Last week I went to see Adam Ant live in Boston. Most everyone I know was mondo happy for me. It was a fun way to be reminded we really have no idea what effect we are having on someone when we spend time with them and what they treasure years later about our relationships.
I found Adam at the age of twelve after Prince Charming had been released but before Friend or Foe. I saw my first show of his when I was thirteen with three of my besties while my sister and her husband chaperoned us. In the ensuing years of middle and high school, I was Adam’s girl forever and always. True Love. I covered my bedroom walls with any pictures I could find of his and of his lyrics that spoke only to me. I waitlisted his albums at Music Mart in Huntington Beach so I could get the new one the hour it was delivered to the store. I wore warpaint regularly and to places that it was maybe not quite appropriate (8th grade camp at Big Bear was not kind to my make-up artistry OR my aqua-net hair.) I owed more than two puffy pirate shirts that I would pair most often with granny boots – though on special occasions I would wear one with a long blazer, mini-skirt, and patent leather heels – with socks. Because that’s what you wore when you loved Adam.
I was never shy about my love for Adam Ant. Anyone who barely knew my name – knew my obsession.
After high school, my friends and I went our separate ways – like many of us do – and I still put Adam at the top of my playlists. I followed his career as albums came out less and less frequently and was sorrowful when I would read about his struggle with mental well-being and I rooted for him always as he dabbled in coming back to the stage. Eventually he would schedule this tour that has him again performing in the US on a broad scale.
And during that time I grew up a bit. I moved across the country. I married my second true love. I bought a house. I had three kids. I met different friends. I lost loved ones and beloved pets. In short, I have been living and I assume all the people I went to middle and high school have been too. And now we’re all connected on social media.
The night of the concert last week, I posted a picture of me and my husband at the venue where Adam was about to perform and my phone exploded with all the reactions of the people who had known me when. Reactions of genuine happiness for me. It struck me that that is who I still am to these people. Not that they literally keep me at fourteen years old crying while listening to Adam being interviewed on KROQ – but after 35ish years of knowing me – they still know that spark of my youth is still inside and they were gleeful to see it displayed in my late 40s.
So maybe, don’t so much as hang on to the people who knew you when, but venture every once in awhile to what they are up to. At their worst they can help you see how far you’ve come. At their best, they can illustrate to you the YOU you’ve always been and that’s why they continue to love you for years. True love always.