Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Golden Rule - The Hard Way

Before we get into my latest epistle let's get something straight.

I am nobody.

You probably don't know my name. Or where I live. Or my family's names. Or my complete biography.

What's more, you don't care.

I had one experience where it was fun to be gawked at like a freak show. It was a local historic society's street fair where the locals showed up in period dress. Tourists showed up for the street fair and because Pete and I dressed the part, total strangers were lining up for a photo op with one or both of us. I could have soaked that up for weeks but the fair was only one day.

If you've been following this blog (or if you care to go back to the beginning for some background) you know that I lost my love of music for ten years over a conflict online.

If it was two people bitchslapping each other by email, it wouldn't have been a big deal.

I was singled out by a celebrity with an attitude problem thanks to some warped fans with their own insecurities. Intentionally or not, he made me a "local" celebrity too. And that was my first trip through a couple circles of Hell.

I was accused of revealing personal information about this man that I never had. The minute that accusation was posted, several dozen people started an argument about it. Most joined in on the side of their idol. I must have been terrible. A liar. A psychopath. I had never met most of these people, or even spoken to them online but there was an advantage to be gained by agreeing with the man they wanted attention from. On the other side there were my friends and supporters who knew that I was none of the terrible things that were posted plus others who thought that the "idol" was off his rocker. I was wonderful, creative, generous, misunderstood but patient. Where the hell did they get that from?

So here I am in the middle of an argument about me. People that I had met were passing around anecdotes of their encounters with me and a full-blown analysis and conclusion of my worth as a human being. People I had NEVER interacted with heard these stories - some benevolent, some not - and added their own perspectives, embellishing the details as they went. The worst thing I did was try to defend myself. Woooooo......bad move! It didn't resolve anyone's questions it was just more fuel for the fire.

Once the official conflict was over and done with (my "crush" and I actually called a verbal "cease-fire" in a private chat and made nice in the fan world) the speculation refused to die. In fact it mutated into studying other aspects of my life. It wasn't just something to talk about. We're talking full-on obsession.

Strangers drove by my house taking pictures.

People who were only names on a screen watched for me at concerts - and sneaked pictures when I wasn't looking. Worse than that was exaggerating every move I made and every word I said. I wore a tank top and leggings to a concert in Kansas; some asshole who thought he was being funny decided to tell his friends I was wearing babydoll lingerie in public.

I lost count of the hang-up calls at home. I put the state police on speed-dial.

Then the hang-up calls started coming at my job. I mentioned in an earlier post that I took a voluntary demotion at work. This was part of the reason why.

The only friends that I had left were ones who also had run-ins with this particular musician. Their experiences were like mine so we ended up exiled together. Precious little common ground was better than none, for all of us.

THREE YEARS after the initial silliness that snowballed out of control and I was gone from the fan world, I had a fiance, and music was a memory for me, one of the obsessives revived his habit and decided to make me the focus of his time again. Speculation on what I was doing, where I was going. It wasn't all negative, some had me envisioned as this powerful Hedda Hopper world traveller type. I was "seen" in places I'd never been! The tales were taller than ever about what I was like as a person. The hang-up calls began again. They stopped when Pete answered using his "don't even THINK about messing with me" voice.

I am nobody. I have no interest in being in the public eye. Not in entertainment or politics or anything. I am married so I have a different name. I ditched my nickname. I live in a different city. And I trust no one that isn't family.

My outlook on humanity is guarded. My name is no where in this blog. Neither is my husband's. (You don't really think his name is Pete, do you??) It will be a cold day in Hell when my childrens' names end up on line. I will never allow such a public violation to happen again. Only three people on the Manilow network know my name. I hope and pray every day I made the right choices in that.

Every post, every story in this blog is the God's honest truth but I always leave out certain details in case some of those old stalkers are still around. Sounds crazy? As recently as 2007 someone was trying to ask questions about where I currently live. They either love the person the rumors created, or they love to hate her. It's not crazy - it's fear and survival.

I only got the smallest taste of this kind of life. It's not part of my career. I'm nobody. I'm not even the person in the rumors or stories.

It's horrible. If that's what being a celebrity is, you can have it.

I don't read gossip magazines or watch "entertainment" TV shows. I don't care who someone is, or what their career is, or what they've done even in public, they don't deserve the harrassment and stalking that fuels those kinds of media. That tiny little taste I got was more than enough education for me. I wouldn't wish that kind of attention on my worst enemy's dog. I'm not going to participate in it when it comes to someone who's music I enjoy.

I'm jus' sayin....

No one knows you but they all "love" you
Just don't let them get too much of you
Careful, man
Don't forget you're the Shadow Man


  1. You said it YBA. And you said it WELL. Thanks for the insight and for showing us that no one deserves that kind of harassment; I don't care WHO they are!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, TF. I'm going to have to post a 2nd chapter to this to clarify that WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT WAS THOSE DUMBASS PHOTOS AND VIDEOS CAPTURED OF BARRY OVER JULY 4!! It's not about me, it's just that my experience gave me a bit of extra sensitivity to that kind of situation and a lot of people don't get that speculation in public is not harmless, even if the intention is completely innocent or otherwise good.

  3. YBA,
    You said it so well. If any one of our lives were looked at under a microscope like many celebrities are, none of us would look good either. A photo is just the freezing of one moment in time, what happened before, what happened after. It is so out of context. Living in LA for three years, I saw paparazzi around Hollyweird sitting in wait to catch something. It didnt matter what it was, they would catch it and some magazine would buy it. I feel so sorry for anyone that has to go through that. After a while they have to get immune to it and say, I'm just going to live my life, and screw the rest. BUT then you have the so called "friends" that pic apart the photo - that is another story. Okay, I'm done.


  4. Some of them..are a bit slow on the uptake or better yet, IN DENIAL. Good luck with breaking thru the obvious and getting them to think. If anyone can do it, you can!