In the past couple of years, people have started to wear safety pins as a social statement to raise awareness of safety for minorities and others who are often found in unsafe situations in society. One could say that I have jumped into that bandwagon, which I suppose in a way I have, but it's with my own personal twist.
My "safety pins" are Duran Duran buttons.
Yes, I am completely serious and not making light of the social statement at hand. I am standing for the safety of those who are made to feel shame or fear for loving the music that they love.
And this is why:
When Duran Duran graced the airwaves with songs from their Seven and the Ragged Tiger album in the mid 80s, I became a Duranie. I was enchanted with the band as their music became my safe place during my tumultuous adolescence. In the same way that a blanket fort can be a safe place in the physical world, my music was where I could find peace in myself, as if it was something tangible that I could wrap around me like a cloak. It kept me together when everything else would come apart.
When I was 20, I got married... to a nightmare. My world, and everything in it, was no longer safe, largely because anything that made me happy that didn't involve him made him jealous. My music was one of the first things he made to go away. Bit by bit, over time, he forced me to convince myself that I really didn't like Duran Duran anymore, that it was childish junk. It was engrained into me that disagreeing with him and liking Duran Duran anyway would land me in physical, perhaps even mortal, danger.
Several years later, I got out of that marriage, though the wounds, both physical and emotional, remained raw for a long time. I became involved with a very supportive man who encouraged me to be the person I am meant to be and to enjoy the things that I like, including my music. He soon became my husband and has been my rock ever since.
When Duran Duran was coming to Seattle in 2008, he asked me if I wanted to go to their concert. At first I said no. Even though I was safe now, even though it was ok for me to enjoy the music that made me come alive, the scars were still there, convincing me that I didn't really like Duran Duran very much and something really bad might happen to me if I showed too much enthusiasm. I even feared I might die. The fear was that deep. I mean, I was healed enough at that point that Icould listen to their CDs, and I was intrigued by a super-Duranie I heard on the radio who called himself Durandy, yet my going to a concert and doing the whole Duranie thing at the time seemed almost foreign to me and was still well beyond my comfort zone.
But my husband knew me better and he refused to allow my inhibitions to speak for me. He bothered and pestered me until I admitted that I wanted to go see them. And I am so glad he did. At the concert, I was able to break through so many layers of scars and terror and, for the first time in nearly two decades I allowed myself to be cloaked in the safety of their music.
Not entirely at first, of course. That took some years and gentle encouragement from the local Duran community, including the lovely and zany Durandy, who has been a valuable friend for the past several years to me, but I can now, without fear or hesitation, call myself a devoted Duranie. I even got a Duran-related tattoo as a personal testimony that I will never again give anyone the power to dictate what music I am allowed to love.
And that is why I wear Duran Duran buttons instead of safety pins. When people are drawn to music that resonates with them, it is their right to be able to listen to it and enjoy it without fear, Duran Duran or otherwise! Who cares if other people don't like what you like? Who cares if it's not popular? If you love your music and it puts you in a place of joy, embrace it! Plus, if someone likes something that you don't, DON'T ruin it for them! Don't be the one who makes them feel ashamed or afraid to take comfort in the art that resonates with them! Music is the universal safe place and it comes in millions of forms. It's completely fine if yours doesn't match those around you.
That is what my Duran Duran buttons say when I wear them. I am a proud Duranie. Be proud of your music!