on big decisions. Because at the end of the day, the people who support me are affected by the decisions I make, as much as I am. And I'll never take that kind of support for granted, ever again."

"And...your hair is red again! And you look amazing honey. But legally let's be real, shouldn't you be allowed to have your hair be whatever color you want?"

"But it's not even about that, bingey. I've come to understand that it wasn't the hair color my fans were reacting against, it was me not really knowing myself, to the extent they did."

"Wow amazing? But so how do you feel now?"

"I feel like: I understand who I am. Maybe for the first time. This is me, this is who I am. I think my fandom knew it all along and I wasn't ready to listen. But I mean who knows me better, right?"

"Wow. Cute! Amazing. OK watchers you've heard three incredibly compelling stories, now we're voting! Who do you Love? Who do you Hate? Who has truly Recovered?"

Qynka didn't think of herself as having a heart in the traditional sense but fuck if her heart wasn't actually beating in a really annoying way. Was this nervousness? Honestly she had never experienced this before. It was annoying and not super constructive. It was weird that people felt like this all the time, probably. Gross.

But she smiles out at the watchers, looking as confident and poised as possible, yet balancing it with a vulnerability, a humility. Serving a face that says I'm just so thankful to even be here.

Qynka risks a glance over at Lealualia and hopes it doesn't read as concern. Look at her. Her hands are shaking. She has painted herself into the worst corner ever. She's never going to be able to make another decision for herself again. Her fandom will never relinquish this power over her and she's going to be dead within a season. But f*ck if she doesn't have a really compelling narrative.

///

OK now we vote, who's Loved and who's Hated? Is Qynka in trouble? Um yeah probably. Most of the main characters in this book are based on people (models? influencers? randos?) I follow on Instagram or Youtube. Can anyone guess the musically/youtube star who inspired the name Lealualia? 

Next up: we meet Daddy.

PLEASE make my entire day by voting & commenting and letting me know what you think. Thanks so much!

 Thanks so much!

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