I believe in fangirl-ing.
Here’s the deal:
When someone inspires you, you should tell them. Tell them face-to-face or write them a letter or send an email or skywrite it with an airplane above their house. I don’t care how you tell them. Just tell them. We need to know when we inspire one another.
God uses people to help people. Often Person-A never even knows God used them to help Person-B. And then, one day, Person-A may be feeling really down. They may be feeling worthless. They may feel like nothing they have done really matters.
That’s when it helps to hear from Person-B.
I tell you this coming off a weekend where I totally fangirl-ed.
Eight years ago, I was a poet with no idea what to do with all of my poems. I sent them out and published a few, but that just didn’t feel like my purpose. I knew God gave me words but I was at a loss for how to use them. And then, on the big screen in a church we were visiting, a poet appeared. She spoke her words with passion. And a room full of people were hearing those words and thinking about those words.
A dream was born in me that day.
I didn’t do anything with it then. A year later, we moved to Tupelo, the place I first saw Amena Brown performing spoken word on a big screen. At that point, all I had done with my new dream was watch a lot of Amena’s videos and picture myself performing spoken word inside my own head. My friend, Ashley, ordered me Amena’s DVD for my birthday. I used it when teaching poetry at homeschool co-op. I offered it to our creative team to use during worship. I slowly started to tell people that I wanted to do something like that one day.
But I didn’t know how to do it. There were no open mic nights in Tupelo, Mississippi.
It was one of our associate pastors, Sapada, that started having me memorize and recite poetry as part of our worship service. He asked me to do the thing that scared me… the thing I wanted to do with all my heart.
And I did it.
And then I was invited to perform a poem at Asia Rainey’s show when she came to Tupelo. And I did it. And I felt good… right… alive.
So this past weekend, when I was hostess in the green room for a youth gathering in Jackson, it was no coincidence. Many months ago, I saw Amena Brown’s picture on the event poster and I sent a message to the guy putting it together (a friend of ours). I said, “Mike, does Amena need a ride to or from the airport? Is there ANYTHING I can do to meet Amena?” And he put me in the green room, taking care of the band and speakers, the DJ (Amena’s husband) and the dancers… Lots and lots of people. My introverted heart was nervous, but excited.
Now, a caveat on fangirl-ing. When I say fangirl, I don’t mean the teeny-bopper screaming, “sign my bra” bit that I have seen at concerts. If that is how you fangirl, that is your business. I prefer conversation. Also, I don’t do small talk. I’m not good at it. So when I say fangirl, I mean meeting someone you admire and being honest about admiring them while still remembering they are a person and not some superhero.
In the end, superheroes aren’t nearly as admirable as real people. They have superpowers. A regular person does not. And that’s what makes them amazing… a regular person has to overcome all of the obstacles regular people face. THAT is inspiring.
I met Amena, and we talked about writing and performing and also about life, about marrying youth ministers, about books we read, about people we admire… about fangirling. Because we both do it, and we’ve even fangirled over some of the same people (hello, Nikki Giovanni). It was wonderful to discover I like Amena. Sometimes, you admire someone from afar and up close there is no connection at all. That wasn’t the case this weekend, and I came home content, smiling, with new friends and new inspiration.
I believe in fangirling.
My challenge to you today is this: Go ye forth and fangirl.
*originally published on Middle Places