Trying to be Strong Enough

This is the last blog post before I leave for the latest tour.  Yes, come Wednesday, I will get up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus to take me to O’Hare.  From there, I will fly into LAX to meet up with my partner-in-crime to venture north towards the Oakland/San Francisco area for two shows.  These shows, as you all know, are general admission which means that normally we would not even consider them.  Yet, they are in California which works well for Rhonda and they announced these shows the morning after a fabulous show at Agua Caliente that we were at.  We were weak then.  We couldn’t say no!  Nonetheless, I am absolutely certain that we will have a blast as always!  Despite the GA format, I look forward to the shows and am anxious to see my friends!!

Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking.  Maybe you are thinking about how lucky I am or how spoiled I am.  It is common that whenever Rhonda and/or mention going to a show that someone comments about how jealous s/he is.  I get that.  I am jealous of those fans who will see them after these California shows.  I am jealous of my niece right now who is in London.  It is a common emotion.  I also acknowledge that I am super lucky to have the opportunity to go.  I am relatively healthy and have the financial means to do so.  Everyone is not in the same boat.  I honestly wish that everyone was able to go.  Yet, in thinking about my fandom history, I have to acknowledge the fact that there is risk involved in going to shows, in traveling.

When I first got back involved in the fan community during the reunion era, I had never traveled to a concert for anyone.  Yes, I had driven to a nearby city but I never even got a hotel for a show before.  It was always drive to a show, see it and drive back.  While I wish that I could argue that it was work or money that kept me grounded but in reality, it was fear.  Yes, I didn’t have a ton of money then as I was finishing up grad school but I could have squeezed out money if I really needed it.  I was working full time after all.  Likewise, I could say that I could not travel due to those work or school obligations but that isn’t the whole story.  It would have been challenging to get out of those responsibilities but I could have if I tried.  After all, I do it now.  

What was the fear?  Was it fear of stigma or people talking badly about me traveling for shows?  Not really.  No, it was really two things.  First, there is the fear surrounding traveling.  I hate flying.  I am a pretty logical person.  Logically I get that flying is safe and the likelihood of a plane crashing is small.  Yet, my logical part of my brain struggles to silence the anxiety part of my brain.  Maybe some of this is that I was not on a plane until I was a teenager.  Maybe I think too much about the bad things that could happen. On top of that, I worry about everything surrounding travel.  What if I don’t get to the airport on time?  What if my stuff gets stolen? What if something horrible happens at a hotel?  I could go on and on.  Then, the other big worry is the fear that I will be rejected by the people I am with.  What if I travel with people and they decide I am a huge geek and never want to be near me again?  Just last night, I dreamt that I was a party and had a falling out with everyone there.  I ended up hanging out in the basement by myself.  Again, logically, I know it is silly.  Rhonda has hung out with me a lot.  I doubt she will decide I am a loser now.  Likewise, our friends who we are sharing a room with us have shared a room with us before.  If they thought I was a loser, they wouldn’t stay with us again, right?

Looking back, I recognize that I had to take some big leaps from my own comfort zone to do the traveling I have done to see the band.  I could have always made excuses.  Even now, it might have been just as easy to say that I couldn’t afford to go.  After all, I just came back from my sister’s in North Carolina.  I usually can use work as an excuse, if I need to.  Yet, I know it is super good for me to push myself out of my safe place to do what I really want.  I think I have become a stronger, braver person as a result of taking the risks to travel to see the band.  I still fight the anxiety but I believe it is worth it.  

-A

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