Yes, I have them. We all do in one form or another. We just don’t classify them as “fans” in most aspects of our lives. Some of us have one or two, others have hundreds, thousands….even millions. They can be anyone--relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, business associates, children, teachers, even total strangers. But they are, for the most part, the same type of people. They are the folks in our lives who believe in us, admire us for our different attributes or talents, desire to be like us in some way, and usually are extremely supportive of us in whatever we are trying to accomplish in our lives. They are the first ones to cheer for us and the first ones to defend us against any “bad press” that may come our way. They are the ones who show up at every event and every appearance, however big or small it may be. They are the ones who always light up when they see us enter the room. They are the ones who tell us how much we have changed their lives for the better, just by existing….that we have saved them in some phenomenal way….and that without us, they probably wouldn’t be here now.
That’s a lot for one person to grasp. Having someone--especially someone you’ve never met--tell you that you are the reason they are alive today, is enough to shake anyone to the very core of their being. Most of us never realize how many people we touch over the course of our lives. We have no idea how we have helped a fellow human being, or what damage we may have left behind. We don’t usually take the time to think about how our words and actions affect other people. But everyone, whether intentional or not, leaves a lasting impression in the minds of others and an indelible mark on the world we live in.
I remember the first time that I realized someone recognized me. I was in a department store and just walking up and down the aisles looking at things when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that there were two women a few feet away from me that were staring in my direction and pointing at me. They seemed to be having a small disagreement as to whether I was the person they thought I might be. I glanced around to see if there may be someone else that they could possibly be referring to, but I was alone in that area of the store. I must admit that I was a little freaked out. Granted, there were only two of them, but I had never experienced this kind of thing. I was extremely used to being someone no one noticed. As I tried desperately to act like I unaware of their stares, they tentatively walked over to me and asked me if I was the one they heard singing the other night at one of the local places. I said that I was and they smiled and one said to the other “See, I told you!”. Then they proceeded to tell me how much they liked it when I sang and what a great voice I have, and will I be singing there or anywhere else in the future, etc., etc., etc.… I can’t remember how many times I said “Thank you” during that 5-10 minute conversation….but I can tell you that I was blown away by the way they were fawning over me. After they left, I went back to perusing the shelves of merchandise, but I couldn’t really focus on anything in particular. I just kept thinking about these two ladies telling me how much they admired me and my singing. I stood there alone smiling and realized that I had just had my first “fan encounter”. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time….much like bungee jumping, I would imagine.
I’ve had many more “fan encounters” since then, and it never seems to get old. I mean, who doesn’t like to be admired and complimented? There are always times when I really don’t want to be bothered or times when I just don’t feel well or I’m exhausted and want to go home and go straight to bed. But all it takes is one person coming up and telling me how they love it when I sing, or how they came that night hoping I would be there, to get me perked up again….and no matter how tired or cranky or sick I am feeling, I’ll still sing “just one more” for “my fans”. I do it because they want to hear it, and because of the charge it gives me to see them enjoying it. I guess that makes me a fan of “my fans”. What an interesting concept….