Most of my greatest ideas happen on the concert field. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m obsessed with live music, and anywhere it’s happening is my happy place. When I’m at a show, I experience so much joy. I let loose and dance my heart out like everyone’s watching, but I don’t care. I surround myself with new and old friends. I can be found in the crowd yelling “Woo!” and fist pumping, spinning in circles, performing high kicks, busting out the running man, bopping my head, dressed head to toe in sparkles and feathers, while giving and receiving as many hugs as I possibly can. I smile so much my face muscles feel sore the next day.
In the past, the only time I felt comfortable in my skin was when I was knee deep in a live music experience. The moment the band plays their first note, I exhale out all of the stresses that I carried with me. All judgement instantly evaporates into the patchouli-filled air as I start to notice other weirdos just like me. No one attempts to hide their weird, because why would you? Everyone’s uniqueness is celebrated and honored there.
This is why I’ve seen the band Phish over 100 times and why I plan my vacations and events around festival and tour schedules. My people (aka my tribe of weirdos) flock there and I always feel safe to let my freak flag fly when I am around them. Not too long ago, I was afraid to let that part of me out when I was at home. I totally smothered the wildest expression of my authentic self and I felt like I was suffocating.
I didn’t go from wearing khakis to sparkles on everything overnight. I like to say I was an authentic self flasher. Now you see the real me. Now you don’t. There was a secret happening below the surface;
My secret was that I was starting to merge my festival self with my not at a festival self. Here’s what I did to bridge the gap.
- I almost always had on tie-dyed underwear, the latest pin I acquired, and glitter hiding beneath my adulting costume. Even though no one could see it, I knew it was there and I felt a little bit more like my true self.
- During breaks at work, I could be found in a bathroom stall having a raging dance party to the my favorite tunes on my phone. I pre-made a Potty Time Playlist and when I had to go (and sometimes when I didn’t have to, but I pretended I did because I needed a break) I would put headphones in my hears and multi-task by literally doing a pee pee dance.
- When I’m at a festival, I make eye contact and smile at everyone who comes onto my path and most of the time they smile back. It feels like a safe and normal thing to do. At home, it felt like the opposite was true and I was afraid to commit such an act. Until I did it anyway. Some people quickly looked away and pretended I didn’t exist. Others shot back with a death stare. A few people looked at me like I had five heads and a tail. A couple of folks smiled back and I could tell it brightened up their day. I realized that it didn’t matter if the smile was receprecated because it felt good to do it.
The more I flashed my true self and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t just straight up keel over and die, the happier I felt. Even though I would get uncomfortably stared at for my outfit choices and honked and pointed at when I was dancing down the street, I started to notice that I didn’t care, because my personal bliss was worth the risk of looking strange to the world.
What do you do to bring the festival into your daily life? Please leave a comment below.
The magic in me sees the magic in you,