And Then It Continued

First part of the story here.

Today is the anniversary of Janine‘s initial encounter with John Thornton, and now the rest of her story:

Days passed. The letter became a being, existing with an accusatory bent. I was determined not to mail it.

My birthday arrived. I took the day off from work, and as I wandered about my favorite coastal town in the peace of being alone with the sea and sun, I was able to breathe. At dinner, I sat on the wharf with a copy of ‘North and South’ in my hands and read the first chapters of the story that had somehow brought such change into my life.

That night I copied the letter onto some stationery and found an address for Richard. It felt right. So what if I was a blathering idiot in my prose to him? I had written what I felt. I mailed it.

Nope. It didn’t help.

My family went away for a few days. I stayed home with the pets and the vegetable garden. And the entire DVD set of Robin Hood. I watched the first two series over again.

Work and the family returned. I kept hurtling toward something. It felt like that.

And one day my access to one of the unofficial RA sites went AWOL. I couldn’t figure it out and being denied access for some random reason was a most cruel joke.

I contacted the owner. It was my first contact with someone over Richard. I felt odd. Who did this? Not me. Not ever. Not practical, no-nonsense me.

We never did figure out why I couldn’t connect. But I had made a personal connection with someone who was kind, smart and didn’t treat me like I was a nutjob because I was reading interviews and looking up information about an actor.

That exchange launched me into the land of Twitter and contact of an instanteous nature with other admirers of Richard Armitage. One by one I found or was found. And I started twittering away, finding myself swept up into another crazed frenzy.

There were moments I actually felt giddy.

And it was there that I had my first exhilirating exchange with the writer of this blog, Frenz. I’d read a lot of her posts over the months since discovering Richard. I liked her voice as a writer. I appreciated her self-deprecation. And suddenly here we were in some sort of DM Twitterfest that lasted more than two hours.

She was relentless in her questions to me but also in revealing pieces of herself. It was a unique exchange that did many things that night. But the important one is that it forced me to yet another level of awareness about myself.

Three months and two days after writing that letter to Richard, I was writing a letter to me.

The next day, it took about nine hours with a few breaks, for the first time in my life, I sat there and let my heart — my battered, suppressed heart — rage.

Because once upon a time, I had imagination. I had that joy in creating. I had that feeling anything was possible.

What happened?

What happened.


I held nothing back. I was brutally honest as I typed, admitting my failures. Admitting other people’s failures to me. From childhood to adulthood I roamed.

I didn’t edit. I just typed. I cried. There were moments I thought I might break.

So I cried some more.

I could feel myself emerge as I neared the end. And as I typed the final few sentences, I was sobbing. I thought I could paraphrase what I was writing to Frenz but I cannot, so here it is, raw and unedited.

As I have been writing this for about 8 hours, I have been hurtling toward the end not knowing what to say. But it hit me a little while back.
I think you asked why Richard – was it just last night?
I didn’t think I had an answer. I find I do. At this moment in time, after just giving you the abbreviated version of my life, I do have an answer that makes sense.
He dares.
But me, surrounded by all that you have just read, I do not. Not really. And I want to. I want to break free and dare. Truly dare.
I need to. I need to believe I could play Thorin, that I am finally good enough. I need to have those doubts and slay them.
In my case, I need to believe I can build my own business and be a success. That I have learned in 25 years of working and 45 years of living that I am good enough to have something of my own. That I can have a dream I can fulfill. I know I have the skills. Because in this very moment I have realized that I have always put my dreams aside. Always. Always. I admit it. Finally.
And I am crying so hard I can barely see.
I need a champion. That would be Richard. The man who dared. Who is inspiring me to dare. Who gives me hope that nice people do achieve great things through hard work and because they dare.
For a while now, I have been thinking this: Richard makes me want things I can never have.
So negative. But how could I not be because he does make me yearn for so much more than what I have in my existence. I couldn’t see past the negative because it was so massive.
And now, because I have said this I need to think differently.
Richard makes me want things I will dare to have.

I can safely admit that since I had that moment at the end of last October, everything has changed.

I now have a world full of people who share at least one commonality: an admiration for Richard Armitage. And it turns out we share so much more. Of course we do. I have slowly gotten to know person after person, and I am in a world so rich with possibility because of them that my heart nearly bursts some days from the sheer joy in being alive.

I have done silly things. I have done fun things. I have done serious things. I expect to keep repeating this pattern for some time.

In return I have been given the gift of friendship. When I am troubled – again, life doesn’t happen in a vacuum – a tidal wave of support flows over then buoys me so I won’t flounder. Well, at least not for long.

Frenz asked, quite some time ago, if I would write about inspiration and Richard.

In the end, it was never about Richard Armitage. Not at all.

He is the catalyst.

I am my inspiration.

Because I dare.

Yes, you, do, Janine, and we all love it.

And me, relentless? I’m a pussycat. :D

Screencap courtesy of


  1. Wow. Thank you Janine. You’re inspiring us all.

  2. Janine and I live about a half hour from each other. At the time we met, we worked less than 3 miles from one another. But I would never have met her if it were not for our shared love of all things Richard.

    She is one of the sweetest, most intelligent, and fun people I have ever met! She has impacted my life in ways I don’t think even she is aware of. So thank you Richard for bringing this amazing new friend into my world. Most importantly, thank you Janine, for being who you are and for allowing me into your life.

  3. I am inclined to believe that it must be very liberating to overcome one’s circumstances, one’ up-bringing, one’s fears, one’s self-doubt to dare. Intimidation is an evil force that keeps its victim cornered in a darkness that is so difficult to just walk away from. Good on you for taking those steps, Janine. “Brave girl. Brave girl.”

  4. […] And Then It Continued – Janine’s inspiring story concludes […]

  5. Beautiful and so very touching. Wish I could get to the same point of believing in myself. Thank you for sharing your story with us Janine and welcome to fandom. :)

  6. Aw, this is kinda beautiful. The last 4 lines choked me up a wee bit! O_o

  7. Brilliant post, Janine. And inspiring in its own right. I think we are all with you there, finding RA inspiring. What I love most about this fandom is that it is a fandom that deserves the actor it admires. And that the admired actor actually deserves the fandom he inspires. Thanks for sharing that – I find that reading other fans’ stories hugely interesting and comforting.

  8. I am finishing up time online when I tap one more Frenzy…to open this page. I went to “part 2″….ho-hum-m-m…and as I started to read I came to a screeching HALT. I am going through still another Difficult Moment in Life , and the last 4 commentators are…brilliant. I read every word and have been sitting here turning them over,,and over…. Thank-You for sharing with such simple honesty, in- the- moment- effort to share for others what you have learned, and ..know. I could sure use your words this day, and now I can call them up when I need them. Brilliant!….and I really like the words coming from others who enjoy Mr. Armitage’s persona ,and work. We ARE neat people and we Thanks again,Janine,Valerie,Kitty,and Traxy: your words? I say Ditto!!.

  9. Wow. Thanks for letting us see your writing, and for letting me into your world.

  10. Dear Janine,
    I loved your beautiful, heartfelt letter! Thank you so much for sharing and baring your soul to us.

    Richard Armitage does inspire many of us to dream. And if “dreams are wishes our hearts make” as the song goes, then dream on, my dear, dream on.

    Love & Hugs, Grati;->
    P.S. And thanks to Frenz for giving Janine this forum.

  11. Ah, my friend, how I wish I could stretch my arms all the way to the East Coast and hug you. I am crying because I do understand. Oh, God, that man has no idea how many lives he is saving! I think if he truly knew, if it dawned on him, it would hit him with such force that he would blush profusely and be rendered speechless. I wouldn’t even doubt that he would sit down and cry his heart out from shock. It is such a relief after so much heartache and pain to know I am not alone, that I am not crazy. Thank you for setting an example of kindness, generosity and courage. Stay strong! God bless you.

  12. Beverly, thank you kindly. :D

    Valerie, aw, gee, hon. I am glad you invited me into yours. xo

    Wow, Kitty. Just wow. Letting my heart soar again is exhilarating. And scary at times. But it is better than what I was doing. Which was hiding. BTW, I chose that Thorin shot for a reason. That run at Azog is my run. I cried the first time I saw it for that reason. And now I am screaming RUN inside when I see it. :D

    Ah, Traxy, don’t for a minute believe I am all that. Every day has its struggles. But I have something to poke myself with now. To remind me that it is better on this side. xo

    Littlesallyboots, my dear, I find I get weepy every time I read this. Still pretty raw emotions. And that is a good thing. Means I am awake and alive. :D

    Thank you, guylty. He has brought us all to a unique situation. My gratitude is endless because the possibilities are as well. :D

    Humma, my belief is that we must share to understand. Which is why I wrote this even though I feel incredibly vulnerable about it. But I also knew I needed to say this for me and for all of those whom I have gotten to know this past year who cannot say it for themselves but have said eerily similar things to me privately. I count that as a blessing and privilege. Thank you for commenting. :D

    StacieMakeDo, I thank you kindly for lighting up my days with your tangents.

    And Frenz, you are a pussycat. I live with cats. Interesting creatures. Determined. Insidious. Cuddly at times. Snarky all the time. :D

    And to all who are lurking and didn’t post a comment but may be out there nodding your heads: I understand. So does this amazing group of incredible individuals with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds who first admired Richard and then found a world of company. You are not alone. :D

  13. I see more comments, LOL. I will respond soon. xo

  14. Grati, love and hugs back. It is wonderful to dream again. Freely, without despair clouding it. And then to take those dreams and dare to do. xo

    Mujertropical, dear, dear woman, I feel your hug. I know you understand. And I can only hope that if he has any dark moments, that somehow a voice inside him tells him he is loved and it buoys him until the moment passes. I hope you believe this for yourself, too, for you are. We all have those times when we feel alone, but as one dear friend said to me last night, she is always cheering me on. I need reminding of that. And no, you are not crazy. Crazy funny, maybe, but not crazy. Blessings to you. xo

  15. Thank you for walking ahead of his newest fans (like me) and shining with what you dare to do and to be. You too are an inspiration.

    Keeping him and all of you in my prayers! I’ve been so grateful to discover not just this excellent actor / honorable man, but a whole world of kindred spirits out there who make me laugh and sometimes cry and who say out loud the things that I silently wrestle with when I contemplate him and his work. Cheering you on!

  16. Hi Janine! and thank you. Hmmm..who I love the most? R.A or his wonderful fans? It’s really hard to say :)

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