In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green's narrator Hazel says, "The pain was always there, pulling me inside of myself, demanding to be felt. It always felt like I was waking up from the pain when something in the world outside of me suddenly required my comment or attention." Ir's the truest description of pain I've ever encountered, but it doesn't acknowledge the difficulty of escaping said pain. Sometimes it's utterly impossible to comment or attend to a paper or an assignment when the pain tugs you inside. You only become aware of this when the pain is no longer there and suddenly parts of your brain are free.
Pain separates you from what's on the stage of your life.
At least, that's how it was for me until this weekend.
The picture is my view of the first of two Amanda Palmer concerts I attended this week. The roped-off ADA section on Friday was behind the soundboard and trunks of sound equipment, stage left. It was a great view, but it wasn't the best I could have gotten had I not needed a chair. It made me think about fielding the crowds on Saturday, except by the end of the show, I knew I couldn't have. The new meds I was put on recently took care of most of the pain, but the twinges remained, making themselves known by the end of the night, taking me further away from the action.
Things had gotten so much better. The pain was no longer constant. The separation less noticeable. On Saturday night, I vowed, I would not be forced to disconnect from a minute of Amanda's show.
Fate was on my side. This was the new location of the ADA section. Needing a chair was no longer a problem.
I got lucky. The new meds make the old meds work. The pain tried to break through, I could feel it trying, but it didn't succeed in getting my attention. Amanda won that. She always does.
My dear blog readers, you are perhaps tired of hearing me discuss the way concerts inspire me. They do, though. They inspire me. They enliven me.
A friend once told me that the feelings she experienced at Wizard Rock events made it her church.
That's what shows, particularly Amanda shows, are to me. I don't want to miss a second of them.
Near by me, in the ADA/VIP section, there was a woman clearly in pain. I'm not sure who she was, though I'm fairly sure she and her husband were the "VIPs." Toward the end of the show, she was obviously in pain--migraine, I assume. I watched her detach from the show, until she was curled up in her seat, eyes hidden behind her hand. She cared enough to stay, and yet she wasn't there.
I wished I could have offered her the pills in my bag. Not because I thought she'd take a pill from a strange girl at a concert. I know how creepy that is. No. I wanted a way to say, "I know what you're going through. I know. It's real. It's awful. I'm sorry. So sorry. You are not alone."
Except, somehow we are all alone in our pain, even in the places we should feel the most connected.