Last night, I took in my second Pearl Jam show, which makes me feel most unworthy among the long-time Ten Club members, whose concert attendance is in the double, even triple, digits. To them, I bow down. What I lack in number of concerts attended, I more than make up for in my shared loved of Pearl Jam’s music and music, in general.
As much as I use the spoken and written word as vehicles to transport my thoughts and feelings from the unknown to the known, they pale in comparison to what music can do. Music is a powerful translator for so many of us whose words cannot always adequately convey what is in our hearts and on our minds. Where our words fail us, music comes to the rescue to save us and give us a much-needed voice. If only I could write a song right now, as I definitely am having difficulty finding the right words to describe the mixture of after show afterglow and post-show depression that have lingered since the last note was played.
I woke up this morning with a musical hangover and immediately took a bite of the hair of the dog that bit me, in the form of surrounding myself with music as I prepared for my day. It may have been a new day, but my thoughts continued to wander to last night’s show and to broader themes that the music seemed to unearth. Music has a way of leaving me feeling vulnerable and exposed, and that certainly was true today, as I recalled certain memories from last night.
At one point during the show, as the crowd was singing along to Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, I paused just to take it all in, not wanting it to end. My favorite part of that particular song is when everyone joins Eddie Vedder in singing the lyrics:
I just want to scream, hello
My god its been so long, never dreamed you’d return
But now here you are, and here I am
Hearts and thoughts they fade, away
I found myself feeling overwhelmed with a feeling of intense joy. Pure unadulterated joy. Everyone’s voices filled the arena and my heart to the brim. In that brief moment, nothing else in the entire world mattered at all, other than the present moment and the music . It felt like true freedom from everyone and everything, and I gave a silent prayer of thanks for it.
I found myself overcome with unexpected emotions during Alive. I have heard these lyrics countless times, but last night, they took on an entirely different meaning:
Is something wrong?”, she said
Well of course there is, “you’re still alive,” she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be?
Is that the question? And if so, if so, who answers, who answers?
I suddenly thought of a time nearly five years ago, when if I had asked myself the question if I deserved to be alive, I would have responded with a resounding, “No!” The memory of the night when I had to make the decision whether or not I wanted to live more than I wanted to die came out nowhere and hit me everywhere all at once. Then, my mind fast forwarded to when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall and how terrified I was that I would die. Now, not only do I believe that I deserve to live, I also truly want to live. Fully. Authentically. Genuinely.
That desire to live is the driving force behind some of the feelings of sadness that I have experienced today. I felt a bit of a letdown after the past few days of pre-concert fun and concert excitement, and it made me take stock of the life I have led, the life I am leading, and the life I am creating. I do not want to live a life wasted. Pretty heady stuff for a sleep deprived, music soaked mind.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story