Girls Night Out.
9 year old, Emma shares an epic evening with her mom.
On April 6, 2017, I took my nine-year-old daughter, Emma, to her first concert. She got to see our favorite band, at an amazing venue, on a very special night. We are each going to tell our stories about the best Girls’ Night Out ever.
This year I was going to go to my first concert in LA, but my mom surprised me with tickets to see our favorite band, Third Eye Blind, in San Francisco. It was our first girls’ night out, too, and mom let me wear makeup and everything.
We stood in line for hours waiting to get in, but I didn’t mind because we got to hang out with people we knew from Facebook groups. I told Liseli, “My dad is afraid you all are going to kidnap us.” She said, “We are.” She was joking, though. I don’t think I was supposed to tell anyone my dad said that. But I got to play in the rain like Stephan did in the “Weightless” video. It doesn’t rain a lot where we live, but when it does, mom and I play in the rain. Unless there’s lightning.
While we were waiting, Stephan sent us pizza and it was the best pizza ever. I had pepperoni. I want to eat pizza there the next time we go to San Francisco, but I don’t know the name of the place. We heard them doing their soundcheck and got to hear “Red Star.”
It felt like we had waited forever, but finally the band came on stage. Susan and Nery saved me a spot right in front and a little to the right of Stephan. I was kind of disappointed that Stephan wasn’t wearing the manskirt. He was wearing a hoodie, too, and it covered his hair. I hoped that he wasn’t going to do that for the whole show because only bald men should wear stuff that covers their head. But a few songs in, he pulled down the hood. Finally. I turned to my mom and said, “Stephan is really pretty.”
There were so many songs I wanted to hear live and I heard a lot of them. I was really happy to hear “Alright Caroline,” “Burning Man,” and “Horror Show.” We were so close to the band that Stephan dripped sweat on me and my mom. I’m not sure how I feel about that because even though it’s Stephan’s sweat, it’s still someone else’s sweat. Stephan also held my hands. He is really strong, but has really soft skin. Like a baby. Like baby hands. The skin, not the size. Then we got cake and because it was my first concert, our friends gave me the setlist that was by Stephan’s feet.
Best night ever and we get to do it three more times during the Summer Gods Tour this summer.
“I woke you up and I slit the throat of your confidence.”
Although I didn’t realize it until last year, when I got diagnosed, I’ve been suffering from PTSD since I was 16. I am a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. I shoved those memories into a box and lived in denial for years and years. Last year, I stopped being able to do that and I went to therapy to finally deal with it. The funny thing about therapy is that it can make things worse for a while as you remember stuff you’ve buried and confront the ways in which your life has been limited.
“And there’s a demon in my head that starts to play/A nightmare tape loop of what went on yesterday.”
I hadn’t left the house without my husband in about three years; even the thought of doing that would cause a panic attack. But Emma loves Third Eye Blind, so we planned to go see them three times during the Summer Gods Tour. I thought I’d have plenty of time to wrap my mind around it and deal with it. Then this special 20th anniversary show was announced, so I bought tickets to surprise Emma.
“New York City’s evil…”
San Francisco is one of the cities I associate with my ex-boyfriend, so the thought of going there sent me backward. That’s when I started having nightmares again. I couldn’t sleep. I’d see a tree branch rustling in the wind and think someone was climbing over our back wall. I caught a cold. I started having cluster migraines. The only thing that kept me on that road to San Francisco was that I was determined not to let my mistakes and fears limit my daughter’s life.
“My people are the Misfits…”
Then we were there. We were in San Francisco. Usually, I get nervous meeting new people. But Third Eye Blind has the best fans in the world and it didn’t feel like meeting strangers. It felt like meeting friends I will have for the rest of my life. Hanging out with everyone was as amazing as the show.
“You’re the marigold.”
The concert was amazing. I knew some people from fan groups, so I know what the music means to them. I knew that it saved their lives or sanity in the way that it saved mine. We were all gathered together in front and when I would look over at them, I knew that this night would transform all of us. “Wounded,” “Thanks a Lot,” and “All These Things” are songs I had on repeat in the early morning hours when I couldn’t sleep. I would look over and their faces made clear that for them, like me, singing these songs was a release, a catharsis.
“Let that feeling born in shadow/Let it make you, make you strong/And the demons you've got to carry/carry you on, and on, and on.”
That night made me a different person. When we got back from San Francisco, people said I looked happier, lighter, and more free. I am and I know a lot of people who were there that night felt the same way. I had writer’s block for 18 months and just finished a story and I am starting a new one. I know that it was their 20th anniversary show, but to me that night wasn’t about the past, it was about new beginnings.