It has been awhile since I sat down to write a blog. It isn’t for lack of having something to say but lack of time. I’ll also be honest it has also because my Duran fandom has moved down in my priority list. This isn’t because my love for the band has lessened or because they have done something to bother me. No, this is all about me, much of which I have shared here previously. If you missed that blog, I’ll summarize quickly.
This past fall I left teaching and, finally, moved into working in politics. I’m working for a national pro-democracy political organization. At first, I led the organizing effort in my state to ensure new districts would be drawn in a way that does not favor or give an advantage to one political party. (You might be familiar with the term gerrymandering. If you are, I organized an anti-gerrymandering campaign.) Unfortunately, due to intervention with the US Supreme Court, those efforts were not successful. From there, I wrote and managed a campaign to protect elections in my state. In short, one of the reasons the attempted coup in 2020 did not work was because election officials in battleground states refused to overturn the results. Since then, there has been an effort to remove those people and replace them with people who would be willing to ensure that their candidate of choice wins no matter what. My campaign has been to stop that. Now, though, it appears that I will be working on a different project. I loved the work that I have been doing but it was pretty intense. I am hopeful that this next project will be something just as meaningful but allows for a better work-life balance. I share all of that in order to paint a picture of the important work that I have been doing. That work should come before fandom.
Besides work, I continue to be a caregiver to my chronically ill father who is not getting any younger. My parents must come before fandom, too. If all of that were not enough, I’m watching my health in a way that I did not need to do so a year ago due to an autoimmune disease. At times, I have struggled with pain and fatigue. During those weeks, I have been lucky to get work done and maintain my household. Hopefully, I will be stabilize soon enough to have less of those times. Some of that requires that I allow myself downtime even if it mean I don’t get everything done. That is not easy for me as I like to be productive but I’m trying.
Then, there is how I have been feeling about fandom and my role in it. Since joining the Duran fandom, there is much that I’m proud of. No, it is not followers on social media, receiving recognition, or blog post statistics. I don’t really care about any of that. I don’t care about how many shows I have been to or how many times I have been in a room with a band members. I have been most proud when something I did helped in a small way to bring people together or to feel less alone in our fan community.
Throughout the history of this blog, I often analyzed fan behavior. I claimed it to be part of a process to understand it and some of that is true. Yet, I think there was a part of me that felt unsafe and definitely saw others, who felt the same, leave. My quest to analyze was, in part, to try to force the fan community to be less focused on being cool but I was trying to do that by proving that I was cool (enough) myself. Ironic, huh? That isn’t going to help anything. Now, a big part of the reason for this was because I worried that I wouldn’t be accepted for who I am, what I’m into, how I want to express my fandom. I didn’t need to be popular but I, at least, didn’t want to be shut out, rejected. Yet, I fear that some of my actions or actions of others I was with did that to other people. Looking back, what I should have done is just demonstrate kindness and be the kind of person I want in fellow fans.
So, from here on out, I’m just going to be me. I’m going to be welcoming to others (unless they say or do something that attacks someone else’s identity. I’ll translate that. Everyone is welcome in my orbit unless you are racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, etc.). Now, this doesn’t mean that I won’t have opinions but those opinions will be such that I will be careful not to hurt people’s feelings. I want those around me to feel safe and I want to feel safe, too, especially in fandom. The rest of the world is awful and fandom and fan communities should provide joy. At least, that is what I am hoping for moving forward.