Hello there! Welcome to My Own Way for Thursday, February 4! I decided that for today, I was just going to write. Sometimes writing is the best form of therapy.
The other day, I mentioned to a friend that I was considering doing a podcast. I’ve written about this before, so it’s not breaking news, but I think it might be another great way to reach people. If you aren’t a reader, and don’t have time to sit in front of YouTube, maybe downloading a podcast is the way to go. Anyway, as I was encouraged by my friend, she noted that lately, I’ve seemed brighter.
Now, I’m assuming by the word “brighter” she means my spirit and outlook, but she’s not wrong. I can feel it in myself, too. This is a subject that, if I were to start podcasting, would be part of an ongoing discussion. As someone who has fought depression, particularly during midlife, I am learning what it takes for me to keep the darkness at bay. It isn’t always easy to put into practice, and I find that I fall back into old, bad habits very easily. The reason why this translates into “duraniedom” seamlessly is because the very practice of being a fan is a problem for me.
I don’t think I’m the only person out there who has an inner voice that attempts to constantly remind that we’re not good enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, or not worthy. Mine got a lot louder as I entered adolescence, and hasn’t ever quite shut up since then. Now, there were a good many things I’ve done to try and minimize it, but from time to time, I start really believing what I’m hearing. When that happens, it is as though someone turned off the technicolor for Life. All of the negativity on the inside changes who I am and what I exude, to the outside.
Here’s the Duran-connection: Going to shows has become a real problem, particularly in places like Vegas where tons of us gather. Walking into a room, going into a bar, and seeing a gaggle of Duranies turn and look my way? Well, it’s been enough to make me want to wither away into nothing. My anxiety can be that bad at times, and it is impossible for me to ignore. Whether they’re really staring in judgment, or they’re just curious as to who walked in, the entire practice really sends me into overdrive.
Those voices that continually try to remind me that I didn’t survive on salads with no dressing for the last six months, or that because I’m a fan, people automatically think I must be crazy and unworthy, grow in volume until they’re the only thoughts I hear. It isn’t quite paralyzing, but to the point where after the last Vegas show, I swore I’d never go to another. I played it off as though I was just tired of Vegas. That wasn’t completely true. I was tired of that GAME.
I’m not sharing this so that people feel sorry for me. That’s dumb. I’m sharing because I suspect I’m not the only one out there that feels this way, and THAT is dumb. We can fix it!
Listen, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had some sort of trauma in their life. One of my favorite sayings is “Nobody gets through childhood unscathed”. What happened to you as a kid wasn’t your fault, or my fault. What is each of our responsibility, though, is how we respond, or how we treat ourselves, or other people. That, my friends, is essentially what I’ve been working on.
It’s taken doing several exercise programs just trying to do the obvious, and then finding something that addresses not just the outside, but also the inside. I’m a work in progress. Though essentially, I’m learning that treating myself with kindness is the key to keeping the meanies—those awful inner voices screaming a stream of constant negativities—away.
No one gets through unscathed
So, how does that help with being a Duranie? Well for one, I’m hoping that I won’t always assume the worst when I see people looking my way. I’m also learning how to accept compliments, and that being positive is truly a verb. I have to work at it, in other words. That doesn’t mean never finding fault, but it does mean not expecting things to be terrible, if that makes sense. This is a process, and while I’ve made progress, I am not done.
I’ve always felt that a lot (but not all) of the fandom in this community is more about the “contest” of who can find the best and closest access to then band, rather than actually enjoying the music. Who gets acknowledged, who gets the photo, who gets that five second interaction—and for what? Well, for me, that type of affirmation was imperative, particularly when my inner voices were telling me how unworthy I was, otherwise.
It’s a real problem to need that sort of validation, because I’m not sure I ever really get enough to fulfill my heart. Admittedly, all of that peripheral stuff just makes there rest of it—the real elation that comes from the music (the reason I’m even here!) tough for me to find, feel, and see. I knew deep-down I needed to do hard work to heal myself from within. I just didn’t know how. Words weren’t enough.
The bliss is right there
I’m not a self-help expert. Good lord, no, and that’s not the reason I’m sharing. I just know that recently, during this pandemic but not that long ago, a specific incident woke me up. Is this really all there is? I am exhausted from continually seeing the person in the mirror as ugly, overweight, not intelligent, and not capable. In fact I am just the opposite of all of that. No longer will I ask for acceptance and validation from people that don’t matter. Even better? I can do all of that myself.
We are in a fan community that can be incredibly competitive. For as much camaraderie, there is jealousy, nasty behavior, and just plain ICK. I just don’t think I’m the only one out there feeling this constant pressure. Whether to be perfect in every physical sense, or to behave with utter coolness and composure even when that little 12-year old girl is still in shock that Roger Taylor SAID HER NAME, we set the bar pretty ridiculously high for ourselves. Ahem…rather, *I* set that bar impossibly high for myself.
I need to accept the joy of just being a fan, because I AM ONE. I will also, gladly, soak up the bliss that comes from feeling confident and fabulous in my own skin. This is me, and I am enough.