The “Subjectively Positive” One

This is gonna be another really long one… it’s more fun for me this way. 😏 Settle in and enjoy.

Now, this is something that’s almost impossible to explain to someone who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced severe social anxiety. πŸ€” But last Saturday, after spending about a week and a half without even leaving my house, while trying (and failing) to adjust to a new medication, and still tending to my gimpy knee… I had to go to a concert in Columbus. 😐 At the Schottenstein Center, which holds about 18,000 people. 18,000 loud, screaming, drinking, super enthusiastic, having an awesome time, concert-goin’ people. 😏 (God bless ’em… heh) Oh, and we had “Meet and Greet” VIP passes for Debbie Gibson and Tiffany after the show.

The story begins last year, when my friend Jim got us tickets to see Phil Collins at Nationwide Arena. I had seen Genesis before, but never Phil on his own… so it was a bucket list thing. We had a great time, so in the fall of last year when “The Mixtape Tour” tickets came available – I went ahead and got our tickets, sort of as a birthday gift / way to pay back his generosity re: the Phil Collins tickets.

Flash forward to last Saturday… and it took every ounce of oomph that I had to make myself get up, get ready, and go to the venue to meet Jim. πŸ₯Ί My anxiety was so bad that up until the minute I was finally able to make myself get in the car, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to do it. 😬 But I had already cancelled on Jim on a few other things, and I would feel like a giant shit if I bailed on him again, and he ended up just going by himself. So I honestly went more because of Jim, rather than a desire to actually go. Well, no… that isn’t entirely accurate… because I absolutely wanted to go… heh… like I said, it’s hard to explain how anxiety can overrule anything that you think you might want or be able to do. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Heh… I’m realizing that this isn’t gonna sound like a positive experience, so let me go ahead and interject here to say that I did have a good time while I was there, and was glad that I went. πŸ™‚ It was the getting there and getting home that were the biggest hurdles for my uncooperative brain. And of course there had to be construction all along the freeway on the way there, which is always fun – anxiety or not. And then when I got there, because I left so late, I ended up having to walk… *consulting google maps* … I had to walk “Total distance:Β 2,885.24 ftΒ (879.42 m)from the parking lot to the venue. 😧 But I had my cane, I took my time, and didn’t die too much. 😏 In fact, not only did it help me to unwind from the traffic, but it continued my DIY physical therapy that I’m trying – to avoid the costly, painful, inconvenient, time consuming, real thing.

The thing that probably saved the night for me, once we found our way to our seats, was that we were at the absolute top of the seats. Literally everyone in front of us, with the backs of our chairs being against the wall. 😊 Plus the seat next to me was empty. 😁 I can’t stress enough how much of a difference it makes to be “outside” of the humans rather than surrounded by a sea of them in every direction. So for the duration of the actual show, I was golden. πŸ™‚ Me and Jim, catching up on shit, no assholes around to be a nuisance, a decent view of everything due to the big LED screens, despite being in the very definition of “the nosebleed seats” for the concert… and it was awesome. I was glad that I “made” myself go.

Then the show ended. 😳 At which point we had to navigate through the herd of exiting humans, trying to figure out where we had to be to do the Meet and Greet part of our experience. 😬 Buttloads of people, slight confusion of where to go, the prospect of meeting a couple of celebrity singers… so, again, I found myself *this close* to just walking out one of the nearby doors and just waiting for Jim to go and do that part on his own. But he said the right things I needed to hear, I took a few woosah moments, and once a lot of the people were gone we found our way to what was essentially the basement under all of the seating. 😯

Sorry, I’ll try to tighten this up a bit. 😏 There were different M&G packages, some with just Debbie, some with just Tiffany, some with both – so thankfully, even though they had us all crammed into a relatively small waiting space, we got to do our thing pretty quickly since we had the dual package. Got a hug from Tiffany, they both autographed my lanyard, and while there was a little confusion with the official person taking the photos – it gave me some time to actually talk with Debbie while we had a short wait.

She asked if I had a good time and I told her “Oh, absolutely…” with a smile, but since other people were distracted I was able to lean over to her and kinda quietly say “… but man is my social anxiety kickin’ right about now.” Heh… probably a little weird, but it would have been awkward just standing there silently as we waited for the photographer to get ready. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But she just smiled back at me and said she actually knows what I mean, and that before each show she usually stays in her dressing room with her piano and just plays some random jazz or classical to help her get rid of herΒ pre-show anxiety. πŸ™‚ And that was a comforting thing to hear… since rather than her thinking I was a weirdo, she could actually relate. Then we got the pic, I got a hug from her as well, and that was that.

Well, that was it for me I mean. 😏 Jim still had to get his picture with them… but keep in mind, Jim wasn’t Jim for the night… he went as Squirtman. πŸ˜³πŸ˜„ The orange body suit, the cape, the Squirtman puppet, flashing LED glasses, the cowboy hat… heh… the whole deal. That was actually another good thing throughout the night – because when you’re next to Squirtman, you’re essentially invisible – which was perfect. πŸ‘πŸ»

He got there an hour before the doors even opened, so he was parked right in the first lot and was able to give me a ride out to my car – since all of the walking and stairs and such did finally take its toll on me. πŸ˜•Β I did have the typical “I need to be home”Β voice repeating in my head as I was driving, but the goody feeling from the concert buzz made the long drive home much more bearable than some drives I’ve made in the past. πŸ™‚

So yeah… yay me. 😊 I did a thing. 😏

If you remember any of these bands or singers and wanna check out some clips, here ya go:

Alrighty, that’s about it. Congrats if you made it through all of my (hopefully) descriptive weirdo rambling. πŸ˜‰

Advertisements

Overheard

I hopped in line for the concert with about a half hour until the doors opened, and once they did I was inside within five or ten minutes.Β Jim and Adam, however, had taken a “park and ride” bus, so they ended up waiting outside for almost an hour before they got in. Having found and claimed my seat so early, I was left with nearly an hourΒ all by myself – which basically forced me to sit and listen to the random conversations that were going on around me.

The star of that show was this drunk old redneck a half-dozen seats to the left, in the row directly behind mine. Now, everyone was talking, sometimes with the strangers nearby them, but this guy was three or four steps louder than everyone else in the area… and the first thing I heard him say to a group of people seated next to him was, “Do you know if he’s a fag?” 😯😬

“Yeah, I was at this Judas Priest concert, and the lead singer said that Phil Collins was a fag. I mean, I don’t know if I believe it, and, you know, it wouldn’t bother me if he was. I don’t mind being around them, but they don’t need to be kissing all over each other like that. It’s just uncomfortable, ya know?”Β πŸ˜πŸ˜‘ One of the other guys near him said, “Well, you do know that it’s his son that’s playing the drums, right?” 😏

“Well, that’s just what the singer of Judas Priest said, so I dunno. He (Phil) better play during ‘In The Air Tonight’ ya know? It’s kinda important.” The same guy next to him then informed Drunky that Phil had the back and foot injury, which seemed to confuse him – but then he noticed the photo slideshow that was playing on the monitors and said, “Do you know how long he was with Genesis? I gotta say that it was at least five years… but I’d really like to know. I do know that he got his start on Miami Vice though.”

Now, I thought that the idea of Phil Collins being on the TV show Miami Vice was some goofy fever dream of Drunky, but it turns out that he actually was. 😯 However… and this is a big however… he most definitely didn’t get his start on, or because of, Miami Vice.Β πŸ™„ Right around that point was when Lurch came and claimed his seat next to mine. 😠 Drunky looked over at me, as if he was wondering why I didn’t scoot to one of the empty seats next to me (Jim and Adam’s seats) because Lurch was really crowding me. 😣 The seats were definitely not designed with larger humans in mind.

The main guy that Drunky was talking to then asked Drunky if he had seen the Journey or Def Leppard tours last year, because he had gone to both of them apparently. He went on to say how bad Journey was, but that Def Leppard really “brought it” with their performance.Β πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ Drunky inquired if the show had all four of the original guys from Def Leppard, saying that he was pretty sure that the original drummer had died. 🀨 Guy responded that yes, it was all four original members, and Drunky asserted that he was pretty sure the original drummer died in a tour bus wreck. Of course Rick Allen was in a bad wreck, but rather than dying he “only” lost an arm… forcing him to learn how to play again – but with one less appendage.Β πŸ™

As they were continuing to talk about Def Leppard, a Russian family of five sat in the seats directly behind me, directly next to Drunky. 😟 As the family laughed and smiled and talked with each other, all in their native Russian language, Drunky got quiet and kept giving them the side-eye. 🀨 Guy kept trying to continue the conversation about different concerts, but Drunky remained quiet and focused on Russian family any time that they were all speaking and laughing together.

It was around then that I started playing on my phone and actually minding my own business, because Drunky was making me nervous with the way he was acting. 😬

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚

The Heart of Rock and Roll

I figured I should get on here to give an update about the chest pains that I was having the other day since I’m feeling better now. No pains at all yesterday, and only hints of it the day before. I even decided to keep my tentative plans and spun them so that it was actually beneficial to my then-current condition.

It was yet another deal where I made the agreement a while ago, and then when the day came I was less than enthusiastic for obvious reasons. 🀒❀ But Cassi’s brother Scott, he was doing a rare live performance (drums) with Rich Regal at the local Moose lodge – and since she had never seen him play live I didn’t wanna have to cancel. But when I thought about it, having someone around for a couple of days while I was feeling concerned… it would actually help put my mind at ease.

So we went to the show, which wasΒ (fortunately for my well-being… heh)Β only moderately attended while also being held in a rather large area of the lodge… so it actually ended up being a good time. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ It wasn’t really our style of music, but it was more about showing up to see and support Scott and Rich and the rest of them.

Having Cassi around yesterday also helped with my anxiety enough that I made a trip to the Walmart in Logan and did a “monthly” style grocery trip. πŸ€— Lots of cans, boxes, and frozen stuffs… should last me a good long while. Other than that we’ve just been chilling and surprisingly doing a bunch of reading about job stuff, investment stuff, insurance stuff, doctor stuff, etc. 😁 I found one of those somewhat cheezy “Book of Secrets” books at the thrift store, which attempts to give you all sorts of tips and trips regarding almost everything you might encounter in life, so we’ve been having a good time going through that and even learning some things we didn’t previously know.

As far as I’m concerned though, whatever was going on with those chest pains… I feel like I’m most likely past whatever it was. (Touch wood) Obviously I’ll mention it to my doctor whenever I makeΒ that appointment… heh… but I’ve put “wisdom teef removal” at the top of my priority list for the moment, but after I’m starting to realize that I can’t keep putting off those routine “You’re a middle age d00d now” family physician appointments. πŸ™„

So, I Went Out

Yesterday was an all around recipe for failure. πŸ˜’ I was still dealing with the pharmacy issues andΒ already feeling like shit, but I had made a promise to a friend and I was determined to not be a disappointment again. 😞 For her birthday, a couple of months ago I bought Cassi two tickets to a concert she wanted to see at the Newport, and that show was last night. It was never my intention to go with her, as I just can’t do it right now (I didn’t even go see Skillet at Winter Jam) but I wanted her to be able to take a friend or her sister to share the fun with.

Unfortunately they didn’t have a ride to get to the show, so I went up there, picked them up, took them to the show, dropped ’em off, and then I had to find something to do until the show was over and I could pick them up again, take them home, and then make my way back home myself. πŸ€” I didn’t mind doing that at all… it was part of the gift. But I was already in bad shape before I left, and the sea of humans and traffic on campus only made things worse. 😬 I was gonna just find some thrift stores or something to kill time, but there were just too many people so I needed to go elsewhere.

That lead to one of the high points of my evening at least, after deciding to go over to Hollywood Casino. I hadn’t been there since maybe last summer, and I remembered that being in a casino often masks my pain… but not so much last night. 😐 It was fun, but not fun, if that makes sense. 😏 Too much time in the car, too much sitting in uncomfortable chairs… and it just kept getting worse. The one saving grace is that I kept losing and winning at a rate that had me only slightly down from when I walked in – and then right when I was leaving, I hit on a machine that Jim always says I should play. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ This makes the second time he’s picked a winner for me.

But anyway, by the time I got home around 11pm… omg… worst neck pain that I’ve had in months. πŸ˜“ I’m not yet going to assume that the steroid injection is wearing off, since there were other factors, but yeah… it took exhaustion to finally make me sleep, because there wasn’t a single position that I could turn to that would make it go away. That sort of pain that makes a person go, “Oh shit… I’m really screwed if it just stays like this.” But like I said, thankfully, today the pain was down probably 90% from yesterday.

I guess I should wrap this up. 😏 Waking up feeling somewhat okay today… it’s allowed me to sit and plan my way towards the weekend in a way that I might be functional and okay. Don’t get me wrong, I hate that have to do any of this, and I hate that I have these days where I know I should do absolutely nothing, before baby-stepping my way out of it… but despite how it makes me look or how it may affect others, I have to start figuring out how to not be physically miserable and emotionally fucked because of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Rough Days

Starting to feel better. I’m able to lift my left arm again, so that’s good. 😏

  • First Stage: Oush. Mucho pain.
  • Second Stage: Pain lessens, but can’t raise my arm past my waist.
  • Third Stage: Able to raise arm again, but at the cost of pain returning.

That’s almost always how it goes, and every damn time you can bet that I’m sitting here worrying that this might be it… that this might be the time that the muscles in my shoulder crap out and just stay that way. 😟 But so far, so good. My head still feels like it weighs twice as much as normal though, whenever I tilt it from side to side. 😬 (Well then…. don’t tilt it from side to side! πŸ˜…)

Basically I’ve just been as careful as possible yesterday and today, and I’m not going to be stupid this time and try to jump back into any kind of action before I should. 😐 I’ve got nearly my entire wardrobe worth of laundry waiting to be washed, along with a handful of other things… and yeah, it’s making me twitchy that I can’t start checking it off my list yet, but I’ll just work on bills and paperwork tonight in order to feel like I’m not being worthless, and the rest can come whenever I’m actually back to good.

I haven’t really been able to reengage my social engine yet either. πŸ˜’ I was already having issues in that department for a while though, so it’s not surprising – but all the people at the concert definitely didn’t help. It’s strange sometimes… trying to figure out this weird new person that I’m becoming. 😐 I’ve got a pretty good idea of how I got here, but it’s a little too personal/lengthy to get into… just gotta keep trying to get better.

(And you’ve got to check this out: “15 Thoughts Every Introvert Who Loves Music Has At A Concert” – I only found this page just now, and holy shit is it accurate. πŸ˜… Seriously. Read this and you’ll get a slightly better understanding of how my brain works. Just magnify each bullet point by a few factors and you’re there… even number 15 nails it perfectly.)

Another One?

If I hadn’t already bought the tickets a couple of months ago, and had to decide yesterday morning if I wanted to go that night, there’s a really good chance I would have stayed home – but as it were, it was off to Dayton for another Skillet concert. 😏 I’m glad to have been there, don’t get me wrong, it’s just another one of those “Man I wish I could just snap my fingers and be there / be home.” deals.

I swear, each time I do whatever “fun” thing I decide to do, it gets more and more difficult – without any real reason that I can tell. 😐 For this concert road trip, I was honestly only “good” for the hour or so that Skillet was on the stage. Before that it was “hurry up, hurry up, hurry up…” and after it was “Ugh, really wanna be home, really wanna be home…” 😬 And that’s on top of feeling like I’m dying today, since I have no chill and can never keep myself from flailing around too much when I go see a band. (And trust me, it doesn’t take much to bring the pain.)

Okay, but other than all of that… heh… the Skillet performance was amazing. Probably the best show that I’ve seen them do, and I bet it’s close to a dozen times that I’ve seen them in person by now. πŸ˜ƒπŸ€˜πŸ» Originally it was gonna be me, Dez, Athena, and Sean… but Sean went back to Canada, Athena changed her mind, so I substituted Cassi on my end and then Dez brought Ashley. πŸ€” Even though that had two of my different worlds bumping up against each other a little more than I’d like, it ended up being a really good time. 😏

EDIT: (Really impressed with the iPhone 7+ audio, that close to the speakers.)