So I sent the email a few days or so ago, to my former boss, the Rock Star that had seventeen top forty hits, one of which rhymes with “Messy’s Girl”. I write that in code and you’ll see why in a moment.
It’s strange to do that, after so many years of not working for him, and stranger still to prepare to go to a show, something that I haven’t done in four years. I have grown by leaps and bounds since I used to work on his website, with his fans, and I’ve moved beyond so much that drove me to need to do those things.
A girlfriend who is also a fan had emailed me a few weeks back asking if I wanted to go to this show in New York City, a small venue, all acoustic. Normally I’d say no; it’s a weeknight, and the city is not terribly easy to get to on a weekday. Someone would have to get the kids dealt with after school. And would I stay overnight or no? ($$). Would I take the train in or drive ($$)? It’s a hassle on a good day, so I said I’d look into it.
Meanwhile, while we were having the conversation, tickets went on sale, and we both snapped up good seats. A few days later, I’d asked two of my Not So Die Hard Fan girlfriends if they wanted to go, and we had a group of four women, ready to descend on the city for a RS show.
To be honest, I loved the idea of sharing that part of my former life with these women, who have never known me as the Fangirl, Fan Liason, Part of the Team. It’s a world that seems surreal to me at times to. But still, I thought it could be fun.
So I sent the email a few days ago, as I used to always do, and the response was lovely. “Can’t wait to see you, please come early etc etc.” Also a few choice words about an issue that had strangely made its way into the news of late.
Here’s where the story gets weird.
Long story short, I found myself an hour later diving into the archives of the fan email database I used to be a huge part of looking for ideas and information to pass along. I dotted the Internet, looking for references to the issue in question and started compiling research.
I didn’t think twice about it. I’d done work for him for so many years, researched ideas for marketing, promotion, charity, events, it was as easy as slipping on your favorite jeans that you forgot were in the back of the closet. As if nine years hadn’t passed since I last wore the “official” hat, I posted online asking fans who had any information regarding what I was researching to message me privately.
Within twenty minutes of my doing that, another fan did the exact same thing. Using much stronger language, stating she’d “been asked” to compile research and do legwork and on and on.
Which is fine, the more the merrier I suppose. But somehow, it reminded me of the constant push/pull/who’s on top/who’s better than anyone else/who has the most connection/who’s the most helpful to this guy game that I so remembered and so disliked about being involved. The work? Loved it. Loved being useful, helpful. The “get out of my way, I was here first” vibe? So don’t miss it.
It was as if suddenly my offer to help became pushed aside by someone who was louder, more overt, more forceful. I watched, in amazement, as the online postings from her and fans went on and on and on. I quietly posted one or two things more about my offer to gather information and watched as the same old patterns emerged. People questioned the women who clearly had some sort of official conduit to The Man In Question, others defended them. The other person who was helping posted some defensive remarks, similar to ones I likely had typed into some computer, some time ago, when I was being questioned about my work with The Rock Star Who Shall Not Be Named (did I really come across as that arrogant? God, I hope not).
I saw it all shake out and it just reminded me how far I’ve moved beyond. Beyond the need to be seen by Him and His Fans as smart, helpful, connected. I did used to need it. It definitely defined me. But now? I put my head down, compiled my information and sent it along. Answered the emails that came in with the knowledge I have. Did the work for the sake of the work, nothing else. I could feel the urge to respond, to stand up, to say, “Don’t you know who I am? Or who I was?” I felt it, sure. But then I realized, I didn’t need to. I know. I know it and I don’t doubt it. How about that?
Frankly, it was a good lesson before next week. Did I like being useful? Of course, and the kind words I received in response were lovely. But mostly, I loved knowing that no matter what happens on Tuesday at this show, I will enjoy it. I will slip on those old pair of jeans and step back into that world for a little while. The beauty of it, though, is that I will do so taking all of the knowledge and lessons I’ve learned in the last nine years with me. It won’t be the same, at all.
I’m thinking it will be better. 🙂