I found myself entranced. Mystified. Intrigued. Moved to the marrow.
I experienced the natural high and astounding beauty of being present. Connected to something far greater than my silly ruminating thoughts.
Oh! Just wait until I tell Joan (bad-ass therapist)! She will perk up! Smile over her tea and say “Alas! Progress! Our recently fair-weather friend!” (She doesn’t typically use words like ‘alas’; however, I wouldn’t put it past her).
I will tell her about friday using words like ‘ecstatic’ and ‘curious’ and she will reach for her notebook. Making a note that reads something like:
On Friday, November 11th, Megan was introduced to the unicorn of music – Stevie Ray Vaughn. Her boyfriend, Nicolas, the music-curator in the relationship, has once again shown her the light. (Maybe she’ll even throw in an ‘Amen’).
You see, something beautifully broke open on Friday. Creating a ‘before’ and ‘after’.
Before Friday my weird little brain existed in a pergatory of a dopamin-deficiency. My brain and I decided we have to at least humor the possibility of pleasure. Instead of rolling our eyes and going back to bed. And to be real, it was beginning to feel a bit cruel and clasterphobic. This confused brain and I were past the jonesing period. Now I just felt desperate. I craved the craving to stand before a piece of art, breathless and tuned in. It was time. Time to touch back to some ground of my identity. As a human experiencing the world. Really anything beyond ‘Depressed Girl – Keeper of ruminating thoughts and unregulated emotions’.
It was time; however, I also needed a bit of reminding. A rope of sorts to pull me closer to that feeling of belonging. A extra caffeine shot to the old factory senses (currently experiencing the tastes and smells and sights of the world as: dry toast).
Enter: Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble.
Well, enter Nicolas, my mountain of music, who pulled up their performance recorded live sometime in 1983. Nick bypassed any introduction and instead adjusted the volume, went to his place on the couch. Waiting patiently. Waiting for the high to hit.
And when it hit-
But first, let me quickly explain something relevant to the context of this story. I enjoy music. I listen to all kinds. Mostly whatever someone else puts on. Admittedly, music intimidates me a bit. It’s the creative outlet that alludes me. Teasing me at the surface and then disappearing. Dancing into more complicated depths. And that’s not the worst thing. I still enjoy it. But on the rare occassions where an artist or a band pulls me completely in and shows me the language…I revel in it (and maybe feel compelled to write about it). I remember the dress I was wearing the afternoon I first heard War on Drugs. I was chopping up vegetables to roast the day Nina Simone walked, in her way, into my soul.
I sat on my side of the couch and felt my body hum to the surrounding sound. That’s how it goes for me. My hips and my shoulders and my tapping feet catch on first. And I feel compelled to look closer. Listen closer. Leaning in.
My friday focus, usually fickle, sharpens. I lean in more. Trying to understand what I am witnessing.
On the stage somewhere in 1983 is Stevie, playing guitar, communicating with the guitar, tapping into every inch of the guitars potential like some music mystic. He’s dressed and draped in accessories. An ecclectic and colorful style that grows on you. By the end you admire and desire a hat like his with its belt of silver buckles.
Backing him up is Tommy Shannon on bass. If you didn’t know the year you’d assume Tommy just stepped of The Boat That Rocked in 1970’s England. In other words on point and endearing.
Holding down the drums is Chris Layton. He could easily be your older brothers friend. The one who grabs a Sunkist from your fridge with ease and always down to jam for a bit. Sporting a non-descrept tank top and respectfully rocking a “Functional Mullet”.*
*Thank you Nick. You nailed this hair description.
And then it hits-
Woo! I feel it. Like a giddiness in my blood. This feels like losing control. Whoa! Except the ground doesn’t disappear. And I keep leaning in. The crashing and clumsy energy of my brain softly cracks open and then dissipates. Damn! A relief that is nothing short of ecstacsy. I’m not leaning in anymore. I’ve arrived. Surrounded and exactly in the center. And here I’m completely back. Grounded and awake.
Perhaps you know, first hand, this beautiful experience. Existing through the routine of a Friday evening. Then something just short of magic happens. You watch as a musician out of the mist extracts sounds beautifully strange and permeating. Maybe you feel intrigued and infatuated. Stoked still and a little bit sweaty. You’re moved. Witnessing an artist create with every cell of their talent.
Feels surprisingly (and delightfully) intimate. Captured and capturing. You will carry this memory around in that glowy yellow cubby of your solar plexus. A place you can revisit wherever you go.
Friday night I watched SRV pull and manipulate and taunt and coax and breath sound out of his guitar. I felt so, for lack of a better word, happy that music is a thing that exists. And it feels familiar. Like clicking into place. The couch and apartment and street sounds and the world fall away. I’m nicely tethered to my partner beside me. Both of us smiling kind of goofily. Entranced and speechless except for the occasional exchange of ‘yeah, man!”