Things I’d Tell My Younger Self | Day 13*

*Yes, I realize that there is no day 11 or 12.  When life is too busy, you have to choose to let some things go.  I may or may not go back and fill in the gaps.

Dear Chris (age 13),
You go girl! Love what you love and love it all the way.

When I was in junior high school, I was the closest I’ve ever been to obsessed with a band.   I’m not sure if teenage girls still do this, but my friends and I had binders of photos of dudes cut out from Teen Bop and Seventeen and Tiger Beat, all in their page protectors. I’m sitting here thinking about that and pondering how weird that sounds to me now. But then, it was just something I did. So many cute guys to look at. I was in love with the Coreys, Patrick Swayze, and the boys from New Kids On the Block…unashamedly so. Oh, 1987-1990, how I loved you.

new_kids320I had huge life sized posters covering my wall of each of the new kids. Jordan, Jon, Danny, Joey, Donnie. Sigh. Jordan was my favorite (I named my cat after him) but I secretly loved Donnie, the bad boy…who, incidentally, turned out to be a really underrated actor (better than his brother in my humble opinion). You could literally see the New Kids through my second story bedroom window if you were standing on the sidewalk across the street.

When I was in 8th grade, 95.5 WIFC, one of the local radio stations did a giveaway of NKOTB tickets. I knew getting those tickets was my destiny. I was caller 95 for the first round and was put into the drawing for the tickets…which were won by a sixth grader named Heather Spencer who, unbeknownst to her, became my arch nemesis until we later became friends.

At some point in the midst of my obsession, I remember having an impassioned discussion in my best friend’s kitchen. Her mom was a great lover of music (we used to listen to her 50s and 60s album singles, learning to love some great “oldies”) and knew WAY more than me about taste making (I know this now). In the midst of the conversation, in which I was declaring what amazing musicians NKOTB were, I mentioned the basic truth that they were “better than the Rolling Stones.”

She laughed at me. Deservedly so.

To be fair, they have a lot of similarities. I mean, they all make music and there’s five of them in each band.

Okay. That’s all I’ve got.

But sometimes loving something isn’t about how great it is. Sometimes it’s about simple pleasures. Sometimes you love something just because it makes you happy. Like…I don’t get loving cats…but I’m not going to fault someone who does.

I would love to say that my first musical obsession was an iconic band of complicated lyrics and melodies, but here’s the truth…

I love pop music. There. I said it. I’m not ashamed.

I was singing NKOTB’s Funky, Funky Christmas in the dressing room backstage in the theatre a couple of days ago.

New Kids on the Block may not be The Rolling Stones or REM or U2 (who I now love and was the first band I actually saw live…click here for a much more evolved 13 year old’s music obsession) but they’ll always be on the playlist in my head. They’ll always pop in when I least expect them. They’ll always be the first band that connected my musical taste to my oldest nephew (I mean…he would have been 4 or 5 at the time but I’ll take it.) And that all still makes me happy.

They’ve been back on tour for a few years now and I’ve missed them the couple times they’ve come through LA. I wanted so badly to see them when they first went on tour again but thought that there was no way that any of my friends would want to do that. I was wrong…several of my friends have seen them. But I didn’t ask because I didn’t want anyone to make me feel silly for something that I used to love.

Someday I’ll probably take that inner 13 year old to see them perform. And I might even scream like a little girl…just for the fun of it. Because it’s okay to love what you love. Even if it’s a boy band from 1988.

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