i’m livin’ swell, and now you wanna be down?!
I have to preface this post by saying that I learned at a young age to try to be positive as often as possible. (Thanks, Wahlberg!) Somewhere in my mid-20s, I really did start practicing that, rather than just preaching it. (Turns out, he’s right…positivity is about being smart!) It’s easy to give into negative urges, and to many, it’s even fun. But…I think it’s a lot harder and more fulfilling to go against the grain and suppress that. To be genuinely positive is more of a challenge and therefore more rewarding. Others get more from their relationships with you, which feeds you as well. Simply put, I strive to be the best me I can 90% (or more) of the time.
This post, however, will not be one of those times. I really need/want to get this off my chest, and yes…it involves some negativity. It’s not immature/jealous/”I-suck-at-sharing” negativity, exactly. You’ll see. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you shouldn’t read it. I leave the choice to you, hence this whole disclaimer in the first place. I think that getting this off my chest will allow me to move forward from it and be open-minded to the source of it all. Rather than letting it fester, I’m putting it out there, in hopes of working through it. If you’d rather keep the negativity away, I understand & respect that. Turn away now. Otherwise, read on, but you’ve been warned! Please don’t consider me a hater of any kind…that couldn’t be further from the truth…
I have a problem with the NKOTB reunion. (Can you imagine? A Blockhead of nearly 25 years has a complaint about getting what she wished for all these years?! Sadly, yes.) My complaint isn’t something that really has anything to do with the guys themselves, or even the actual reunion. And, to be fair, I guess it was to be expected. My problem is…well, I call them “back in the day” fans. In a way, they’re the best possible outcome. But I’m not gonna lie: they get under my skin. I debated with myself for months about whether I’d ever actually post bitching about them. The final straw that made me decide to was the NKOTBSB performance last night on the AMA. It was awesome. A truly exciting moment for us BHs…and apparently, everyone else. Great! Or not.
It should be no surprise that a NKOTB reunion would bring fans out of the woodwork, and I don’t just mean those diehards of us who never left in the first place. I mean, of course, those girls who get excited, buy tickets, come to the shows wearing their old tees and buttons and the like, and claiming “I still love the New Kids on the Block!!!” Wait, you do? Because I take issue with the word “still”. The fact of the matter is that the more people who do get excited, buy tickets, and come out to support the NK, the better for us, right? That’s obvious, and I wish nothing but so much success to the guys – you know I believe they deserve all of it and more.
But to these fans I ask, “where were you?” When Face the Music came out? (You’ve never heard of it? Oh, I see.) When VH1 created the first Where Are They Now (using my merch!)? When we all nearly died seeing Donnie in Ransom and The Sixth Sense, and not because we just happened to recognize him, but because we flocked to the theaters to see them because he was in them. For that matter, when Southie came out? Or The Taking of Pelham 123 on TV? (The list of movies/TV shows, obviously, goes on & on.) When Joe toured for Stay the Same and Meet Joe Mac? When Jordan opened for *NSync? When Danny went solo? When Joe was on Broadway? When we were getting up at the crack of dawn (or some of us even sleeping on the streets for days) two years ago for Today, knowing it was likely to be one of the happiest days of our lives? Even when The Block came out, while we were all at record stores or staring at iTunes in tears, where were you?
Make no mistake, there’s room for everybody. Each and every single fan, whether you’re a brand newbie from last night, or you’ve never missed a day since the beginning, is welcome and valued, in my book. For the most part, I believe that BHs are a rare breed: I’ve been around groups of fans for many different kinds of celebrities, and unfortunately I always kind of felt like there was an unspoken competitiveness between them. In fact, I took it for granted that it must exist between fans of just about anyone. And then…the reunion. There’s something really beautiful about the relationship that exists, as a whole, between Blockheads. True, as I’ve written about before, it’s even more breathtaking when you take into account that the guys are a part of that relationship. But leaving them out of it, this is a unique group of fans. I really believe BHs are one of a kind. More often than not, we have this attitude of “the more the merrier!” and bond quickly. We don’t tend to exclude anyone, and though we’re typically both human and female, we still treat each other as sisters more than any other one thing. Being a fan as a kid, and in what I refer to as the “New Kids wilderness” (1995-2007, even though we had stuff going on a little at a time all those years), was amazing. But it’s nothing like what it is today. With Twitter and our newfound sisterhood, we’ve taken fandom to a whole new level. I think every artist/group/celebrity believes s/he/they have the best fans “on the planet.” I think the NK actually do because of our “bhpride.” We really do represent and do them proud, and part of the reason we do is because we have something in common. Something important.
The one thing we share is battle scars. That’s why Joe calls the fans “bravehearts.” What this means is that we’ve been so unwaveringly supportive, we’ve all withstood years’ worth of torment. It’s never stopped us, but we’ve had to not only defend the guys over the years, but ourselves for liking them. For many, many years it was uncool to like the New Kids on the Block. This has a lot to do with the way we bond so quickly and fiercely to each other – we understand each others’ love for the guys, which is something indescribable to most. Add in a few things in common & you’ve quickly made a lifelong friendship that will hover somewhere between a good friend and a literal family member. (You’re reading this – you know that!) Now it’s 2010 and after a (literally) show-stopping performance with the Backstreet Boys on the American Music Awards, suddenly everyone’s a fan again?! I guess the coast is clear! They’re back on top! Dust off your merchandise, claim/admit to being a fan, it’s cool to like them again…I’ll pull up the bandwagon, who wants on?
It just frustrates me. I guess I want a little credit. The guys know who the “soldiers” are, I know. We also know each other, so we know what’s what. But bandwagon fans have always bothered me. As I said before, it’s claiming that you’re “still” a fan that gets to me. That’s not the right word. Many of those girls (and guys?) forgot all about the New Kids many, many years ago. That’s fine; I get it. It just proves their loyalty & dedication – and ours. And hey, seriously: welcome (back, where it applies). It’s good to have you, please stay a while this time! You’ll learn what those of us who never left have known all along: the ride is, as the kids say, “epic.” These guys are amazing.
I’m looking forward to the next chapter with the New Kids, which includes (of course!) the faithful BH family, the Backstreet Boys, their fans, and many fans both new & returning. I sincerely mean from the bottom of my heart that anyone who enjoys any part of it all has a place in my heart. Without each of us, this might not be possible. I won’t lie and say I don’t bristle a bit and think “back of the line, please!” when one of the back in the days says something that tips me off to their having not been down all along. But having said all this, I hope to get over it and enjoy the ride. One of my “twistas” (twitter + sista) recently said something that stuck with me. I didn’t remember to save it, so I have to paraphrase, but the idea was that no matter the ups and downs, as long as this ride keeps going I’m gonna be in the front row, screaming with my hands up. I couldn’t say it better myself. I’m looking forward to sharing the ride with anyone who wants to come along, whether you just discovered them for the very first time last night, you have just had your love for them reawakened, or you’ve been loving them forever. I mean that. I just needed to process through this so I don’t have to carry it with me for one second longer than necessary – Donnie raised me better than that!
Who’s with me?