I went to a show last night. We entered a big dark room filled with eager fans. I shuffled to claim my space and looked up to see rows of massive speakers suspended overhead. Lucky for me, my friends were keen to lean against the grubby wall with torn purple wall paper. How do you know you’re old at a concert? You wear tennis shoes for support and seek out hidden spaces to rest your legs already aching from eight hours at a standing desk.
As the singer screamed with passion, I nodded along in the back hiding from the rays of yellow flickering from the wands of light on stage.
It felt good to be in that room.
As the musicians emoted and the twenty-somethings jumped to the beat, I stood with my feet planted to the concrete floor. I swung my arms and let the intensity pulse through my body causing my knees to bend and shake. With each drum beat I absorbed the reverberations and welcomed, over and over again, the pounding reminder – I am beautifully alive.
There were times the audience’s screams of admiration caused me to plug my ears and I felt, once again, embarrassed to be an introvert in a loud space. I reminded myself it’s a radical act to care for oneself and while I left my ear plugs in the car, I pushed my hands to my head and my fingers in my ears. Sometimes, the noise and the darkness became too much.
While the band may not have been my first choice, they are my husband’s old favorite and I knew he was standing behind me, screaming well-known lyrics and smiling ear to ear.
This morning, my ears are ringing to prove it. I’ll never again get return to yesterday’s base level of hearing capabilities.
And this morning, I woke up and scrolled through my Facebook feed and found out again someone we knew, someone my brother loved, has died.
There is too much darkness haunting our young people. Hurting kids are turning to the wrong things to help ease their pain. And I swear to God it never gets easier to hear the truth that people we love will leave us. That one kind, searching kid just did.
Peace be with us.
We stand in darkness, there are flickering rays of light, and we bend and shake with the magnitude of our choices. We can lean on walls, hold hands, show up to support the ones we love. We can shake our heads and scream and pound and let the pulse move through us. And we can weep when people hurt.
A swirling mess of fog and noise and joy created in big, emotive sounds exists – this is what the world asks of us. I want to be affected. I refuse to go numb.
For we are still alive and we can choose to move toward the light.
If you know someone who is struggling, reach out.
If you are fighting demons, get help.
I want the pulse and the verve to continue on through me and through you. Lean on walls if you must. I want your ears to continue to hear the beautiful music. Please continue to live loudly. To see beauty. To run towards the flickering light mixing with the screeching feedback. Get on stage and help find your voice to sing. I’ll be with you to help plug your ears when it all feels to much.