An Open Letter to Amanda Palmer
I fell in love with you the way you fell in love with Neil—slowly and somewhat unexpectedly. The first time I heard your music I was in high school and appropriately riddled with teen angst. A friend introduced me to the Dresden Dolls, and it was perfect. Loud, ferocious, passionate. It was what I needed to not feel alone.
As I grew out of the teen angst phase I left behind a lot of the music I listened to then. It wasn't really a conscious decision; I just connected to different kinds of music. A couple years into college I realized that what I had thought was mere teen angst turned out to be clinical depression and anxiety, and at that point in my life it began manifesting in a newer, much darker way. I was falling into a hole so deep it took me years to climb out of, but I discovered you again in my time of need. I listened to Who Killed Amanda Palmer on repeat, with "Ampersand" being a particular favorite of mine.
After a while I listened to you less than before, but I didn't leave you behind completely. I didn't donate to your Kickstarter, but only because I was only vaguely aware of it. You had helped me through some rough times, but you were not yet a big influence in my life. After Theatre Is Evil was released, though, I bought it. I listened to it nonstop until I knew all the songs. Then I listened to the rest of your music, including The Dresden Dolls and Evelyn Evelyn. I started following you on Twitter. I read your blog. I let you in a little more.
In 2013 you did a ninja gig with Neil in Sarasota at Ringling College, but you announced it the night before. I took a cue from you and tweeted to see if anyone wanted to go with me. A friend said yes, and the next day we drove the three hours from Gainesville to Sarasota to see you. We listened to your TED Talk in the car. The show was magical. You sang and played the ukulele. Neil read some stories, and his cousins were there. During Map of Tasmania a plane flew overhead and drowned you out. You had to pause, and we all looked up and yelled "Oh. My. God. FUCK IT!" I let you in a little more.
Later that summer I went to Neil's signing for Ocean At the End of the Lane in Brooklyn. You showed up and surprised everyone. You sang "Bigger on the Inside," which no one had heard yet, and I cried. It wasn't the first time I'd cried listening to music. They were good tears, though. Tears of love and connection. I let you in a little more.
I followed your progress on The Art of Asking, but I didn't buy it immediately. I was finishing my Bachelors degree and everything was crazy. Then I moved to Israel for half a year and everything was still pretty crazy. A couple weeks after I came back to the States, though, I got tickets for Heartbreak Hotel in Tampa and went to see you and Neil talk about love. (I was the girl who went with her dad, the pair to that guy who went with his mom.) I loved it, to say the least. I also bought your book there, finally.
My dad read The Art of Asking first. When he was done he gave it to me and told me it would make me see you in a whole different light. He was right. I laughed and cried and felt so connected to you and your other fans and Anthony and Neil and everyone. We were all part of this incredibly unique family, and that made me feel a little less alone.
I'd been falling in love with you for years, but it wasn't until I read your book that I realized everything you'd given to me. You were like Neil, slowly reassuring me that you'd always be here. And I, like you, fended off your marriage proposals for awhile until I was ready. Now, I'm ready.
A lot of people like to hate you, and I understand why. People are always afraid of what they don't understand. I understand you, though, the way all your fans do, the way you understand us. Your music, your book, your tweets, your blog, your connection. It's all helped me not only feel less alone but to feel more comfortable asking people for their company when I do.
I didn't donate to your Kickstarter, but I do donate to your Patreon. People sometimes question why I would blindly give you ten dollars whenever you say you've made something and need some money for it. I tell those people I don't see it that way. I'm giving to you, yes, but I'm also giving back to myself. Every dollar I give you goes toward something you create, and your creations give me hope and connectedness and all kinds of other good feelings. So yes, maybe I am giving blindly, but I have faith in you, and that's enough.
Thank you, Amanda, for the things you make and do and teach. Thank you for always being there when I needed you, even if you didn't know it. Thank you.