January 24, 2017

How Many Shows Have You Been To?

Recently, an acquaintance who is not a fan asked me how many Hanson shows I've been to. I have to admit, I'm always hesitant to give a concrete or even ballpark number to someone that I don't think will "get it." It's not because I'm embarrassed or because I don't want anyone to know, but because sometimes giving a high number feels like the fastest way to be written off as crazy. Of course not everyone will have a negative reaction, and there are plenty of people that can respect being passionate about traveling for a band even if they've never done it themselves. Still, saying “I’ve been to a hundred shows” seems more likely to kickstart whispered jokes than high fives, especially when the person asking doesn't know you very well.

While I’m not ashamed about the number of shows I’ve been to, I realized that maybe the best way to describe it to someone on the outside is to say that forming an opinion about me based on how many times I’ve seen Hanson is like me forming an opinion about you based on how many times you’ve gone to a family reunion, or how many times you’ve eaten at your favorite restaurant. Do we have to set limits on meaningful experiences? Am I supposed to react a certain way depending on your answer? Is it even normal to quantify the things that make us happy?

And lastly, the real question here, the one I find myself asking internally any time I get a negative reaction to the fact that I follow a band: Do you already respect who I am as a person? Because if you do, then finding out how many Hanson shows I've attended shouldn't change your opinion of me any more than the number of apples you've eaten in your lifetime should affect my opinion of you. Hanson isn't for everyone. Following a band isn't for everyone. Expensive handbags and football rivalries and video games aren't for everyone. But mutual respect, compassion, and acceptance can be, and hopefully--if you're lucky--passion can be, too. So whether you're a fellow fan or a curious friend, I hope you've found your Hanson. And when someone asks you how many times, whether your number is five or five hundred, the answer will always be "Not enough."


Mel said...


Jody L. Powell said...

Thanks for helping me explain it. Perfect answer.

Becky said...

I love this!