Music is something so powerful in my life. It provides a soundtrack for the years I’ve lived. It envelopes memories and brings them back to life with that very first note. It gives voice to emotions I can’t find another way to express. I’ve never been a musician – I just don’t have the talent – but I’ve always loved music with a passion. It’s one constant friend, always there to depend on.
While recorded music is deeply entwined in my life – the power of a live performance is even more intense. You’re there while the chords are being played, the notes and words are sung; you’re there as the tapestry of sound is being woven and brought to life. The connection is stronger and can touch you deeper in your soul.
Last week’s Garth concert was the 17th time I’ve seen him perform, and close to my 400th concert overall. I was enjoying the show: getting lost in the crowd, in the chills created by roughly 21,000 singing along at the top of their lungs. My camera battery died on me half way through the show, my back-up battery was MIA – but that was alright. There are a few songs I wish I’d been able to get on video, but not having to worry about the camera just let me get lost in the music that much more.
While my body wasn’t happy with the demands of standing for that long; my spirit felt truly alive for the first time in years, soaring with the music. In the midst of “Standing Outside The Fire”, it truly hit me how much life has changed over the last 17 years since I last saw him perform – and not for the better.
Back then – when I was constantly going to concerts – that song fit me fairly well. For me, it was “not enough just to stand outside the fire”. I was full of passion and life and energy. If I had a chance to travel halfway across the country for a concert on a whim – I took it. I remember more than once getting up at 4am to drive back to Dallas and go straight to work after a concert, or even earlier to catch a flight back home before going to the office. There were times I would work all day, hit the road for a show as soon as work was over, then get home at 5:30am, and sleep for about 45 minutes before I had to get up and go right back to work. I might have been tired those days – but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Then life got in the way. More accurately, one of the most screwed up relationships I’ve ever had messed me up beyond belief. It’s easiest to just refer to them as “the ex”, as attempting to explain the convoluted relationship is extremely difficult. Basically, though, it boils down to mental and emotional abuse, effectively breaking my spirit. When I discovered the lies and betrayal and that whole… disaster of a relationship imploded, it left me untrusting, scared, and paranoid. It threw my depression into overdrive, and also amplified my Avoidant Personality Disorder. It’s been … roughly 12 years since I got out of that situation and people still scare me. I am always second guessing people’s motives, retreating deeper into my shell if they seem to show too much interest in me. Social situations are a nightmare to me, leaving me uncomfortable and making me want to bolt.
Back to the Garth show – I got close to tears at one point during “Standing Outside The Fire”. Reflecting on what was then and where I am now made me miss the past. I might have been burned, but now I want to be healed, to dance in the flames again. I want that life back. I want to feel that fire. I want to take chances. I want to live.
“There is this love that is burning deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly, higher and higher
I can’t abide, standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried; it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire”