Induced Euphoria: Yet More Fangirling

(Warning for the faint of heart: what you are about to see may forever warp your vision of/for me.  Continue at your own peril.  And certainly mine.)

This is a sobriety post, though it may take a while to look like one.  It’s also a bit all over the place.  Apologies for the scatteredness.

A few months ago, I wandered into tumblr.  I don’t recall now how it happened.  Probably it was some sort of livejournal bourne accident…though, having said that, I’m not so certain that is a rational assumption.  Livejournal is far more engaged in navel-gazing than tumblr, so the link going that direction seems somewhat unlikely.  Tumblr posts can manage to mention livejournal, insanejournal, greatestjournal, journalfen (okay, so probably not this one), mibba, and facebook in a single rant. LJ does well to post about other LJ communities [and this from someone whose own LJ points specifically to a number of fanwank communities (best non-LJ example)] .

However it happened, I stumbled in and upon in.  Around that time, I began posting my horror via Twitter*–horror mostly at the fansites I was tripping across and the…um…how do I put this?…internal logic that drives them.  Internal logic like:  Why do people mourn band member X; he wasn’t Kurt Cobain.

Actually, the internal logic is rather more closely akin to the internal logic of, say, Twilight.  For those of you blessedly unfamiliar with Twilight (how??), here’s an example of Meyer’s, er, logic, courtesy of one of my favorite, terribly amusing tumblrs, Reasoning with Vampires:

 

Meyer is scary, no?

 

 

Tumblr–perhaps because, in part, of the particular nature of the microblogging there–tends to have this kind of logic floating about (Meyer’s book, not Reasoning’s).  Not exclusively, mind; I’ve seen a number of awesome feminist debates and some excellent addiction support.  I’ve also seen a professed desire to be “raped” by (fillintheblank celebrity).  And a whole kettle of “OMG, I hate this fandom!” wanks.

One other thing I’ve noticed is my own tendency to retract from laying claims–including to my own desires and opinions.  Increasingly, I’ve noticed myself doing it in my real life (that is, I’ve noticed it more, I don’t think the overall rate has increased).  I’ll make a claim and then hedge to make the other person comfortable.   And I do it all the damn time, even on subjects about which I am both knowledgeable and confident.

Part of this is an honest desire to refrain from steamrolling conversations.  Much of it stems from fear and shame.  And those habits of mind, I have to remind myself, are the same ones that drove me to drink.

The feelings of fear and shame associated with elements of my life I adore have been around for a long while–at least since 8th grade (I distinctly recall being rather more bullheaded in earlier years, and I’ve nothing specific to point to–like getting my ass kicked (though I did get a fairly solid punch to the head on about 8th grade)–as the cause of this switch, not even boy-craziness, because I was pretty far gone in that regard well before age 13.  Many of the early exchanges were about music.  While my experience in that matter is hardly unique, it was memorable–getting yelled at (why did we rely so heavily on raised voices?) classmates for my music obsessions (GNR included).  Sadly, I came to be at once strident and ashamed about my musical habits (I could get into knock downs, but eventually learned to hide names and favorites unless I meant to be deliberately provocative).  Well, when in public, music was a guilty pleasure.  My bedroom walls told a different story (both in what covered them and what they “heard”–I imagine that those walls still retain the memory of Appetite for Destruction, for as often as they heard them).

Those habits of mind, I have to remind myself, are the same ones that drove me to drink.

The door-length Skid Row poster on my closet door that was, as it turns out, completely visible to those on the street below, is another story.  I’m sure you can imagine what else, as it turns out, was completely exposed.

Rather than own up, I turned bandom into innuendo,  like the time three of us stayed overnight in Trixter’s hotel rooms (they guys had moved on to the next city, but took pity on our not-even-18-nevermind-the-21-needed-to-rent-a-room-there selves and left us with the keys).   I vividly recall how I told that story after T and I waltzed in during 3rd period, and I assure you the parenthetical remark was not included.  I elided my shame about the band I was then obsessing over by turning to allusions to sex–because it was more comfortable to be imagined whore (for there was little in the way of sex-positivity among the seniors of my high school class)–than fan.

Better whore than fan.

You should hear the Danger Danger story sometime.

Better whore than fan.

Jeez.

Those habits of mind, I have to remind myself, are the same ones that drove me to drink.

So, when I read the groupie-blogs (of which there are many) or the naming-themselves-as-wanting-to-be-groupies blogs (of which there are more), I get it.  I get the drama and the cat fights.  I get the odd pieces that look a bit daft to the outside world.  Trust me.  Been there.  Moreover, I understand why it happens in a semi-anonymous environment.  When I read the fangirl chatter, I get it.  I even sort of get the absolutely-hysterical-now-that-I’m-here-but-probably-was-just-as-bad reactions to band marriage and (as happened this summer) the dreaded thirtieth birthdays.

As a result of whatever drives my habits of mind, even in my adult life, I tend to separate my desires from my reality.  The difference is that I now correct people who call me a groupie (seriously.  At least two colleagues, in perfect innocence, replied to my remark that I was going to follow Avenged Sevenfold for a couple of nights by remarking with glee “oh, you’re a groupie??” In high school, I might have said yes.).  I maintain separate blogs that, in theory, won’t meet, so that I can fangirl away in one and remain relatively academic (if occasionally fangirling.  and academic is likely the wrong word for this joint) on the other.  Tumblr is a neat, strange world (as is Twitter, if you dig too deeply), full of imagination (and role-playing–fascinating.  Also, terrifying) and play.  But it is also a place of fear and shame–hiding and pretending and hoping never to be discovered.

Those habits of mind, I have to remind myself, are the same ones that drove me to drink.

Music is essential for me in sobriety, both the aural and physical sensations.  I mentioned this here before–and to my class this week–that music is very much a physical experience for me.  I need to feel it.  And in my descent into alcoholism went alongside a separation from music–particularly live music.  When I am in the moments of my music, I don’t feel fear and shame.  I feel…whole.  Together.  And not because my brain turns off (though that is clearly true at times).  I was very much engaged in music and–yes–fandom before I went off the rails.  In some ways, it answered the nagging lack–performed what AA calls the spiritual awakening–in my life for years.   I need music in the way I need meditation and community.

Another colleague mentioned last night that she’d heard an Avenged Sevenfold song on the radio for the first time in the days before–she’d simply never heard them before (and how, after knowing me, I’ve no idea).  She asked her husband, before hearing who it was, if this was a Dream Theater or Rush (?).  She then looked at me levelly and said “I can see why they appeal to you.  The drums.  The dramatic guitars.  It’s so you.”

As a matter of being honest, I do have a tumbleblog (or however the fuck you spell that), and it can be found here.  Should you be brave enough to look, you will note a decided, though not exclusive, influence.  I apologize for nothing, including (especially?), the rather untoward fangirling over a non-curl.  And over a vocalist, a fact I simply don’t know what to do with.

That said, the blog is, like A7X for my colleague, so me.


*Clearly I am playing the “how many social networking sites can I mention in a single blog post” game.

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