I’m writing to you this morning from a lovely hotel room in Kalamazoo Michigan. We stopped here last night on our way to Detroit for the show tonight. Leaving Chicago was kind of sad—it is one of my favorite cities, and it is also where my sister lives. I took one last parting photo as we inched our way by on the highway, thinking about how long it might be until I can return.
I needed my sister this week, probably more than she realized. We hung out, talked a lot, and she gave me some much-needed advice that I plan to follow on more than one topic. Amanda and I had agreed to leave and drive last night rather than wait until this morning because I didn’t want to feel rushed getting to the show. That didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye and get on the road and I found myself a little emotional as I hugged my sister knowing she wouldn’t be going back to California with me at the end of the week.
Our meet-up turn out isn’t always huge. Some can be, but many of them have been less than 20 of us, gathered together. We make due with limited resources, and are thankful for each and every person who decides to join us. I also think it takes a certain amount of nerve to take a deep breath, walk up and say hi to people you’ve only chatted with online. Take it from me, I know that sense of anxiousness well. Walking up to a group of people and introducing myself is one of my least favorite activities, right up there with taking tests of any kind and say, having cavities filled. It isn’t any easier for me to host these fan events, either. It takes putting myself out there, being “on” even if I’m tired or not feeling well, and being more extroverted, which certainly is not my style. I just want to say thank you to everyone who comes to hang out with us!
At our last pre-show party, several friends we made at the Durandemonium convention in Chicago attended. What strikes me about these women is that before the convention, most of them didn’t know one another. Since that fateful weekend, however, I’ve seen news of their gatherings and travels. It is nice knowing that they bonded at an event Amanda and I organized. One of this group had volunteered to help on the committee even though she’d never gone to an event like that before. Shy and not very confident, she was eager to help. Since then, she’s gotten married and really has started her own life. She seems far more self-assured now, although I know she’d probably argue with me—but I have watched her blossom and I silently encourage her to keep going.
Towards the end of the party, we took a picture together and she spoke with Amanda and I. She told us how thankful she was for these fan events and the things we do. She mentioned how we brought these people into her life, and how that made her feel. We have had people send us notes thanking us before, but never something like that. Raw from emotions that I have been keeping just under the surface, I found myself with a large lump in my throat, choking back tears.
Life has been rough lately. I haven’t even given myself time to grieve my family’s loss. Touring is probably the last thing I should be doing right now, but here I am. I knew I wanted to see my sister, Amanda and my friend Heather. I knew the band would be great. I just have all of these feelings bottled up that I don’t know what to do with. Listening to this wonderful Duranie tell me that I made a difference in her life and brought her friendships and things blew me away. I think I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since. Here I am, struggling, and she gave me such a gift that night. She’ll really never know, and these words don’t do it justice. I needed to hear what she said that night. It reminded me that fandom isn’t about how many shows you’ve attended or how many times you’ve met the band.
If anyone wants to know why I do these fan events (or any of it really), they can talk to Kim. She is the reason. It’s not because I make money. (uh, no) It isn’t because I thought I would get closer to the band. (Never met most of them beyond a quick hello at a signing) It definitely isn’t because I want to be a big name in the fan community. I do all of this stuff because it is a way for me to give back. I found Amanda through being a fan. I want other people to have that same chance. It’s that simple. The band happens to provide the soundtrack for all of that.