The very first time I traveled to see a Duran Duran show was in 2005. I met my friends in Chicago and saw them at the then-named All-State Arena close to O’Hare. Prior to that, the farthest I’d gone to see any band from my house in Orange County, California was probably San Diego, about 50 miles away. So, it has only been for the past eleven years that I’ve traveled to see a band perform.
My two oldest children were eight and six the first time I left them to fly to Chicago. My absence threw the house into an uproar, as it did each time following that trip. I rearranged schedules and passed off parenting and household duties. I’d leave my role of Mom behind and sink back into the comfort of just being myself—a Duranie. In some ways it was a relief to have time to myself, and in others, I always felt like I was misbehaving or shirking my responsibilities. It was a near-constant state of emotional tug-o-war.
Despite the obstacles, I managed to see Duran Duran over thirty times in that eleven-year period. I don’t even know the exact count offhand, because for me—it doesn’t matter much.
As an aside, I’m not great with details. I’m a big picture person. Amanda is the detail person. She takes pride in knowing those things, and I think she must like being able to give exact numbers. I’m not like that, and for a long time I’ve felt inferior to her as a result, for that and a number of other things that don’t matter right now. I’m realizing now that I’m really not inferior. I’m just me…but I digress.
My point is I’ve done a lot in a relatively short period of time. That “measure” comes from nothing but how I feel about myself. There are tons of Duranies who have gone to hundreds of shows and never miss a chance to see them. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about ME.
I’ve definitely missed shows and tours over the years. I don’t ever try to do them all. I pick and choose. I started out doing one or two shows for a tour. It was “reasonable”. Then I went for a couple more. Maybe a long weekend’s worth. Then I traveled to the UK twice in a year, and that’s when I’d say things got out of hand. It was at the same time this blog started to gain an audience, and while leaving my house was difficult, it wasn’t impossible. I took full advantage. It was fun, I got to meet a lot of people. I like seeing people who I recognize in nearly every city. I also knew that at some point, I’d have to stop.
Thinking about the present day, I didn’t have too much of a chance to catch up on social media until yesterday evening. I checked out Twitter and Facebook, seeing that a lot of people commented on their tickets for the National Harbor shows. As expensive as the tickets might be, fans still find a way to go. I know how this is—I’ve done it many times. As one friend said as she lamented on why she caved and bought front row seats, “Seems like everyone is going.”
I’m not. I was one of those “everyone’s” once, though. I remember getting messages, so many times over the years, as Amanda and I would announce what shows we were attending. The verbiage was always similar: people would say they were happy for us, but that there was no way they could pay that much or be gone that long, etc.
In Duranland, there are two basic public responses to those types of messages or comments: one either shows some empathy by saying they’re sorry that so-and-so can’t go, or one shines it on with a full-blown explanation of how it comes down to prioritizing, and that for you it comes down to making the band a priority.
I’ve SAID those words myself and I wish I could go back and slap myself for being such a bitch, excuse my language. Duran Duran is NOT a priority. Food is a priority. Housing, rent, etc is a priority. Your children are priorities. Children with fur are priorities. The band? That is pure entertainment. It is fun, and that is all it is. I said the line, “I work so hard and I deserve the reward” more than once. We all deserve a lot of things, so I need to just shut up. Not everybody gets to reward themselves, am I right?
I work my ass off every single day with homeschooling, being a housewife and all the “glory” that provides, and then working at a school. But when the money isn’t there for rewards, it isn’t there. For example, right now I work that part-time job. You’d think I would be able to use that money as “fun” money. Well, I would like to think that anyway. I was a stay at home mom for years and years, and we made ends meet just fine. This should be extra. Except it’s not. That money – and I mean every last cent of it, goes to pay for my daughter’s housing at school. There’s none left for “fun”. I highly, highly doubt I’m alone there. I should have been a LOT more empathetic with my own thoughts and comments over the years.
Not that long ago, someone called me out here for the amount of shows I’ve done over the years. They said I’d thrown a lot of money into this. Yep, I have. I think the comment was in response to a suggestion I’d made to the band to do a residency, but the sentiment still applies. I have spent a boatload on the band. I don’t regret it. I had my fun, and I made memories that will last a lifetime. But I also recognize and appreciate that not everyone can or should spend that kind of cash. I recognize the need for Duranies to judge one another. It comes down to some sort of competition and it pisses people off to see that others can do more.
I’ll get “real” with you all about doing more. For a long time, I was convinced by the concept of “More”. If I spent more money – if I went to more shows, if I traveled more often, if I got more front row, if I met more people, if I did more VIP parties, if I was more recognizable within the community, I’d somehow BE someone. Those things didn’t make me anything but cash-poor!I don’t know the band any better now than I did before. I’m the same person now that I was before. I’m still shy. I still have a terrible sense of self-worth. I still doubt myself on a daily basis, and I still self-sabotage.
That said, I know more people now. I’ve done a lot of writing, even though neither of the manuscripts I’ve written have been published. I’ve seen things. I’ve experienced things. I think that as a whole, I’ve even learned things. I’ve spoken directly to Simon Le Bon and survived. The blog is recognized by many. Doing more though, didn’t make me any more of a person. I didn’t go from being an unknown wallflower to one of the most popular and well-liked Duranies, for example. (in fact I’d say I’ve gained more than a few enemies as a direct result of this blog and my activities over the years. People don’t always love me and I know it.) Spending more on the band didn’t push me into the inner-circle of well-known fans (to the band). I don’t have a great job, or a burgeoning career as a result of “all I’ve done“? It just made me a ton of memories…and according to my husband, slightly poorer. 🙂 (I laugh because I must – but he is right.)
So I’m not in the crowd of “everyone” anymore. I don’t think I will be for a long while. My exact words on Facebook last night were that I wouldn’t be traveling or attending a show anytime soon unless they are playing in my backyard for free or I’ve won the lottery, and that’s probably true. My two oldest are now nearly 20 and 17. One is in her second year of college and the other is in the middle of application season. I’m just hoping we can pay for school, applications and still be able to afford Christmas, to be honest. Yes, I will miss being at the shows. Yes, I will miss traveling. Yes, I will miss screaming for the band. But I’m learning that doing those things doesn’t make me a fan. They aren’t what makes anyone a fan, or what makes a good manuscript or a great blog. They’re just points along the way.