[The 4th anniversary of my “accidental” blog passed on December 28th. It was a very change filled interesting year to say the least. Surprising of all was how Real Life and fandom collided in such an unexpected way. I wrote this piece several months ago, thinking I would use it to conclude a series about The Crucible. However in a way it summarizes the mishmash of thoughts inspired over the past year. It’s a good time to share it now.]
I spent last night with a friend discussing how a series of events have been clicking into place, one after other, like dominoes falling, hitting the next one and the next, cascading down the line as they needed to. She suggested that the dominoes may always have been there, waiting for the right angle for me to see them – pointing the way to what I needed. I’d bought the tickets to see The Crucible on September 10th and 11th, knowing I’d probably not be able to go. For months, I said I’d go only if A, B, and C happened – in order by September 5th. As time went on, chances grew slimmer and slimmer. But then amazing things happened.
I thought it started in June with a friend rushing over to help sort my financial mess. Click. All caused by my illness and subsequent retirement. Click click. Calling the realtor I’d consulted the year before who immediately leaped in the cash breach of fixing up the condo. Click. Rousing out of my inertia to whip the place into shape (no small feat). Click. Signing the listing agreement and going live in 12 days. Click. Finding a seller in just 11 days. Click. Being housed and supported by incredible friends pending the move and closing. Click. Weathering a bumpy process but finally closing on September 5th. Click. Booking a flight, room and flying to London in three days flat. Click. Moving about town despite being in physically bad shape. Click.
All to see a play right?
Picture or it didn’t happen. Richard Armitage and me. 92nd ST Y, NYC.
That wasn’t the big domino. To explain I’ll have to back up – to my childhood. Amidst all the dysfunctional drama, I came away feeling like I didn’t matter, as if I were invisible. Of course as an adult (and with lots of therapy), I understood it wasn’t true but the realization never sank past a superficial level. That critical inner voice always whispered otherwise; and I had to keep correcting that tape again and again. This explains why I was so disconcerted at the Proust cast party when Richard Armitage kept watching me and Zan. After all, how could my crush display any curiosity towards me? I felt – naked – in my glaring visibility. His glances said: I see you. Who are you? Subconsciously, it confused me that he would think I mattered enough to inspire curiosity.
After the party, the inner voice returned, brushing the episode aside: he just wondered what the hell both of us were doing there. Who was I after all. Running up to London, I half-feared he might remember me. He’d seen me long enough at the party. What if he knew I was *gasp* a fan? (After all, if your crush remembers you’re a fan, it’s hard to really deny it, ya know?). Oh no, they said. He meets hundreds of people. You’re good. So part of me wanted to be safe in my perceived invisibility. Seems a bit ridiculous, but this is what I told myself.
During the first two stage doors, he was still too emotionally enmeshed in his role to interact fully with the fans. A veil existed between him and us. He kept his head down, uttered thanks somewhat robot-like, and scrawled his autograph. However after the last performance, he dropped the character and was fully present. I observed him animatedly replying to fans but not speaking first.
I expected maybe a fleeting eye contact and a signature. Instead, he glanced at me fleetingly, look down, began to write, looked back up at me and said: hello. And waited for me to answer.
I’m sure that inner voice died of shock. Surely in that moment, my mind was a void. I thought nothing, heard nothing, and saw only two blue eyes staring at me, judiang in the flesh dressed in a black coat standing on a small sidewalk outside a London theater, recognized, awaiting a simple reply. I see you. I remember you. Hi there. I reflexively answered hello back. And it was over. I turned to my grinning London friend. “Why didn’t you tell me he’d recognize me?” I exclaimed. “Because, I knew he would,” she answered, as if to say: why not – you needed that to happen.
So me, the anti-fangurl, went to London and what I unwittingly got from the crush himself was – inarguable validation. It’s pretty hard to think I’m invisible and don’t matter when the crush somehow remembers me months later, does a double-take and speaks first. I haven’t heard that particular inner voice since. Click.
Don’t forget, my friend said, that couldn’t have happened had not been for the Proust party. Click.
So after years of therapy, I learned a final lesson in accepting my value as a person. And it makes it easier to accept others’ good estimation and opinion of me.
Dr. G. was ecstatic.