A few months ago, for some random reason, I decided I wanted to get into records. I think what spurred it was getting into Twenty One Pilots (yes, them again). I suddenly wanted everything they had which included two records, Blurryface and Vessel. Around that time I also won the newest Coldplay album on vinyl, so that helped. I did some research and ended up buying a Crosley record player online. It had pretty good reviews and was a complete unit. It had built-in speakers and was basically a starter turntable. It got here the same day as my Coldplay album (which I was amazed to find was a double colored album). I plugged it in and threw on some Coldplay. Unfortunately, it sucked (the record player, not the album). Right out of the box the right speaker was crackling and cutting in and out. I was pretty bummed out and got mom to return it to the store I ordered online from. I went out a bit later and got a different one from Bed, Bath and Beyond of all places. It was an Innovative Technology turntable, which is the same brand as the tower speaker I have in the living room and that thing is awesome. The IT player had all the bells and whistles that I didn’t really need, bluetooth, speakers, played all three speeds and was able to be hooked up to external speakers. The speakers of that unit sucked too, they worked but they sucked. I bought some cheap computer speakers to hook it up to and that helped a bit.
I slowly started building my vinyl collection by buying albums from Amazon. Who knew they had vinyl? They actually have thousands of records, it’s pretty cool. I bought one from Urban Outfitters too. I can’t believe all the random places that sell records. I also found a record store about a 15 minute drive from me. They are a bit more expensive there but I don’t have to wait for shipping and I am extremely impatient, so that helps! Right now I have Vessel by Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface by Twenty One Pilots, A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay, Hozier (self titled), Blue Neighbourhood by Troye Sivan and 25 by Adele. I am trying to keep the collection to things I actually want to listen to regularly and avoid filler albums. Some of the artwork on albums is so cool though, I almost want to buy them just for that. Good thing they are so expensive so I can’t afford to buy whatever I want!
Yesterday, I got a new record player. This one is an Audio Technica AT-LP60. It doesn’t have built-in speakers but it sounds a lot better. It is fully automatic so I don’t have to move the needle around. It’s belt driven (I had to hook up the belt myself, felt very technical). It only plays two speeds but that’s okay because I really only buy 33s. It looks so much better than my old one, you can actually tell it’s a record player. Now I just feel fancy as fuck. So I sold my old one today and made some quick cash from it.
I’m really excited to keep building my album collection and to just chill out with a record on.
I have been getting this feeling lately in the pit of my stomach, kind of where the diaphragm is. It feels like someone is punching me in the stomach but I know what it is. It’s the knowledge that I am simply existing instead of living. The last ten years of my life have been spent merely breathing, eating and sleeping. I haven’t truly lived since I was a teenager and in my early 20s.
Back then I was going out everyday. I was rarely home. I was climbing mountains, hitting up beaches, shopping and just living the west coast life. That has changed. I now spend my days on the couch in front of the TV or on my laptop. Living online is so lonely. The problem with being online all day everyday is that you see how others are living. You see all their best moments and you watch their lives unfold from your couch. They are out at music festivals, eating brunch with friends, going to beaches, climbing mountains, travelling and just doing what people without anxiety do. They are living, they are experiencing every breath in full detail. They don’t take naps to pass hours during the day that they simply cannot stand to live through. They wake up with excitement and positive thoughts for the day. They shower, brush their teeth, head off to work and meet up with friends after. The life of an average 30 year old is something I have been craving desperately. A life free of the fear of my own body, free of the “what ifs” and “I can’ts”. They don’t think about it, they simply do it. They hop on planes and go on adventures thousands of miles from home.
I know that people put their best life on display on social media. They want us to see the highlites of their lives, the times when everything is perfect. I know that there are stories behind those smiles and sometimes there is suffering behind the sparkle in their eyes. I just wish I had a little bit of it. I’m not asking for much, I would just like to be able to do simple things like go into a mall without having to have the exit in sight. I want to be able to eat in a restaurant without my stomach doing backflips and my mind racing. I want to be able to post pictures of me smiling at parties or out with friends shopping or even just walking down the street. I have a very limited life right now and the worst part is that it is my own doing. I realise that only I have the power to change my life. Anxiety is self-inflicted. I locked myself up in a cage years ago and threw the key just out of reach. I can feel freedom, I can see it. I know it’s possible because I have been there before. I have felt the wind in my proverbial sails and I have felt what life is like when it is truly lived. Maybe that’s why it is so hard now. I know what true freedom tastes like. I am in a prison of my own design and I’m not sure how to break out.
The pain of merely existing is starting to become more than I can bear. Sitting on the couch everyday, I can feel my soul rotting away. I can feel the person I once was getting farther and farther from the person I have become. Every day spent on the couch is another day wasted. The feeling in my stomach is getting stronger every day and I feel like I am either about to burst out of this and come back to life with a vengeance or I’m about to implode and fall deeper than I have ever been. I am trying to stay positive, focus on the small victories and realise that I will never be like the people I see on the internet. I will never have that life. All I want is freedom from my own mind to live the life I want and, frankly, the life every human deserves. I am sitting on the sidelines of life watching others pass by with their accomplishments. I want back in the race. I want to feel life again.
I bet you’re wondering why I haven’t posted anything since the concert. Or maybe you don’t exist and I’m just talking to myself, who knows. Either way, I am now and that’s the important thing! I am kind of torn about how to write this. On one side the concert was great and I had so much fun but on the other side it was terrifying. So, do I talk about the fun part or the terrifying part or both? Let’s do both.
We left here at about 5:30 and it took an hour or so to get down there. The first thing I noticed when we got there was the line. Holy shit was there ever a line. I was expecting a little line but not all 3000 people outside at once waiting to get in. Luckily we are Canadian and everyone was lined up all perfectly and being very cordial. So once we payed the parking fee we got in the line which was wrapped around the back of the theater. People must have gotten there hours before the doors opened. The doors opened at 6:30 and we got there at about that time. One thing that also kind of surprised me was the amount of kids there. I kind of knew it would be mostly teenage girls or high schoolers but there were actually a few kids that were probably even under 13. Mom wasn’t the oldest person there by a long shot. Lots of kids were there with their parents. We stood in line beside the tour buses for a few minutes before someone came along and told us to turn around and we would get in faster lol. So we turned around and started walking to the other side of the theater to get in. I was freaked out while waiting in line but surprisingly my knees were stable and I was doing okay.
Once we got to the door I lost all dexterity in my hands. My purse was searched and I was told to dump my water (which I was expecting). I squeezed out the lines of people to dump my water beside the door like many others before me had already done. Then I got to the ticket lady and suddenly my fingers stopped working. I was shaking and trying to unfold my paper ticket. Mom was already in the doors standing there waiting for me. I fumbled with the ticket for what felt like 5 minutes but was probably 30 seconds. Mom was about to help me when I finally got it. She scanned the ticket and I got in too. I was kind of in shock that the tickets actually worked. We got them from a third party site and with all the bad press they have had, I was pretty nervous that they might be duds. We were in!
The lobby was a fucking zoo. People everywhere. People were lining up to get into the doors because the actual theater itself wasn’t open yet, just the lobbies. We wiggled through the lines to get to the concession to get some water. I got two bottles and was told the lids would have to come off and stay off. I still don’t really understand that but oh well. I grabbed the bottles and we went up to the mezzanine level. The mezzanine level was much quieter. There was about 1/10th the amount of the people on that level than in the lobby on the main level. We went to the bathroom and I got a wet paper towel and dumped one of the bottles of water into my reusable bottle. After sitting in the lobby on the mezzanine level for half an hour or so the doors to the theater opened and we were allowed to take our seats. People slowly shuffled in and we were seated exactly where I thought we would be. The aisles were pretty small but I managed okay. For a while there was no one sitting beside me or mom so I thought we might get lucky. Shortly after we arrived a group of teenage guys sat behind us. They talked a lot about what would happen during the concert and I was kind of bummed that it was being ruined but luckily pretty much nothing they said actually happened. Soon, mom had people sitting beside her and I had a lone guy sitting beside me. I was trying desperately to hold it together. I kept wiping my face with the paper towel and sipping water as the aisle filled and my escape route became more and more crowded. I kept looking back to make sure the exit door didn’t move and tried to keep my mind on who I was there to see.
The opener started at 7:30 sharp, right on time. Man did he suck. If you ever get a chance to see Coleman Hell in concert, save your money. All his songs sounded the same (seriously I thought it was one long song) and he just kind of jumped around…he jumped off the stage and then couldn’t get back on, that was entertaining. Poor guy. After 30 minutes of that crap, the lights came up again and everyone started to disperse to the lobbies again and wander around. It seemed like everyone there knew everyone else. Like I said earlier, they probably all went to the same high school or something. They were always waving at friends sitting in different sections and yelling at each other from across the theater. I got through the opener and now I just had to wait 30 minutes for them to set up for Twenty One Pilots and then hopefully I would be fear free and everything would be great.
Exactly 30 minutes later the lights dropped again, the lighted mic started descending from the ceiling and the crowd screamed louder than I have ever heard a crowd scream. Josh jumped on the drums and Tyler met the microphone on the podium and they started with heavydirtysoul. Suddenly I was out of my seat and screaming my head off to the music. I was overwhelmed, but I wasn’t terrified…not as much as I thought I would be anyways. Watching Tyler jump around the stage, fall to the ground dramatically when the base dropped and jump back up with the tambourine to hit it perfectly was amazing. Did I mention that I was in the same room as Josh Dun?! After I sang every fucking lyric to that song they moved on to Stressed Out. Mom rocked out to this one pretty hard too. The crowd was going crazy, the lights were amazing and there was an awesome set of TV screens behind the boys that totally added another level to the whole night. I sang my heart out and danced and screamed and basically did everything I wanted to do.
To be honest, the rest of the concert is kind of a blur. I remember little bits clearly, like the talk about Tim Horton’s and poutine, goner, car radio and some others. I remember the smoke cannons and the videos played on the screens behind the boys. The back flip was epic, Josh’s trumpet playing was awesome and Tyler killed the ukulele as expected. Mom recorded pretty much the entire night and I’m glad she did because like I said, I don’t remember much. I don’t know if it’s blocked out because of anxiety or because I was in such euphoria that I was in another dimension altogether. I recorded video as well but when I got home and watched it, I discovered that it recorded me singing and I sing horribly so those videos are just for me! It was an hour and a half of pure, raw emotion and awesomeness. They finished with trees and the finale was epic. Josh and Tyler jumped up on the crowd for the second time and the drums were murdered while confetti cannons exploded and water splashed from the drums. I wanted to get confetti but forgot to before we left. The people that got to hold them up for that probably had a pretty epic experience. Hopefully next time I might be able to go into the pit and who knows, maybe I will get to hold Josh’s hand while he climbs on top of the crowd, a girl can dream. It was amazing, truly amazing. I left years of anxiety in that room. Screamed out years of frustration and anger. I left feeling pretty raw emotionally and kind of in disbelief. I had just witnessed a Twenty One Pilots concert in person. Something just a few months ago I was convinced I would never be able to do because I have anxiety.
The whole way out the door, to the car and on the way home I just remember swearing. I was so relaxed and just in shock that I was able to do that. I stuck it out and it was worth every second. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I had the time of my life (at least what I can remember of it). It was a lot to take in when you’re used to sitting on your couch every night watching TV. To go from that to a room full of 3000 screaming people with lights, smoke cannons, loud music and just general hecticness is pretty intense but I did it and I am so glad I did. I went to bed thinking of what else I could be capable of that I have no idea about because I simply don’t try. “I have anxiety” I tell myself, “you can’t do that because you have anxiety, so don’t even try”. I have to get out of that mindset if I ever want to live the life I want and deserve. One full of fun nights and experiences that I will remember for a lifetime.
Now on to why I haven’t written anything in a week. I woke up on Tuesday feeling okay. I was tired, but that was to be expected. Me and mom went and got breakfast and I layed around all day recovering. I took a nap and watched all the videos that mom took (there were a lot). I went to bed and woke up the next morning feeling like I got hit by a fucking airplane. I have been so sick this past week, I don’t remember the last time I was this sick. I didn’t want to move, my skin hurt, everything hurt. I was a fucking wreck. But, I am starting to feel better, I went to the doctor today finally and got some meds. Hopefully once I get fully better I will be able to be more and more excited about what I have done and what it means for me now. I can’t thank my mom enough for coming with me. She made it so easy for me and I know she had a blast too. I am ready for them to come back so I can rock out even more, maybe next time I will remember the whole show and won’t be so freaked out. Only time will tell I guess!
Two days until what I hope is the best night of my life. I know I am putting a lot of pressure on myself for this night but I think it’s helping me build confidence. Of course there’s always that voice in the back of my head telling me not to build it up too much and not to expect too much from myself because if I fail it will make it even harder. But that won’t happen. I am actually pretty calm about it right now, but that might be the ativan I took earlier as a test to see how it would affect me.
Speaking of that ativan test, I’m glad I did it. I took half of an ativan to see how it would make me feel and if it would be enough to calm me or if I would need to take a full one. I also wanted to test if it would make me feel like crap. The last time I took ativan it made me feel like shit for two days afterwards. Anyway, I took half of one today and it made me feel like I was hit by a truck so I don’t think I will be doing that. I think I’ll just take a gravol or two, they make me drowsy enough that I think it will help.
I have been stressing over what to wear too. I want to be comfortable and I don’t want to be too hot because I sweat like a madman. I decided on shorts and a tank top and I’m going to try not to worry too much about what I or the people around me are wearing. The goal is to ignore everyone in that room except for mom, Tyler and of course Josh. I have been watching some videos of the concerts (short ones because I don’t want to ruin it for myself) and it looks like there are a lot of flashing lights and just general hyped upness. I’m pretty sure I can handle it but I really hope I don’t get overwhelmed. I guess if I do, I can just go to the lobby to catch my breath. I am planning to just sit and get used to the ambiance while the opener plays so I can get into the show that actually counts.
I can’t believe that this is going to happen. Everything in the universe has kind of aligned for me to make this as smooth as it can be. I could not ask for things to line up any more perfectly. I can’t wait to scream my heart out and feel the connection to the music.
Remember my post about how much I love Twenty One Pilots? Well, I am lucky enough to be able to go to one of their concerts. Everything I have seen online from their shows looks amazing. The two of them are able to put on more of a show than a group of 5 (one direction, anyone?). Why is this a big deal you ask? Let me tell you.
When I first discovered them and started my obsession, I looked up everything I could online. I saw videos and pictures from their shows and saw the passion they played with night after night. The back flips, drumming on the crowd, standing on the crowd, climbing things that they shouldn’t be climbing, it just looks so bad ass. Of course I saw videos of other people going to their concerts and I thought I would never be able to do that. Surely someone with agoraphobia as bad as mine would never survive a concert like that in downtown Vancouver. I went to a three days grace concert at the casino about 5 minutes from me and could barely stand I was so nervous. “I could never do that” I told myself over and over, feeling defeated once again by my own brain. The majority of me wanted to go so bad I would do anything but that one little corner in the back of my mind said “no, don’t do it, it’s too dangerous”. I spent nights thinking about how awesome it would be if I was “normal” and could go to things like that. How amazing it must be for people to be able to go to events and not feel the weakness in their legs and the constant trembling of their entire body from the overwhelming fear. Fear of what? I don’t think I even know anymore. It is so ingrained.
One day I was daydreaming and wishing and hoping and decided for some reason to google Twenty One Pilots tickets. I found that even though they were sold out from the actual vendor (Ticketmaster), they were available from third-party sites like StubHub and Ticket Liquidator. They were double the price of the original tickets but I would spend almost anything to be able to see them. I casually mentioned it to my mom thinking she would brush it off, but she didn’t. She was open to it. Of course I would never be able to go without her. She is my safety net and the only one I trust to get me home from a night that far away from safety. She would have to drive me, I was willing to rent a car. If I remember correctly we talked about it for a day or so (I might be wrong I may have purchased instantly). She said she would go with me. I was just expecting her to drive me and maybe hang out downtown while I was at the show but she went further than that. She agreed to come with me to the concert. I went to three days grace alone and although it was good because I could leave when I wanted, it felt pretty lame at the same time. I was so excited I remember I could barely think. I was going to attempt to do something I thought I could never do (I say attempt here because it has not actually happened yet and I might fail miserably). I bought two tickets for the show and I was reeling with excitement. I didn’t care how much the tickets cost or how much the rental car would cost. I wanted to go to Twenty One Pilots and I was NOT going to let fear or money stop me this time.
Flash forward to now, seven days until the concert. I will forget about it for a while and then all of a sudden it will flash into my mind and my stomach will flip about four times. I have the tickets on my fridge but there has been so much bad press lately about third-party sites selling fake tickets. I really hope these are real because if they aren’t, I think I will be heartbroken. This might be my only chance to see them in a smaller venue and not in an actual arena that seats 60,000 people. I bought the tickets not knowing what seats I would be in, only the row. I am lucky enough that I won’t have anyone in front of me because of the layout of the theater but I won’t be in the pit. I am actually raised up a few feet from the floor level so I should have a good view without being so far away that I’m on the balcony. I am terrified and excited. I decided this is not something that I am going to let anxiety ruin. I have ativan and I have even gone there as a test run to look at the location and check my routes and all that. I have done all the preparation I can to prepare myself for the new surroundings. Luckily, google street view lets you actually go inside the theater so I have seen what it looks like, where the bathrooms are, where the exits are, where my seats are in relation to all those things and have basically done as much as I can to ensure my success. I am trying to not let fear take over and just feel pure excitement. If you have anxiety you know that excitement can quickly turn into the all too familiar feeling of sheer terror. I want it to be the best night of my life and I think it will be. I might be the only 30-year-old there with her mother but who the fuck cares. I do what I can in any way that I can. If that means altering who I go with or how I get there, it’s worth it because I still get to experience something I never thought would be possible.