Our plan for the night was going to be one for the books. My sister and I were gearing up to see one of our favorite singers at Ardmore Music Hall. (Ah, live concerts. Those were the days.) We were going to tear up the night as only two semi-middle-aged women could. Get buzzed up on beer, sing our hearts out, and make fast and furious BFF’s with strangers in the bathroom line. I mean, really? How could it get better than that? Revved up for our wild and crazy night, and nothing could get in our way.
Fast forward to reality: Drunk revelers buzzed on beer, singing their hearts out surrounded us while I stood nursing a Hot Toddy and a case of laryngitis. On the drive down to PA, my voice went from there to not there. Like the Cheerios sunset commercial from back in the day, my voice was “going, going, gone.” It just didn’t happen as slow and precious as a father sharing a sunset with his young daughter. More like a vocal guillotine, chopped in one fell swoop. Gone.
This temporary physical curveball would not derail me. So, I looked for the upside. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly enjoy this newfound freedom. I’m all on the “women speak up” train, yet I realized that I found myself relieved to be on a vocal vacation. Not feeling the need to give answers, validate, speak out of pure discomfort of a silent space felt liberating. Par to women feeling overwhelmed with duties and swooning over their “hospital fantasy.” You know the one – tables turned, and everyone is waiting on you, serving you, caring for you, and you can receive it all with zero guilt because you’re a patient in a hospital, not with a life-threatening illness; just sick enough to be given a life duty pass for a few days. Absolute daydream to many.
At this moment, at this concert, and as a creative, my voice turning off, was a major turn-on to my inner observer. My Spidey senses revved up to an 11, and I felt electric. My observation and intuition were on point. And there was an odd sense of power, which we all know, comes with great responsibility, which was —being true to myself—paying attention to when I would’ve spoken up out of an internal pressure vs. an inner desire—big difference.
So, here we are standing, nodding and swaying. As Pete Yorn hits us with his straight-to-the-heart vocals, a drunk guy stumbles in on my left, mumbling and slurring his best hot-breathed beer-fueled pick-up-line. Wincing at his bulldozing lack of personal space and saliva spewing into my ear, I throw a glare his way and become increasingly interested in the stage. He goes in for round two. Increased intensity laced with what? Resentment? Frustration? I don’t respond, the music is loud, and again, no voice. Did I just catch eyes with the lead singer? Just as douchey drunk guy hisses that I have no personality as in “NO fucking personality” in case I didn’t speak drunk guy English, a woman on my right leans in smiling, staring at the stage, and whispers “He’s singing to you.”
I lock eyes with Pete for the remainder of the song and then laugh at the absurdity of a night that would’ve made for the perfect scene in a John Hughes movie.
As we hailed a cab, I thought: Did I really have no personality tonight? Maybe.
Did the lead singer and I have a moment? Maybe.
Just like the douchey drunk guy to my left and the excited fan to my right, we each have two voices to listen to in any situation. We all have a degrading, scared drunk guy and a woman filled with hope and wonderment hanging out in our minds. It’s our choice who we listen to.
It’s our choice who we think is right. That night? Going with being serenaded by a cute singer-songwriter all the way.
Vow to be your own fan fave whispering uplifting possibilities in your ear.
And, for the douchey drunk guy, good luck and goodnight. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
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