[[warning: lengthy post ahead -- but here's my story]]:
I know some of y'all think I've lost my marbles because I talk about the band & lyrics all the time, have #3eb decals in every place imaginable, and run off to shows every chance I get, among other things. But don't be fooled: it is so much more than the "band obsession" it might appear from the outside. A couple of people have asked me why I "suddenly" became this (proud) annoying, outspoken, card-carrying rabid Third Eye Blind fan. So, here it is: there is nothing sudden about this. #ThirdEyeBlind has been my favorite band for almost twenty years. That's TWO DECADES, y'all, so the cuts run deep. But my connection to them was personal and one-dimensional; I didn't know other people who felt it in their soul the way I do. Up until mid-last year, I'd only been to three shows, all of which were because they were playing locally. Because I struggle with anxiety and the thought of being solo in the crowd at a rock show intimidated me, for every show I'd been to (all 3 of them) I'd asked someone who I knew at least liked them, even if "Crystal Baller" was as far as their "fan-ship" went (love you, Pecota!), to accompany me. But I always felt a little guilty for "dragging" someone along to something I was WAY more into, and never 'let loose' because I was worried about them having a good time.
In March of 2015, that all changed; as a result, so did much of my life. A stranger messaged me on Twitter, suggesting/inviting me to join his Facebook group, "Third Eye Blind Misfits" (its namesake is a song title of theirs, for anyone who's ever wondered). I joined the group. I checked in every so often but didn't really try connecting with other members -- I was there for content and news. Out of the blue (had to throw in that album-name hybrid) and much to our surprise, the band announced they were releasing a new album in June, accompanied by a full tour (!!!) I bought my ticket for the Atlanta show in June, and that was that -- until one day I offhandedly posted something (for the first time) humorous in the group, and because of one tragically misguided soul's misunderstanding and subsequent reaction (good ol' Lanelle...shall we pour one out for her?), pandemonium broke out.
The sheer absurdity of it all was beyond hysterical, and I felt a bond with some of the group members afterwards as a result. Suddenly I felt a kinship with all these people who were there with me, watching this whole trainwreck go down. And it turned out that this Lanelle character didn't even realize she was in a group for 3eb fans--at least, she couldn't have been that much of a fan because she didn't pick up on any of the many references to their songs/lyrics that people were throwing out...adding fuel to the fire that she was only ever hers to begin with. It was LOL-ful.
Not long thereafter, I got a notification that I'd been added to a facebook group called "Misfits in Exile"...turns out, a select group of people had broken away from the riffraff of the open group and formed a smaller faction of people who were truly "here for the music...here for the art of it all", as I like to say. Long story short: this intimate coterie of true-blue, deeper-than-bones Third Eye Blind fans soon became more of a family. We are so different from one another that most of us would never have crossed paths if it weren't for Third Eye Blind and what they, with their art and poetry and message, mean to us.
Last October, I leapt (not stepped--LEAPT) out of my comfort zone--at the encouragement of my wonderful, supportive partner, Sean--and headed up by myself to Nashville, where the group had organized a big "meetup weekend", the first of its kind for us, for the show at Vanderbilt. People flew and drove in from every corner of the country. Many of them had met at least a few others, but I hadn't met a single one until I got to the venue...and was inundated with greetings of excited hugs, by people who only recognized me from my photos on Facebook. At the show, I was able to let my 3eb-freak flag fly the way I'd always wanted to...because I was with a group of people who "got it", and, as it turns out, "got me".
Afterwards, we all headed to the farm Airbnb that Jacki had booked, and continued the party into the wee hours--a handful of them never even went to bed.
Since then, I've embarked alone on journeys as far as the opposite coast; to see 3eb and to be with all the friends I never knew were out there, waiting to find me and for me to find them. And I am SO glad that I did.
Thank you, Third Eye Blind. You mean more to me and have changed my life more than you will ever know.