Self Care and the Local Scene

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When you think of “self care”, you’re probably not thinking of the sticky floors, free flowing alcohol, and loud volumes of your local music venues.   What the low lighting, loud music, and community of strangers offers, however, is the freedom to FEEL, exactly as you are, without trying to make it pretty.

In this era where social media has voluntarily invaded even the most private of spaces, I think it is more important than ever to have space in which we can let down the heavy expectations of perfection and be a little UGLY. I know, there is this pervasive myth that some how standing with your arms crossed looking unmoved at a show is “COOL”. It is not cool. It’s cowardly and you and everyone also bobbing their head and especially THE BAND know it.

Let me let you in on a little secret from the stage - the people that we admire, the people that feed our energy and stick with us show after show are not the people acting too cool in the shadows. They are the ones next to the stage dancing, laughing, having the best time and being unafraid to show it.

You may have experienced some of this at major arena concerts- losing yourself momentarily- transported to a euphoric high on group sing a longs and laser lights.  Local shows hold a similar transcendent experience, except elevated by the intimacy of a shared dream and smaller spaces.

The best shows I have been to were small shows, and my only complaint was being surrounded by all of those afore mentioned head bobbers. COME ON YOU GUYS. OUR COUNTRY IS A DUMPSTER FIRE AND YOU’RE STILL TOO WORRIED ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE THINKING YOU LOOK STUPID?

And yes, it’s true, sometimes you might hit a dud show. Not every single band is going to get you there. But, considering the average cover for a show is $8, you can easily afford to experiment until you find not only the musicians but the community that resonates deeply with you.  Just absolutely and utterly fuck “COOL”.

Find yourself room to be ALIVE instead.

You’ll know you’ve got it just right when it feels like you’re at a revival, except instead of reaching up, you’re reaching in: to the dirty, perfect, human passion of existence. 

You are supposed to lose yourself at a show, you are supposed to have disheveled hair and smudged lipstick.  You are supposed to let yourself feel so deeply you don’t care what anyone else thinks.  It’s too dark for candid photos, and no one is paying all that close of attention to you anyway. 

As a musician, THIS is what we want you to have – a portal out of the real world and it’s draining expectations.

The images, videos, and books associated with self-care are often of calm people, dressed in white, seemingly very superior in their utter blandness.  “Be more productive, schedule your free time into oblivion, compartmentalize the chaos and definitely buy the products listed in my affiliate link below. “ they say to us. It’s just more of the same mentality that wants to tame all wild spaces, inner and outer. Make it comfortable, confine your impulses, discipline yourself into subservience to the way things are. I bet those people nod their heads at shows, if they even go to shows at all.

There is self care in the bacchanal, in the riotous rightness of being cracked open and in process.  We don’t see the tears, the screams, the unpolished and in process ugliness of letting in the truth that life REQUIRES chaos.  In the dark, held by the howls of our fellow perfect animals, reminded of our divinity– exactly as we are.

Abigail AndersonComment