You know what I should be doing right now? Not blogging!
Alas, I felt like I needed to sit down and write. So, here I am. I find myself in the somewhat familiar position of having about 35,000 things to accomplish today, and yet I just continue to ruminate over the last week or so. Touring, for however short of a period, seems to do that.
Do you know that one time, back when I was writing the other blog, someone commented that we shouldn’t say we were touring because that’s what the BAND does. As in, “you are not good enough to tour. You’re just fans.” Seriously. We had shitty comments come in like that all of the time. I learned, and not very quickly, that one has to pretty much have nerves of steel when you’re online. You’ve almost got to be heartless. Anyone who knows me is well-aware of how difficult that is for me. No, I’m not very good at it. I’m not political. I feel things with my whole heart, and I’m genuine. I also pretend I’m as cold as ice even if I’m not. Bottom line, I tour. I don’t care if someone doesn’t like that I use that word. Go complain somewhere else. No, I don’t think I’m the band. I think I’m a fan that goes to see the band play in a variety of places. That’s touring.
I’ve wanted to say that for years. It feels so cleansing. 😀
Let it wash away
For me, “cleansing” is a word that sort of encapsulates my trip to Vegas. It was my first real Duranie event in a number of years going as myself, and not as one-half of Daily Duranie. I didn’t have any expectations for how it would go.
Going into the weekend, I thought I might feel like something was missing. I mean, I’d toured as Daily Duranie since 2010? That is a long time. Old habits die hard, don’t they? I think that’s the “thing” with Daily Duranie. It isn’t just a who, it is a “what”. I never intended for the blog, or the site, to grow into some sort of enigmatic thing that overtook my individuality. Too often I’d say that I was Daily Duranie as opposed to saying that I wrote it. So, I suppose that on some level, I was trying to figure out who I was as a Duranie without Daily Duranie. Or even, who I was as a person. So, in that sense, the weekend should have been weird. Awkward, even.
It wasn’t. Not even a little. While sure, there was a difference in our hotel roommate situation, and I stood next to someone completely different at the shows, I never felt out of place. I didn’t feel strange, forlorn, or even sad. I was energized, relaxed, and even happy. Oh, and the big one? I felt the beginnings of what I’ll just call “confidence”.
Only have blown out my flame
My sense of humor is pretty self-deprecating at times. As my good friends know, it is my not-so-superpower. I figure that if I make fun of myself before anyone else, it takes the wind out of their sails to the point that it isn’t worth the effort. I’ll do it about pretty much anything, and while it can be funny at times, it also shows just how vulnerable I am. As painful as it is, I grew up in a situation where compliments were rarely handed out, while criticism was readily available. I’d walk into the living room ready to go out, and I’d hear, “You look nice, BUT _____.” My parents would say they didn’t like to brag about my sister and I to their friends, but the reality was, they were too busy finding things wrong with us to even bother.
For my senior year of high school, I auditioned to be the drum major of my marching band. It was tough, but I threw my heart and sole into those tryouts. I can still feel in my heart how much I wanted that position. When I was awarded the military baton at our awards banquet, I have never been more proud of myself. I ran over to my parents, thinking they’d be so overjoyed and proud. My mom took one look at my face and immediately hissed for me to be quiet and not brag about it because her friends had kids that were upset by the decision. They’d auditioned as well. I immediately stopped smiling, and basically tried to hide how thrilled I was. I’d worked hard the entire way through high school to get that position. It had been a dream since I was in middle school, and my parents both knew it. That one moment of pride and joy was completely sucked from me. I don’t think I ever felt confident about being drum major, or even playing clarinet again. After that episode, I never allowed myself to even think it.
I grew up believing my sister and I were a lot of trouble, when in fact, we were probably some of the best behaved kids I’ve known. My sister went to law school, for crying out loud. I was in band, I had good grades the entire way through school, and I never snuck out of the house. Not even once! No way. My own kids have gotten into more “trouble” than Robin or I ever did – and yet I adore my three, and never let them doubt it.
Confidence is not my strong point.
That feeling continued when I was blogging. If I wasn’t telling myself I was a fraud or a terrible writer, someone else was. Unfortunately, that goes with the territory, particularly if other people see you receiving attention or accolades. The old adage that it is easier to listen to the bad things certainly rang true for me. People really will tear you down if you allow them, and I basically left the barn door open for business 24/7. When I walked away from Daily Duranie though, it didn’t exactly stop. I walked away feeling pretty empty and lifeless, primarily because I took over where others left off, even though there was a part of me that also felt the relief of not having to continue writing. Then, we moved my mom nearby so that I could care for her.
This hasn’t been an easy transition, to say the least. I found myself falling into the same habits of trying to preempt the criticisms about myself, thinking that if *I* said them, they couldn’t possibly hurt when I heard it from someone else. Then Vegas happened. We’ll just say that thanks to some people who care about me more than I must care about myself, pointed it out. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what I was doing, it was that it has been so ingrained in me, my outward persona, the person I see in the mirror every single day, that I don’t know how to be any other way.
I know other people must do this. Who amongst us hasn’t said something like, “Well, I adore Roger, but there’s zero chance he’s going to look and not see the middle aged fat woman I see in the mirror.” I mean, it’s so bad. SO awful that we do that to ourselves. Yet we do it, and I really think – at least for me – I do it so that nobody else can hurt me. I’d rather hurt myself first. Even the slight little digs we make at ourselves, aren’t they done just so that way when or if someone else says it (and who really does that except for very mean people???), it doesn’t sting so much?
I can feel it
So back to Vegas. Talking to my roommates proved to be some of the most uplifting conversations I’ve had in decades. I could lean on them without one reminding me that they needed more support than I could give or deserved, because their life was so much worse than mine. It isn’t a competition. We all have it rough for one reason or another. What is funny though is that it took so very little to remind me that I’m not the worlds worst anything. I’m just someone working hard with the life they’ve got, like anybody else. The weekend kind of woke me up and reminded me that friendship – real friendship that isn’t codependent – builds you up. It doesn’t tear you down or make you feel bad because you didn’t call someone or didn’t express concern for an illness. Friends make one another feel strong and confident. Vegas felt like a rush of fresh air, despite the triple-digit heat, and cigar smoke-filled air in the Wynn!
I came away from the weekend feeling content, unafraid, and happier than I’ve been in a very long time. Even my husband picked up on it as soon as I got off the plane. Before I left, I was so concerned about how people would see me, and by the time I left I realized it didn’t matter! I feel good about myself. I’m happy with who I am, and who I choose to surround myself with. I didn’t need to mingle in a bar filled with people I really don’t know or care about when I could go back to my room with friends and talk for hours about nothing in particular. It was by far one of the best DD trips I’ve had, and that’s the way it should always feel when I get home from a weekend with friends.