Little Lotte- Thank you, for everything you have done for me, and every thing you will do. You are my greatest friend, I don't know how I could survive without you.

I have spent countless hours laying in bed at night, wondering how I became this, how I became a phan. I don't mean when I first was exposed, I know that down to the hour. July thirtieth, two thousand and five, ten pm, sitting in my friends living room, my soon to be best friend sitting beside me, making her commentary with the other two who already watched the movie. I fell in love with a masked man on that day, but it wasn't the handsome actor I watched on the telly, the the thought of him, Erik.

The other day a friend who I have recently turned to phantom, asked when he earns his true Phandom. He's watched most of the movies, read the book, even dabbled into the fan fiction realm. I have been contemplating what phandom really means, to answer his question, and this is what I have discovered. You may not agree with me, but I feel you cannot become a phan. It's impossible to just become one by falling for the Phantom's story. You can be passionate about it, obsessed even, but to me a phan, a true phan, you have to already be one before phantom.

Some of you must think I'm crazy, well, perhaps I am, maybe that's the reason I am a phan. To be a real phan, to understand Erik's story, you must know your own sorrow. Even if one doesn't wish to admit what has wronged them in life, it is still there, tugging at the back of our hearts, dictating every thing we do, every thing we think. I know that sounds rather depressing, that one can't over come their past, I know my best friend will disagree with that, she's always saying we choose who we are, but I think that part of what we are is predestined. Every thing happens for a reason, it's just our job to understand why. It may just be me, but phantom has always been there for me, to comfort me in my time of need, I just didn't realize it. Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of a shadow like man, to come and save me from my hell, the image I have come to recognize in my mind as Erik.

Now, don't think I think that Erik's spirit is watching over the Phans, thats not what I mean, I am saying that there are those of us who's savior comes in the form of a phantom, something that has always been there. Every human on this earth has something to comfort their mind when it is in turmoil, something to take away the pain. I believe for Phans, thats where phantom comes in. The Phantom Of The Opera is a way to express the hidden desires of a scared heart, a story any one can understand, and any one hurt can love.

Phandom comes from the need of security, the need for your own angel of music, to protect you for future torture. Erik's story is not meant to teach one to hide themselves away, to guard their heart, and never let love in. The tale of this man, this phantom is to inspire, to let compassion, love, passion, kindness to flow from the wounded, to heal one who might turn away from the world. To be a true Phan, you must embrace his story, Learn from it, and do something about it.

That is what I believe true Phandom is, you may not agree with what I think, or you may feel the same way, but that's not important. I don't care if you of me, I may have emotional baggage, but am an Phan, and I'm thankful.