Don’t meet your heroes?

They say you should never meet your heroes. But I’ve been fortunate enough to meet all of mine. 

I’ve also been wildly lucky in that all of them have been extremely kind, wonderful, gracious men who have been nothing but good to me. 

In these times, I’m hyper-aware of just how lucky that makes me. 

The #MeToo campaign, the brave women of Hollywood coming forward to expose their powerful abusers, the everyday women speaking up because the day has finally come that they feel safe enough to do so, all of it is so needed. I do not consider myself a part of it, except as an ally; I have never been targeted in the same way. But I am all too aware of the reality of sexual abuse and harassment, and the effects it has on the survivors. I have seen it up close and personal; I have seen my inner circle torn apart by it more than once. It is horrific; rape, molestation, harassment have no place in this world at all and as happy as I am that people keep coming forward, exposing their abusers and sharing their stories so others know they aren’t alone, I hate that they have these stories to share in the first place. 

And as someone who has spent quite a bit of time in the company of influential men, it brings into sharp focus how fortunate I’ve been and how awful it must be to be taken advantage of by your heroes like that. That you’ve waited all your life to meet; you feel your career in the arts is reaching new heights only to be used; I just can’t even imagine. 

My favourites are not perfect. Just a week or so ago, an unauthorized biography got put into the tabloid spotlight by highlighting a very old, oft-reported incident involving Lindsey Buckingham. It was not a sexual abuse incident; more of a physical fight. He has since changed his life and all involved have clearly forgiven him and moved forward, and said so. And the Eagles are well known for their love of the groupies back in the day, which could be seen in many different ways, some of which would certainly be unflattering. Again though, they changed their lives and are definitely not the same people as they were 40 years ago. Also to be 100% clear, when I refer to myself as a groupie or “my groupie life,” I have never been that kind of groupie. Ever. I’m using it almost ironically; I follow bands, I’ve met them, and that’s where it has always stayed. There was a time when I was younger and single that I may have been willing, sure, but nothing has ever happened or even been spoken of. 

So I’ve been struggling a bit with my blog and its place in the world today. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of the #MeToo campaign by glorifying these powerful men, but at the same time, there have been no allegations to date against any of the people I speak about here, and I want to continue to talk about the wonderful experiences I have had with them. I believe people can, for the most part, change, and I believe that they have. 

The one thing that keeps coming to mind is a time in 2006 when I found myself in the lobby of Lindsey Buckingham’s hotel. I won’t go into much detail here as it’s part of a longer tale that ultimately changed my life, but part of it really stands out to me now in light of everything mentioned above. I was in Chicago for the first time, and had no clue where, exactly, this hotel was in relation to the few landmarks I had memorized. My friends and I had gone over there on a whim, and happened to be right. We were lucky enough to meet Lindsey earlier that evening. Now, it had gotten late, and I knew the last train back to the place I was staying must be leaving soon. I had no access to the internet of course; this was before smartphones. So I was calling 2 friends asking them to Google, from home, my location and directions to the train station, and the time of that last train. I had only $20 to my name; enough for the train trip and food and that was it, certainly not enough for taxis should something go wrong. I had extremely poor reception and kept losing my calls, resulting in long periods of time where I was just dialling and swearing at my phone, praying I would get through to one of them long enough to get the information I needed before missing the train. 

In short, had I missed that train, I would’ve had nowhere to go and likely would’ve had to go sit in an all night Dunkin Donuts or something until I could get a train in the morning. It was cold, Chicago in late October. 

And Lindsey was standing right behind me, watching quietly as this all unfolded. 

He never intervened or spoke. But I made eye contact with him a few times and he offered a few concerned smiles. Again, there were extended periods of time where all I was doing was pacing in a circle, trying to get reception, speaking to no-one. 

If he had ever had bad intentions. If he had ever wanted to use his influence, take advantage of a fan. There’s your chance, man. That was it. I was right there. He knew I was poor, alone, idolized him, and had nowhere to go. But he waited quietly, while I sorted myself out. 

Eventually I found out that we had enough time to make it to the train station. I got directions and knew that my friends would be able to drop me off before that final train. Only at this point did Lindsey kind of nod, wave, and get in the elevator. 

I know. Maybe if I had established that I’d messed up and wouldn’t have a place to stay, maybe then something untoward could’ve happened. But there was ample opportunity for that. He could have easily said hey, why don’t you stay with me. You can stay with me. But he absolutely never did. I believe if the worst had happened, maybe he was waiting to offer me money for a taxi or something. In fact, in later years, more than once he and his band have checked in with me to make sure I will be safe and offered to help get me home if needed. So I honestly believe that he had the best intentions there, because if he hadn’t, man what a perfect opportunity. 

I had a similar experience with a member of Glenn Frey’s crew, too. Again, he had only straight forward, above board intentions and was nothing but kind. 

I am truly blessed to be able to say that. I know that, now more than ever. I am so thankful that my heroes seem to be different, seem to be genuine. Do I know every interaction they’ve ever had? No. But I choose to look at my experiences with them, and the way they’ve treated me and my friends, and the person they seem to be today, because that’s all I have to go on. It makes me incredibly happy to be able to say that they’ve been wonderful to all of us.

And I hope that anyone who is reading here, doesn’t mistake my stories for glorification of celebrities or dismissal of the #MeToo campaign and its implications. FAR from it. I also hope that I can continue to share my stories here and keep some good celebrity stories going, because I think that is needed too. 

It’s all so tricky. I hope this made any sense at all. And now that my work situation has stabilized some, I hope to be back a couple times a week, talking about good times and happy things. And meeting heroes. 

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