Got To Do the Things the Way I Do

I’m giving you the news

This past weekend, my husband and I went out with a couple from our neighborhood. Like us, they moved in last winter, and have been acclimating themselves to the area. Unlike us, they don’t have children, and they still commute to the Bay Area (San Jose, which is about 2 and a half hours from here) during the week for work. Their home in Atascadero serves as their weekend home, and eventually they’ll live here full time. We went to a local wine bar in our tiny little downtown area, which was nice. While we were there, we talked about nearly everything under the sun, including this website, blog, and the writing project Amanda and I are working on.

For me, these little outings tend to make me feel just the smallest bit like a fish out of water. Most of the time, I’m the only one who doesn’t work, and so I don’t have a lot to add to conversation about high tech jobs, marketing, or engineering. On this night though, I had the opportunity to explain what I do with my days. Tentatively, I tried to give a basic overview of Daily Duranie, without raising the “oh my gosh, you’re a crazy fan” alarm bells.

I’ve got a right to say

I have decided it is nearly impossible to explain a fan blog. I mean, once I start in with “Well, I write a daily blog about being a Duran Duran fan…” and before I’ve finished, they’re already looking at me with an amused expression. I find that from there, the more I try to explain, the more stuck they are on the fact that I’m still a fan “at this age”.

Personally, I think it’s sad that more people our age aren’t big fans of something. On this night though, I dive in headfirst, no thinking it through before the words flow. I explain that I write this blog, and have done so for nine years. Then I say we’ve written several manuscripts that remain unpublished, but that we’re working on something new that really excites me.

To my shock, both want to know what I’m writing, and how it is working with a co-author long distance. Normally it’s at this point that my voice trails off, because is obvious that I’ve either lost their attention, or they’re going to quiz me about how big of a Duran Duran fan I really am. Invariably, it is also at this point when my husband speaks up, talking about his huge record collection. In some ways, I think he does it to try and cover for me, and in other ways, I know he believes the blog to be a waste of time. He might be right, but it has kept me sane for nine years, so I’m not sure I’d call it a total waste. Regardless, I’m pleasantly surprised. I almost never get this far! I realize that I have to explain what we’re studying in fuller detail.

If you know what it’s all about

I think it may have helped that this couple, or at least the male, grew up in Germany. He has an appreciation for Duran Duran and other bands of that era that is wildly unlike anything I’ve dealt with from men here. (unless of course you are a male Duranie – the “unicorn” of our species!) It was refreshing to be able to show excitement for what I’m working on without worrying about how the information was being received – it was obvious he had no preconceived notions about female fans.

I came away from the evening feeling very good about our project, and even about being a fan of Duran Duran, which was nice for a change. Normally – unless I’m surrounded by Duranies, like I was in Vegas, it isn’t even worth discussing my writing. Either my work is totally discounted because I haven’t been published (therefore it is obviously a waste of time) or I’m having to argue my points with someone who doesn’t quite get it.

It isn’t often when I feel satisfied, or validated in the same way I do when I’m with my friends, like a couple of weeks ago in Vegas. I fully appreciate when I’m explaining something I’m working on to people who genuinely understand, and even find value within what we’re doing. The word is probably “encouraging”. There’s joy in that for me, too. The idea that I can be myself – not having to hide part of who I am, or what I do, is so freeing. At home, my time is split between being “mom” and being “wife”. There isn’t a lot left over for me. Not many people understand that. For me, I have to find the time to fit in a blog, or to take notes on a paper, or even write. It’s not just about Duran Duran, either.

Always trying to control me

I’ve been trying to find a week so that I can start going to practice for the community band, something that has proven to be an exercise in futility at best. Either one of the cars is down for the count, thereby relegating me to the role of “chauffeur”, making my driving schedule impossible; or, like this past week – my trusty clarinet needs at least two pads replaced before I can really play. Naturally, these issues are temporary. I keep telling myself that if I really want to put myself out there and join this group, I have to just push through and do it. It reminds me of when I was young and my parents were trying to go back to school. In both cases they gave up because the hurdles were just too numerous, and too high to conquer. I refuse to be beaten, though. Not this time. This is one thing I desperately need, and I’m doing it.

If there is one thing about being a fan as an adult has taught me, is that it’s not easy. When you’re young – there always seems to be time. It isn’t hard to sit down and listen to an album or thumb through a magazine. As we get older though, free time is difficult to come by. The ability to go to concerts might be easier, but the logistics make it tougher. I find that I have to really want it in order to make it happen. The same holds true for writing, and even for things like the community band, too. I have to want it at least twice as much as I did when I was young.

I’ll put it this way, as alarming as it might seem: I need this. There are times when I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of quicksand. The only way to get unstuck, is to follow my heart, even if it takes forever to get there. For me, that includes (but is not limited to) writing this project, and playing in the band. Those two things are on the life raft at the moment, and I’m not going to give in and let go.

-R

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