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An Open Letter to U2

by Valerie Hartman 2 years ago in humanity

Or how U2 was all I had left

HEAR me now, understand how sorry I am, and realize the impact that you’ve had on my life.

Hear me now, because you don’t know me, but you are about to. You can choose not to know me, but you must know that I am a fan with a different story.

Hear me now, because I remained silent for the past 20 years. Hear me now, because this year, I chose to speak up.

Hear me now to accept my apology.

Hear me now, because there is still some time left to get to know each other.

Hear me now, because I used to be a huge fan, then I had lost you, but now, I am back.

Hear me now, because you say it’s your audience that carries you. I believe the contrary, that it is you that carries your audience.

So hear me now, because one love, one life… we get to carry each other, right?

I did carry you, then I walked away, but you always carried me. So I am sorry.

Hear me now because 20 years ago, I was homeless in your hometown. I don’t blame you, but I left my country to be close to you.

Hear me now, because I thought we would meet somewhere on the quays.

Hear me now, because my dream was to work for you. Sometimes, dreams are impossible, mine was.

But today, 20 years later, you tell me, if there is a light, don’t let it go out. The light was never completely out. I know it, you know it.

Hear me now, because you chose me as a fan anyway. I never chose you as my band.

Hear me now, because the first time I heard you, I couldn’t even speak your language.

Hear me now, because it’s been 22 years since I last saw you sing for me.

Hear me now, because I have dedicated myself to you, I have cried for you, I have laughed with you, yet I have survived because of you.

Hear me now, because I have never asked you for anything, expect now, to hear me.

UNDERSTAND how sorry I am, for not keeping in touch.

Understand how sorry I am, for not always agreeing with you.

Understand how sorry I am, for walking away.

Understand how sorry I am, for the confusion and the misunderstanding.

Understand how sorry I am, for missing 22 years of live shows.

Understand how sorry I am, for not speaking out sooner.

Understand how sorry I am, for not reaching out. But then again, I always thought that the biggest rock band in the world was quite unreachable.

Understand how sorry I am, for giving up on my dream.

Understand how sorry I am, for making the wrong decisions.

Understand how sorry I am, for being an old fan, at the end of the day.

Understand how sorry I am, for sounding so miserable. I may sound depressed, but I am not. If I was still depressed, I would not have the words to write this.

Because if there is one thing you have to understand, is that while I had to live this life of mental and physical abuse, while I deprived myself of seeing you live, and while I only had £0.20 to eat, you were all I had left.

But understand how sorry I am not, for having this dream, chasing me again. You came back, you called me back, so my dream is back. Again, I am not asking for anything, just to hear me now, and to understand how sorry I am.

REALIZE the impact you’ve had on my life, for making me a survivor.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for making me stronger.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for giving me the courage and strength to speak up.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for changing me to a better person.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for never losing me as a fan, and for never letting go of me.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for you made me realize that I am not invisible.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for falling in love with you again. Because you were my first love for the way I once looked at you.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, because it would have been so different without you.

And actually, realize the impact you’ve had on my life as I sometimes tell myself, if only I wasn’t a fan, things would have been easier.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for being so young when I first heard you. I didn’t know what being a fan was, just like I didn’t know you were going to become the biggest rock ‘n roll band in the world.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for becoming a fan of a very expensive band!!!

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for immigrating to your city without knowing anybody.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for listening to you quietly.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for that when I buy your music, it takes me hours to listen it for the first time.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for standing next to you once and for walking away. I respect you, I value you, and I respect your privacy.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for simply influencing me.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for being a role model to society.

Realize the impact you’ve had on my life, for being the best thing about me.

SO hear me now, understand how sorry I am, and realize the impact you’ve had on my life, because you probably think I am weird. I am not. You have met thousands of fans that you probably think are all the same for wanting more and more from you. The truth is, behind all those fans, there are the ones that don’t want anything, but just to be heard. And I am one of them. I wanted to work for you, so I left my country and I moved to Dublin, thinking it would be a good way to meet you. Instead, I became homeless, walking the streets of The Liberties, scraping for food. Life didn’t end this way because I loved your city more than anything and was determined to pursue my dream. Life went on. Privately, I was mentally and physically abused for 11 years. Professionally, I became a good, reliable office worker. I also became a civil rights activist by accident, when I worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Then, ten years ago, I lost everything again, I became homeless again. I lost my father without saying goodbye. Yes, I had lost everything, but you.

All those years, you were here for me, do you realize that?

Hear me now, understand how sorry I am, and realize the impact that you’ve had on my life because it took me 20 years to tell my story. I want the world to know that what you give is not just music. You listen to people, you influence people; you give without taking.

Hear me now, understand how sorry I am, and realize the impact that you’ve had on me that for this year alone, I regained my connection with you.

Hear me now, understand how sorry I am, and realize the impact that you give me for waking up to my old dream, chasing it again, buying that ticket, and booking that flight and hotel to Australia.

Hear me now, understand how sorry I am, and realize the impact that it feels to meet you, my old friend, to see you again, to listen to you again, to cry and to laugh with you again. Because I won’t be me, when you see me again.

humanity

Valerie Hartman

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