Lessons Learned: 8 Years of (In)Sanity

Yesterday, this blog turned eight!  While some might not think that is a big deal but it is huge to Rhonda and myself.  When I think back to when we started this, I figured that we might write for a year, maybe two, if we were really committed.  Honestly, I believed that it would help us in our writing projects.  It might shed light on Duranies or even Duran Duran, I assumed.  While it has done that at times, to me, the lessons I have learned have been so much more and different than that.  So on this anniversary or birthday or whatever you want to call it, I want to share a few of those lessons.  They are in no particular order.

The Power of Commitment:

Sometimes, when Rhonda and I go on tour, we have uttered the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”  When we say that, it to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t necessarily party so hard in a few hour causing us to crash before the night has really even gotten started.  We don’t need to do everything in one night, if we have multiple shows.  I feel like I have learned that lesson in the rest of my life, too.

I have always known that there is power in commitment.  Experience matters.  When I first became a teacher, I watched veteran teachers to see how they dealt with every issue that teachers confront.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much I learned from that.  Now, I’m that veteran teacher.  My practice has improved over time, not just from watching those experienced staff members but also from doing it myself.  You know what else matters?  It is important to know that I’m in it for the long haul.  Teaching isn’t just a temporary gig.  I knew that I had to get better because it was going to be who and what I was for decades.

I could repeat a similar story for political organizing.  Initially, it was one campaign.  Soon enough, it became two then three.  Now, I get it.  It is part of my life and who I am.  I got better at it, too.  I had no choice.  I feel like the same is true for this blog.  In the beginning I didn’t think too much about how my blogs were.  Even once I realized that some people read them, I didn’t consciously think about how to improve my blogs.  Yet, I think it has happened through both doing it but also through commitment.  Because I know that this is part of my life, I want to be able to be proud of it.  Guess what?  I am proud.  Not only am I proud of the blogs themselves, I’m extremely proud of our commitment.  Both of us could have thrown in the towel a ton of times but we didn’t.  We stuck to it.  We stayed for the long haul.

Keeps Me Connected:

As I have said before, this hasn’t been the easiest year for me.  I won’t lie that there have been times that I thought maybe it was time for me to walk away from this.  It was never because I didn’t like it or my love for Duran has faded.  I just wondered if my attention shouldn’t be elsewhere.  Yet, I know how it would go.  At first, it might be fine.  I would focus on other things.  Over time, though, I would miss it.  Whenever I have suppressed one big aspect of my life, it always comes back to bite me.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want to have to choose between the different hats I wear.  I can be a fan and an activist.  I can be a blogger and educator.

What would I miss?  Not only would I miss the writing.  I would miss the connection.  This blog has connected us with other fans.  I have met so many people as a result of writing this blog, hosting meet-ups and organizing the convention in 2013.  I’m grateful for everyone I have met.  Not only have I learned from each and every person but many of you have brought fun and joy into my life.  You all have reminded me that fandom is about connection.  It starts out with a love of whatever.  In our case, it is the love of Duran Duran.  The fandom part comes when we reach out to each other.  This blog has made that a lot easier for me.  I cannot say that I’m great in meeting people.  Often, I think I give off the wrong vibes or something.  Yet, this blog and everything that has come as a result pushes me to be better, to be more approachable with other people.

Now, this blog keeps me connected not just to the fans I might meet, the ones that I have met, but also with Rhonda and Duran Duran.  This blog is not mine, not Rhonda’s but ours.  It is still that way.  It doesn’t matter how often we talk, this blog is our shared space.  It is a “place” that we both call home.  It is where we are open about our love for Duran and touring.  Beyond that, it is also where we have shared stories about fandom but also about our real lives.  I often joke that it has become our journals.  This blog lets us process through our ideas about fandom as well as general life stuff.  Not only does it let you all know what is going on with us, but often it lets me know what is going with her and vice versa.  It forces us to stay connected and I am grateful for that.  (I wonder if any band member has thought something similar about Duran Duran, that the band has kept the individual members connected.)

This little blog also keeps me thinking about Duran Duran.  When we first started, Duran Duran was at the top of my thoughts when writing this blog.  I couldn’t really imagine writing about my personal life or even subtle aspects of fandom.  No, I wanted to write about just Duran Duran, the band, the history, the music.  Now, it isn’t that they aren’t important as they are truly essential.  They are the reason we started and the reason we keep going.  However, they are much like the other commitments in my life.  Being a Duranie is who I am.  I have been that for so long and in this public way for 8 years now.  That part of my identity and the love that it stems from is so interwoven in my life that I don’t need to shout about it in the same way to prove that.  I know how much Duran matters to me.  It is like breathing.  I don’t need to think about it to love them.  I just do it.

Overall, this blog has changed me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on September 13th, 2010, when we entered into this adventure.  I am thankful that we started this and thrilled that we keep going.  More importantly, I appreciate that Rhonda is still here on this journey with me and am forever grateful to people who have read the blog once as well as to those who read each and every day.  You all keep me going.  Thank you.

-A

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We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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