Last night, when I sat down to write this blog post, I had no idea about what I was going to write about. Instead of beating my head against the wall trying to figure out something super clever, I sought out my old favorite of picking out a song then a lyric. The song that popped up was, obviously, Notorious. This song is often thought to be about the media’s treatment of the band, which makes sense if you glance at the lyrics. Yet, for some reason, some of the lyrics have made me think about something far more personal.
Whenever I hear this song, the line I chose for the title, “I need this blood to survive,” is the one that grabs my attention the most. Before I think about what it might mean for me, I just like the idea that something is so desperately needed that it is like blood, something that one cannot live without. It isn’t just wanting something a lot. No, it is more than that. A lot more than that. It is about something essential. Required.
When I think about what I need, I don’t think about what I actually need to survive. My brain does not turn to food or water or shelter. No, my mind immediately thinks about fandom, which is pretty funny, really, when you think about it. Why would fandom be something I need?! Isn’t that a little ridiculous?! I ask myself these questions all the time. As I go through those questions, I realize that I could actually survive without Duran Duran. I would still have a pulse and my heart would still beat, but I don’t think I would have a shot at real happiness. I wouldn’t have something to provide me nothing but joy.
There is something special about fandom. It can be pure. It can be magical. Fandom definitely demonstrates a uniqueness that I find nowhere else. I contrast fandom with teaching. Believe or it or not, I do experience joy in teaching. Let me give you an example from yesterday. After school, I ran into a student I had last year. After asking about how 10th grade is going, conversation turned to last year. I remind the student that he came into my class with an attitude and a negative assumption that I would just focus on “white man” history to quote the student, which would make the class “boring as hell”. At first, the student denied ever saying that but soon enough, he chuckled as he agreed that he did question me a lot in the beginning of the year last year. I then asked, “So? Is that the kind of history I taught you?” He laughed some more and responded casually with a, “Nah, Ms. Pustz, you were cool.” Interactions like that do bring me joy. I have fun interacting with my current and former students. I like sharing experiences with them. That said, it is not pure joy. No, there is far too much work and too much ridiculousness to be like that.
Now, some might argue that fandom doesn’t really result in pure joy either. After all, fans can try to take each other down. I have seen times where fans or groups of fans spend a lot of time tossing insults back and forth at each other. Certainly, those moments do not equal pure joy. But you know what does? Duran live. That brings me nothing but bliss. I’m in my happy place when I am watching, singing and dancing at a Duran Duran concert. During those two hours or so, all of my problems and concerns get pushed to the side. I cannot help but to smile the entire time. You know what is weird? That euphoria that I feel during a show often carries over to my real life. It provides a shield of sorts, a layer of protection so that real life stress doesn’t quite get to me in the way that it could. It isn’t perfect. It doesn’t push all the bullshit aside but it helps. It doesn’t last forever, but I will take what I can get. I need it to make the rest of life a bit more bearable.