While the topic of self-care is not new to me, I've recently learned that it looks different to everyone. Some people interpret it as drinking enough water, others as meditation, and others maybe a pedicure. No matter what form it comes in, its purpose is to recharge you and make you feel confident and happy enough to face life's challenges.
My self-care comes in the form of ticket stubs, a front row spot, and a big crowd of people just ready to let the sweet beats overtake them. To someone else it may seem a redundancy to see your favorite band more than once but for me and others like me it goes far beyond just seeing the same band. Every show is its own experience. You never know what the setlist will be, what funny stage banter you'll be privy to and you will undoubtedly meet new people who often become lifelong friends.
I've seen my three favorite artists, Beirut, The National, and Sharon Van Etten a collective total of 30 times. Though I've had severe mobility issues since birth and a recent diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension I have no intension of slowing down when it comes to this part of my life. As soon as I walk into a venue I get to check my disability like a coat (too bad they can't seem to lose it like that expensive leather jacket you knew you shouldn't have worn).
For those few hours when the band is giving us the gift of their art we shed our descriptors, the things we use to chip away at each other. We are no longer our ability, our gender, our race, our age, or orientation. We are human. We are whole. We are loving.
The community of people I've met through shows is unlike any other. We do everything we can to help each other enjoy the band. We hold the line for each other during restroom breaks, we lift up the shorter people so they can see, we share our blankets when an outdoor show gets cold. I once met someone in line for The National who bought me my first piece of their merch. She wanted to make sure I could spend my limited finances on a ticket for the second show so we could hang out again the next night. She's been one of my closest friends for years now.
When I go to a show I see everything that is right with the world. The combination of art, support, and community gives me a sense of excitement and calm, a juxtaposition that can only make sense when you come home after a long time away. At a show I feel home. It's a refuge from daily hardships that allows me to gather my thoughts and reset.
When the curtain falls and the house lights come on I'm ready to go face the world again because I know the magic will return. I'll be forever crowdsurfing through life.