I Made My Way Back Home

It has been a long week and it seems to me that any week after a Duran weekend is.  I continue to feel just utterly exhausted.  I can’t get enough sleep, it seems.  I’m not sure why it feels worse than every other tour but it does.  Yes, I suppose that part of it is the stress before hand as well as weeks of sleep depravation.  Still, it is bad.  Despite all of that, I’m still reeling a bit from the weekend.  As I’m sure that many of you know, if you have been reading this blog, I have been struggling with my fandom.  I blamed it on many things–my annoyance at my job that has been seeping into everything and anything, the lack of events, the level of responsibility that Rhonda and I took on with this blog, meetups and the conventions.  I was also sick of the subtle game playing and the not-so-subtle attacks from others in the fan community.  I really debated about leaving.  I did.  I will be honest.  As I drove to Chicago, on the way to the convention, I found myself in tears as Union of the Snake played.  It did feel like I might break, that my fandom might break.  This is more complicated than it seems on the surface as part of me really wants to do more and has been pushing Rhonda to accept that challenge.  How is that possible that I wanted to do more but leave at the same time?

Simple.  I felt like we weren’t getting anywhere, that we were spinning our wheels.  Fandom works when people create solid connections and friendships.  I believed that nine years ago and I still believe it just as strongly today.  Yet, I began to wonder if those friendships could combat the negative aspects of being a fan.  Can we fight the stereotypes, especially when it is clear to me that we can’t even really discuss those stereotypes in our own community without people freaking out?  Can we fight the game playing and the constant battle for better position in the unclear, unwritten social status ladder that exists in our fan community?  Our blogs and discussions didn’t seem to help combat these negative aspects.  Our meetups didn’t either.  Then, I also began to wonder if I was strong enough to take the constant insults hurling our way, whether those insults were comments on the blog or negative, dismissive statements behind our backs or whatever.  While I still believe that fandom can be great, I wondered if I/we should stop focusing so much on Duranland.  I was having a hard time seeing any of the positives in our little fan community.  I had one other idea, one other way to try to bring out just the positive aspects that I still hope we try (and I think we will–eventually!).  Yet, part of me wanted to remove myself from Duranland, to admit defeat of sorts.  I would keep my toes in the water, so to speak, but nothing more.  It would be safer, less emotional, less brutal.

Then, this past weekend happened.  I saw people begin to connect with each other.  I saw friendships forming and other friendships growing.  In some cases, these new friendships were from people who had never known or known of each other.  In other cases, they were people who had communicated before but only online.  For those growing friendships, the people involved might have met each other once or twice before.  Perhaps, they had met at a show or some other gathering.  Now, they all have shared experiences, shared good times as well as that instant connection that comes from meeting someone with the same interests, the same passion.  Days later, I see these people connecting more on facebook and twitter.  A new facebook group has been started to keep us all in touch with each other.  To say that I’m thrilled in an understatement.  Goodness, even I, have felt this.  My friendship with Rhonda remains as strong, if not, stronger than ever.  I have gotten to know some friends better and reconnected with others.  I have met others who I am excited to get to know more.  When I think of Duranland, I want to think about all of this.  Friendships.  Fun.  Connections.  Good times.  Will there be another convention after this?  As Rhonda stated, we started something here.  How could we walk away?  How could I walk away?  Would you all let me?

I arrived home, loaded the many boxes of convention materials that I still have and looked around.  I really looked around.  I looked at my home.  I looked at my friendships and my online connections.  How would I really be able to walk away?  It has taken me a long time to create this world for myself and I would be silly to walk away now.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that things are different than they were.  They definitely are.  My fandom isn’t the same that it was back in 2005 or even 2009.  I’m different and that is okay.  I can still have fun and I can still do things like write this blog or plan conventions.  I can be a fandom organizer and a fan.  I can and will.  Do I look at the band in the same way?  No, I don’t, but that is okay, too.  I will carve out times that I can just fangirl out when it comes to the band and I will maintain time for this and planning other events.  At times, those will be separate and, at times, they will be combined, like they were this weekend.  Truly, it is all a win for me.

Speaking of wins, I also am more certain than ever that Rhonda and I need to keep going and even do more.  Another thing this weekend proved (again) is that we work well together.  We blend our strengths and balance each other well.  We can and have accomplished a lot together.  More can and will be accomplished.  Clearly, our future is bright but busy.

-A  

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