Here we go. This is a long post and I don't know quite where to begin. A month ago, I sort of accidentally shot a LANY show and LANY's fans found the blog post and shared it dozens of times until it reached frontman Paul and cleared 1000 views. In one month. To give you perspective, most of my blog posts have about 37 views. On a good day, maybe 100 or 200. Nowhere near 1000.
I knew LANY had lots of fans, but I didn't realize how dedicated they were until that moment. When I'd refresh my analytics page every day to see another dozen or two views, I realized I'd stumbled upon something bigger. And these humans have been so kind in sharing my work. Even in the past few days, when my photos have been shared, they've been credited. And they've said such kind words. I was won over.
So I decided to do something at the Minneapolis show: fan photos. I've done a couple fan photos before, but nothing to this extent. But, then again, nothing to this extent had ever happened to any of my blog posts before.
And last Saturday was the perfect time: my current location was also theirs. Minneapolis felt like both summer and fall in the best ways and even by mid-afternoon there was a block-long line of mostly girls and some boys, all clad in white sneakers and denim and handmade shirts, proclaiming love for the band. Hands clutched roses and eyes sparkled nervously in anticipation. There was a tent and a card game and pizza and more faces than I can count.
After meeting so many of these adorable little humans, I feel quite endeared to them. I want to adopt you all and take you to my favourite donut shops and thank you for being so kind. Which I realize sounds weird so I won't do that, but know I think you're darling and I'm so entirely grateful for you. Though I look young, I'm nearly twice as old as some of you, rather closer to the age of the LANY boys. And I feel like you're like my little musical sisters (and brothers) and the cutest humans.
So this is for you. Because it's easy to forget. And if someone hasn't told you recently, I want to tell you:
You're beautiful and valuable and I believe in you. Don't stop being passionate about things. Create. Take risks and don't be afraid to ask for help. Live honestly and don't be embarrassed of what you like (I can sing every Taylor Swift album front-to-back--no shame). Keep looking at the world with wonder and don't let anyone convince you to be cynical. Live unashamedly enthusiastically. Stop for sunsets and cute animals. Chase light. Put sprinkles on all of your food. Skip and dance instead of walking just because. Write poetry about good days and bad days and normal days. It's okay to have normal days. Not every day has to be spectacular to be important. Don't let anyone tell you your life isn't worthwhile or important. Or that you have to be famous to be valuable. It's not true. You're infinitely valuable. Being cool is overrated. I've never been cool (I used to own off-brand pink Crocs); it's okay. Life is more than followers or likes--the social media kind or the kind from a boy or girl. Sing obnoxiously loud to the radio because you have lungs and you like the melody. Drink lots of water. Dream really really really big because I believe that dreams are immensely important and you can create something spectacular. Don't let your dreams daunt you. Learn to ask good questions and listen well--this is a game changer and something I'm still learning. It's okay to rest sometimes. Be kind even when it's hard. You'll have good days and you'll have bad days; just take it one day at a time and don't be afraid to ask for help on the bad days. Run up hills and roll down them and jump into leaves and into puddles (I still do this) because life is short and you'll grow older but you don't have to grow up, I promise. Yes, adulting is hard (I'm not good at it), but it doesn't have to make you boring and it doesn't have to steal your joy. Hope is powerful and love is powerful and you're not alone. We're in this together, okay?
That was long, but I'm full of words and I like you lots and want you to know those things. That all being said, here are the photos of your lovely faces.
Instead of curating the photos into groups like I did with the concert images, these are exactly in the order I took them (with the one exception of the very first image). I started at the beginning of the line, by the gals who won meet-and-greets, and by the folks who'd be waiting since the day before, and took photos all the way to the corner of the block. These are the faces.
I don't have a brilliant conclusion or one photo that sums up the entire afternoon, but I just have a few words. LANY fans, you're beautiful. Thank you for your kindness and for welcoming me on the internet and in real life. I like you lots.