Truth Rules

A blog for fans of Clay Aiken. It may take a while but in the end, truth will win out over lies. Keep it clean, no threats ... and if I don't like what you say I own the delete key.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

TWISTS & TURNS

We have a guest blogger today. My friend has written an article that's been published on Beavers On Idol and she has graciously shared it here with us.

THE TWISTS & TURNS OF BEING A CLAY AIKEN FAN
By Shari Johnson

Being a fan of Clay Aiken, the singer and the man is complex at best. I liken it to a relationship, one you have when you are young and unafraid to put all of yourself out there, dive in head and heart first and enjoy the craziness of the ride. Remember those times? When you loved with your every fiber and being? And remember when you lost that love, and that ability to jump right in quieted down? Wait; don’t let me get ahead of myself.

I am not old by any means; I am a single mother in my early 40’s. I am unfortunately no longer “crush-easy-young” and full of promise without reservation. Those days have passed me by. I have now built up my walls and defenses. Getting hurt does that to you, you are supposed to “learn” from each step, and most times that “learning” adds protection along the way. I can no longer in good conscience see a man across the room, have him smile or wink at me, and then throw caution to the wind to see where that smile will lead me, if it was meant to lead me at all. Age empowers us, it allows us to know that we can’t follow every dream or smile, it isn’t practical, and the probability of it leading us anywhere good is minimal, so we smile back and go on with our lives.

But, sometimes, not often, but once in awhile (or once in a lifetime) there are things though that can take us by surprise, even with all of our walls up and all of our knowledge. We can see a skinny kid with thick glasses, red hair and freckles sing on a TV show, and it can turn our life around. As I see it, the ‘wall’ of the TV was enough for us to let our collective selves go and run with this boy through his experience. And why shouldn’t we? When he winked, he invited us along the ride. When his voice pierced through us, it reminded us of those days gone by when we could “fall” without reservation. And so we fell, and we fell hard. We forgot those days gone by in lifting this boy up and decided to carry this young man in a united way to win the contest and take our hearts to the highest of highs. And even though we were heartbroken at the time that he didn’t ‘win’ we soared with him anyway, we lifted him up, in our eyes, just as he had asked. THIS WAS THE NIGHT and only the beginning of many more to come !

We owed the boy so much. He awoke many of us from our Rip Van Winkle like sleep in the world of music and gave us back that reckless abandon of youth. Before Clay, we had, much to our despair started to ask the kids to, “Turn that damn music down!” Oh, we had become our Mother’s and Grandmother’s, as is supposed to be. But now we were awake, we were again vital and alive! Our kids were begging us to, “Turn down that Clay Aiken music, PLEASE!!” and we didn’t! We learned every word, we sang every song. We again bought Tiger Beat and Pop magazine, boldly! We ate up everything they fed us about this boy, this phenomenon that was Clay! We broke records. And so did he! One after another the obstacles fell before him and us. He was our collective “CRUSH” and we were his collective “LADIES” and every thing he did or said was just perfect. Just like it was so many years ago when we fell in “puppy-love” for the first time. Oh we were young again, to be free, to be in love, and to be loved in return. We, the fans, Clay, the media, all of us were sweet 16 and loving it!!

Clay could do no wrong. And we couldn’t get enough of him. We went to the internet, we researched, and we found details, minute little details. Every one of them was endearing and “cute”! Isn’t it always like that with a new love? He couldn’t dance well…but it is so cute that he tried! BRAVO! He was a bit shy, yet confident and striking…that is not only cute but downright sexy! BRAVO CLAY! He cares; he likes puppies and children….wow, so sweet and so cute!! How can you not love a guy that cares?? He cries, when he sees his friends hurt, he is man enough to show it….How cute is that? How could we not love him? He was allergic to foods, (all together now) AWWWWWW Poor Baby! We will fix that, no nuts near our guy!! The list goes on and on, and every single thing was cute, adorable, sweet, and unpretentious. Just like the new puppy love, we loved it all, we ate it up. It felt great, it was such fun!

Things went along this way, for awhile. Sure there were some that were embroiled in the fan wars, and even though they were ugly, hateful and non productive (I am not condoning this part of the fan-dom, it hurt many people, but that is another article all together) they still didn’t stop the collective “Clay Love Train” from riding along.

WOOOT HOOOT, All Aboard The Clay Aiken Train, it is coming to your town! When I got to my concert, finally, I couldn’t take my eyes off the young boy, the way he moved, the way he generated confidence and sheer joy, it was awesome! Every one around me saw the same thing, this boy was incredible, and there was no doubt about it. Then came the TV shows, and the boy was on fire. Our boy could do no wrong!! Then there was the album, and more promotion and TV! Clay was everywhere, and we were with him. There we sat; listening to the same story over and over and we ate it up. We had stars in our eyes; we tripped over each other trying to impress upon him how much he impressed us. Oh the ignorance was bliss!!

There were things only “WE” internet fans knew. Clack, ahh the glorious Clack, well hidden and those of us who were lucky and chosen were allowed to see. And those fans who risked life and limb (OK not life & limb, but Jerome, yikes!) to get this Clack were awed and given celebrity status, and they deserved it! Many fans have taken pictures and video that rivals any professionals out there. And the insiders, the ones that would leak information, give us snippets of what was to come. Oh how they had us eating out of their hands! The dry spells? Oh we had them, unfortunately especially us in the Western US States and those fans abroad (yes there are many, believe it or not). But the fan base, they found ways to help the other fans. One fan calls another, and then once the contact was established the fan at the show would leave their cell phone on for the entire show. On the other end, the fan listening would either write to other fans what they were hearing on a fan board or in a chat room. Some fans were even smart enough to organize voice chats, and they would play the concert via speakerphone to all those unfortunate fans, sharing the voice of the man that enraptured us all. Was the sound good, well of course not, but all the same those “cell-certs” were a unique and chill inducing moments that I again am grateful for and will never forget.

There are so many things that the fans began sharing, especially the love for the special man that inspired all of us in our own special way, Clay Aiken. Many of us wanted to so badly share with Clay how special he was what it was he awoke in us, how he brought us together to share lifelong memories and moments that we would never forget. Of the 10 thousand or so of us online, in the hundreds of fan sites, we all knew the odds of sharing our story with Clay or anyone even close to him was close to impossible. The next best thing was sharing it with each other, which we did often. From our own Concert or CD reviews, to the play by play of a personal meeting or TV show. Personal thoughts, feelings and fantasies were shared openly and we were safe to share them with each other. It was a community, all of us brought together by one single man on one TV show; it was surreal and unprecedented, to us anyway.

And protecting Clay? Well we did and if we didn’t, we most certainly wanted to protect him from anyone who didn’t “get” him. There were times we were passionate and fierce in our protection. The Mama Bears turned into Mama Barracuda’s protecting Clay. We couldn’t help ourselves, after all Clay didn’t care what age, color, height, weight or whoever we were, and we loved him for it! He liked us just the way we were, he was a gentleman when he spoke of us, and he always said he had the best fans out there! He appreciated us, and our efforts, but sadly after a few times of trying to enlighten those who were not blessed to see the man that we saw, collectively we saw that it was ridiculous to continue. Some of us would continue, but most of us would not. Those who didn’t get Clay were missing out, and we didn’t want to waste our time.

And then there were the friendships, I will never be able to say enough about the friendships! Oh how I especially needed the welcomed diversion from my real life! Not only the diversion that Clay brought, but the new friends! Oh, I hadn’t had so many new girlfriends since High School!! How I could miss being online with women that knew my every little feeling about this stranger, this collective boyfriend, without my having to say it? It doesn’t get any better than that!! I had girlfriends again, the joy, the silliness, all the ups and downs that come with girlfriends! Oh I wouldn’t take back a minute of it, not a single second. I don’t know if others would, but why would I? It was a glorious and ground breaking time for me, for us, for Clay, for everyone.

Then it began to trickle down, the rush and the newness of it all, that joy couldn’t last forever, it really never does. After the huge tidal wave of success we rode along with him, things began to slow down a bit. Every little story wasn’t new anymore, and hearing them again and again started to become boring. Hearing the same song was also getting old. I remember thinking, someone please ask him about anything else, and this is so old. I watched, I had a choice, I didn’t have to, but I did, but I began to grow restless. Even when this started to happen, Clay would find something new for us to talk and gush about. There would be a new song, a new show, a new tour, a holiday CD, in depth interviews, he wrote a book; the list goes on and on. Clay didn’t stay in one place for too long, he toured and toured and toured, he worked and worked and worked. Even when he was behind the scenes he gave us something new to talk about a lot of the time. This continued for a couple of years.

There was no specific time when the honeymoon ended between Clay and his “Ladies”. For some it hasn’t ended yet. But for many of us, the newness, the giddiness and the young love type of feelings have waned. It isn’t anyone’s fault really; I mean the love is still there, it just isn’t so “awestruck” anymore. Like any ‘relationship’ some of the newness has worn off. The show/story/song isn’t as exciting the second or tenth time you see it as it was the first. You know how all experts say that the first year of marriage is the hardest? After that year of bliss, well the little things start to annoy you. Funny, they didn’t bug you before, but now it just isn’t so endearing. Now, the internet fandom as a whole isn’t as happy anymore, and when we are, it is short lived. We know it can never be as it was, but that doesn’t mean that even the wisest of us isn’t disappointed when the feelings don’t come back as they were with each new sighting. And for that, we can’t help but feel let down, as our expectations have not been met. Who ever said we could have expectations? Well no one of course! That doesn’t mean we don’t have them. We miss him. We miss the excitement and promise that was and IS him. We aren’t used to going so long without him.

The very differences that made this relationship with Clay Aiken the singer, the man, so special and so invigorating was one of the very things that it was missing! If any relationship is to last, it must have an unconditional sort of love, or a partnership without expectations at the very least. And most importantly, a common desire for all parties in the relationship to make it work, no matter what. Not only one or two of those things were lacking, all of them were! None of us entered this “relationship” with our heads on straight! No one thought it would or wouldn’t last, we were just drawn into it, and for the first time in a long time we fans just went with the feeling. I know that I never in a million years thought that Clay Aiken or any kid from a TV show would reopen my heart to music, my passion for music and entertaining, or my feelings of “newness” again. I also don’t believe for a minute that a young man from North Carolina who waited in line for a TV show ever thought that his whole life was going to change, forever, in an instant and along with it, change the lives of so many people watching him. It was new territory for all concerned. The love is still there, the excitement is still evident, but it isn’t just “ours” anymore. It isn’t new. It isn’t shiny. It isn’t unique. And now it is no longer just a natural uncanny ability to touch us at our core. It is a business now, bottom line it is Clay’s job now. The very thing we wanted for him; great success is the very thing that keeps him guarded from all of us. It is a double edged sword so to say. What an irony.

Through the 3 years we have gotten to know and learned to love and respect Clay Aiken; the man, the singer, the entertainer, we must have come to know one thing if nothing else. Clay is unpredictable. And because of his unpredictable style he will continue to be an amazing worthwhile entertainer for as long as he wants to, and as long as we watch and enjoy him. He will not always wear what we want, or sing what we want, or even tell us his favorite color (wink) but he will always have his way of touching us in that way only he knows how to do. And no matter how tired we all are of waiting and no matter whom else we enjoy on the music scene, there will only be one Clay Aiken.

And no matter how many fans Clay gathers along his journey we will always be his “FIRST FANS” and he our “GUY” too. We will always have a special place in his heart, and he in ours. No one outside of us will ever really know of the connection that was, the connection that is, and the connection that will be. Even if we walk away, go on with our lives, find new and wonderful things to do and enjoy we will always know that voice, we will always remember that first time we heard it, where we were, how it felt, what he wore, etc. No one else has to understand; as long as we do it will exist.

No, people like Clay Aiken don’t walk into your lives everyday, and fans like his are truly once in a lifetime.
--------------------------------

20 Comments:

Anonymous lizzybutts said...

Thank you...what a lovely well thought out piece....I will copy and save it....it is sad that as others discover him he will no longer be just "ours" but that is what I wished for all along...it is a double edged sword..but it will be worth it

July 02, 2006 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing that over Truth. What a great read!

I'm so lucky to be one of his "First Fans" - it's been a lot of fun and a great ride.

July 02, 2006 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also was there from the first audition! I can understand every word written here.

I will continue to be a fan. Not ONE thing will take this away from me.

July 02, 2006 4:55 PM  
Anonymous see4evereyes said...

Recently, I was giving much thought to being a Clay fan. I wondered to myself what it might have been like had I never came to the internet to find out all I could about him.

This article touches on what I would have missed had I never googled "Clay Aiken".

Thank you so much for bringing this over here. I am very proud to be an internet fan.

July 02, 2006 5:23 PM  
Anonymous NC Gal said...

Thank you TR, that was beautiful. Made me all misty. I agree with the others, it's been a pleasure to be here from the audition.


Good job!

July 02, 2006 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely, touching, so true post. Thank you so much Shari for putting into words what we Claymates all have and are experiencing. HOwever, after 3 & 1/2 years, I'm STILL in the throes of young love. I still swoon and thud at the sight, sound, or even thought of Clay. I fully expect the near future to bring even more excitement than we have ever known. We've had no problem sharing our love for him with one another. I expect us to have no problem sharing our love for him with the WORLD!

July 02, 2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger GayMarie said...

Hi TR... wonderful blog... loved every word. First time I have ever made any comment on a blog. Your's was so true. He had me at "Take", and that will never change...I really DO feel like I am 12 when I tell people my love for Clay. Just today I was thinking.... what would I have been doing if I never knew him? Gads, I shudder to think....

July 02, 2006 6:08 PM  
Anonymous billie said...

I'm one of the first too. God I love him, always will. We have all been on the ground floor now it's
time to soar. Get ready for the ride of your life. Come on Clay
enough forplay, were ready!!!!

July 02, 2006 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully expresses what so many of us felt/feel/continue to feel about Clay.

I'm STILL in the throes of first passion and cannot get enough of the man. It's been wonderful to see him grow and mature on his unexpected journey - from a beautiful young boy to a magnificent young man.

Is he perfect? Of course not. That's part of appeal. He always does the best he can, and his best is usually pretty darned amazing.

I surely won't go into all he has done and the projects he has taken on - we all know what they are and how he's put 100% and more of himself into them.

Just want to say that he had me from 'take' and I'm never leaving him. I'm in this 'marriage' for life.

I simply love him.

July 02, 2006 7:07 PM  
Blogger Oh Crap said...

Don't tell anyone but I'm still in the goo-goo eyes stage. He still takes my breath away like he did, week after week, watching him transform from adorable geek to Oh SO Gorgeous where have you been all my life Alpha Male with a heart.

Seeing him on AI5 after all this mess, I realized for the 999,999,999 time that there is nobody like Clay and never will be again.

This article just brings it all home.

July 02, 2006 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Aiken4Clay said...

Thank you for the beautiful story. I also have been a fan since day one. No matter what anyone says of does it will never change how I feel about Mr. Clay Aiken. I have cheered for him, I have cried for him. Clay is a part of my life. He brings me happiness when I find it hard to smile, his voice eases the pain I feel all the time. I will, not and I mean WILL NOT every let anyone make me think twice about it.

July 02, 2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Count me as one of Clay's "first fans". I've been here since the audition and I'll be here as long as he is.
True the "fangirliness" dies down from time to time (but does resurface pretty easily I must say..lol) but underneath that is just a deep love for this beautiful man with a big heart and an even bigger voice.
Robin

July 02, 2006 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. For me the Connection Still Is and probably always will be.

Clay just has a magic about him.

But, I will give him all the time and space he needs to grow as a person, a man, a talent - - no matter what.

July 02, 2006 9:03 PM  
Blogger rtm said...

Robin......you said exactly what I feel. I haven't been here since the audition, it was Disco night for me (that looooooonnnnnngggg note in Everlasting Love hooked me forever!) but it's been like a magic carpet ride ever since. He is an incredible man with an even more incredible talent and I can't imagine his not being a part of my life.

July 02, 2006 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RTM- that lonnnngg note in EL is still one of my favorite moments from AI2. Clay is such a gem. I'm just so over these haters - if that's all they've got to do with their lives then too bad, so sad for them. I'm still convinced there is only a handful of them, I mean how many people in their right minds would spend their money and their time on an entertainer they don't like for crying out loud?? I can't believe there's that many completely pointless people in the world (I could be wrong....:-)
Robin

July 02, 2006 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have ridden the claytrain for the last three years and wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Some have tried to derail that train, but have not been successful. Thank goodness!

I'm ready for the train to leave the station and take another trip, and I"ll be the first one on board.

July 03, 2006 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I have ridden the claytrain for the last three years and wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Paulus wishes so bad he could ride the Clay train.

July 03, 2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*sniff sniff* huge lump in my throat.

Waiting for the CD release so we can all have more
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" moments.

Loved the post, thanks for bringing it over.

A lateblooming fan, but a forever fan never the less!!

July 03, 2006 6:22 PM  
Anonymous billie said...

tr, on foc you said you would be
adding something today to your blog
are you still going to?

July 03, 2006 7:22 PM  
Blogger Truth Rules said...

Billie, this was the blog I was going to add today. I didn't expect BOI to publish it till today but they published it yesterday. So I went ahead and added it early. I did mention it was early on the other blog.

July 03, 2006 8:01 PM  

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