As you all are reading the blog today – I’ll be on a short vacation. My husband and I are taking a long weekend for ourselves, sans children, up in Napa Valley. Napa is probably my very favorite place on earth. Yes, I thoroughly enjoy wine and so it’s my own personal version of what Disneyland should really be like, but it’s also a place for my husband and I to dream about what kind of life we’d like to have at some point after he retires and our children are grown (we would love to own our own wine bar), and I can’t help but love the beauty of the area. So, I’m pre-writing this blog for posting while I’m gone, and I’m crossing my fingers that major news doesn’t erupt – because I will be happily sipping wine somewhere in the valley without my cell phone!
Since we started the blog, we’ve had several requests for some of our own personal stories to be posted. I’ll admit that at first, I scoffed at the idea mainly because that wasn’t the real purpose behind the blog. We wanted the blog to be about the news of the day/week/etc and how we see it from a fan perspective. It seemed to be a bit more like gushing to post our own personal stories. That said, from time to time – we’ll go ahead and post what we feel we can share. In the case of me, my stories are far and few in between, really. I’m no different than most other fans – I’ve seen them at concerts, never truly met them in person aside from a signing – and I’ve mostly just heard things from lucky friends who have had much better opportunities!
With that in mind, my first story is about the first time I really had “in real life” experience with the fan community. In 2004, I was a lurker on duranduran.com in the fan forum. Once in a great while I would post, but mostly I read the posts and kept to myself. Another fan had created her own website dedicated to Duran Duran and a message board forum to go with it, and wanted people to check out the functionality of the boards. I felt I had nothing to lose – so I went over to the board. (duranduranfans.com – still in existence today) I liked what I saw, and I especially felt comfortable because at the time it was a small board (in population) and I could post without being ridiculed or judged. As time wore on, I found myself coming to the board more and more often. It was a friendly place and plenty of new people seemed to be posting as time passed. Not long after joining the board, a fellow poster brought up the idea of organizing our own fan convention. I have to say that at the time it seemed like a very daunting task, but I was curious as to how it could be done, and I was excited by the prospect of meeting new people – especially new people who loved Duran Duran. So, I agreed to help out. I’m really not sure how it all got accomplished – I think the person who was in charge (I am omitting names on purpose) put her heart and soul into making sure the convention became a reality and that probably made all of the difference, but we came up with a time, city, venue and plenty of activities to keep people interested.
In the meantime, my home life was slowly unraveling around me. My husband, who is truly not an obsessive fan about anything other than his career, wasn’t thrilled about my sudden interest in a fan community. I suppose that to him, it all happened overnight. One day I was happy to be a mom and housewife, and the next – I was spending all of my “free” time online planning a convention with people I’d never met. There were many “talks” of the time he felt I was wasting online, and it got to the point where I felt my husband was more like a father or a jailer than he was a partner. There was concern that I was pouring money into making the convention happen (which I was not. I never spent one single penny on planning the convention beyond the electricity to run our computer or the internet connection), and even more concern that I had virtually NO idea with whom I was trading posts with online. The discussions we had regarding the convention, the fan community, and my involvement went on for many months (years) beyond the convention….and remained a bone of contention for quite some time.
You would think (and really, you really would think!!) that the tension at home with my husband would have made me pause and reconsider my involvement. At what point does it all become “not worth it”? I suppose that for me, it has come very close many times. The truth is, I needed to plan that convention. When my husband and I first married, within months we were moving to Chicago – and certainly not by my choice. I think from then on, I felt as though my life were not completely my own. Then when we became pregnant with our oldest and it was agreed that I would give up my job to stay at home with her (which at the time was the soundest decision that could have been made given the time requirements of my job at the time), I think I felt like I’d completely lost my own will, my own purpose. For anyone who has been a mom before of a human child (as opposed to puppies, kitties, etc.) – they are pretty darn demanding. It no longer matters whether YOU are sick, or YOU are tired – it’s all about the baby. My goodness, you even lose your own name when you have a child – instead of being called the name you’ve had since birth, you’re suddenly given the generic name of “mom”. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is beautiful, and the bond between a mom and child is something that can be truly amazing. That said, there are real tradeoffs with becoming a mom, and it’s part of my story. Between a baby and a husband who travels constantly for work, it became very clear that my purpose was to handle the house and the child. I know I could have gone back to work – but I also know that it would have been a nightmare. So my career became being a mom, and somewhere along the line I forgot all about Rhonda and who she was. Planning the convention was a step in the direction of finding that self I’d left behind.
….to be continued…