Normally, lyric day takes place on Fridays. This week, though, it is happening on Saturday. Why? I couldn’t write Simon’s birthday blog on any day but his birthday. I had to write about Simon’s birthday yesterday. I had to. Therefore, I chose to do lyric day today. As always, I hit shuffle and the first Duran related song that popped up was John’s song, Feelings Are Good. Normally, I would take a look at the lyrics and focus in on one specific line. This time, though, I’m going to address the chorus and title: Feelings are good.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with emotions. As a kid, I was pretty emotional. This led to a lot of grief in my world. Other kids saw that I was sensitive, emotional and used that against me. Many kids thought there was nothing funnier than making me upset by pushing a button or two. My older siblings probably needled me a bit, too. Initially, this didn’t stop me from being emotional. Often, these interactions would get me more upset, which only encouraged other kids to do more of the same. At the same time, I heard from a lot of adults that I needed to learn to control my emotions. The message was clear. I was smart but if I wanted others to take me seriously, I had to keep my emotions in check. In that case, these adults were offering me good advice, in many ways, even if I couldn’t quite grasp what they were suggesting.
As I got older, I began to do exactly what the adults thought I should do. I got my emotions under control. Then, I started teaching. Truly, being a teacher means hiding a lot and putting on a mask in front of students. I cannot necessarily show the kids how I feel about a huge list of issues. The me I show them is professional and positive. It appears as if I have it all together when that is usually as far from the truth as possible. Basically, teaching is like being an actor, to some extent. Some might think this means that I’m not genuine but it is really about putting my students’ needs above mine. When I first started teaching, I wasn’t very good at this. I still didn’t really know how to hide my feelings and there were many days in which I found myself in various offices crying for a variety of reasons. In the last five years, I can count the number of times I have cried at work on one hand. Now, I have gotten very good at this skill.
Some people might say that I have become too good at it and that this hurts me. People cannot get to know me in the same way because I appear closed off. I seem less human then. The funny part is that the emotional child still lives inside of me. I still feel a lot. My heart is squeezed frequently for all sorts of reasons and I do wish that people understood that about me. Just because I don’t show a lot about what I’m feeling now doesn’t mean that I’m not feeling something within.
You might be wondering why I am telling you all this and how this relates to fandom. Let me explain. Fandom is the one thing that allows the mask to slide down. It allows me to feel all that I can. On top of that, fandom makes me feel so much that I don’t hide my emotions as much as I can in the rest of my life. I just can’t. It is also the area in which I don’t let myself think too much. I’m more spontaneous. I have heard from a number of people over the years that Rhonda and I are pretty enthusiastic at a Duran show. I think that is true. It is the one area that I don’t feel like I have to hide or carry myself in a ultra professional way. No, concerts are about feeling and showing those feelings. They create passions and excitement that cannot be hidden easily. Goodness know that I have tried to hide some of enthusiasm but fail each and every time.
Now, as someone who feels like I have to present myself in a certain way at work, I appreciate fandom more. I like that it makes me feel so much that I cannot hide it. I don’t want to hide it. I like that it makes me feel so much joy and happiness that it is like my heart will burst. I appreciate that I cannot hide how much I like Duran Duran. In many ways, fandom gives me an emotional freedom that I long for, that I need.
As I have tried to balance the profession teacher persona with the enthusiastic, over-the-top fan, I have learned that feelings can be good and that there are times when it is important to hide emotions but there are times that all those feelings must come out.