Too Old to Circle Pit?

Today will be a big day, at least for me. One of my bands is opening for a legendary hardcore punk band that’s reuniting for a few shows. I don’t actually get performance jitters, and rightfully so. I’m very confident in playing music and being on stage in front of people. Sober, drunk, frying, on cocaine, whatever it may be, I’m pretty cozy with an instrument in front of any amount of people. The jitters are because I know every band on the bill personally and understand that there is going to be a lot of people I know there. This spikes my social anxiety and I begin dreading the show. Luckily my kids will be there with me and we should have some fun together. Also, knowing that I’m responsible for driving them would ensure I don’t go too overboard on drinking trying to numb my social anxiety.

My workday was nominal. Got through stuff, talked with people, pretty run of the mill. Being sober and realizing how I’ve been choosing to spend my time has given me some pause on agreeing to things and has begun to more closely dictate where I expend emotional energy. I don’t have any more emotional energy for work. I worry about getting money to pay bills, that’s a humongous stress and all the emotional energy I will bother to expend on that activity. So I’ve been letting most everything roll off my back. So long as it won’t directly affect me receiving money, then I don’t really give a shit anymore. This meant that all day I had an emotional vacuum to fill, so why not fill it with anxiety about playing a show? That seems really necessary, right, brain?

Come the end of the workday, the desire to drink was stronger and more intense than any nicotine craving that I have ever had. I felt like I might actually die if I didn’t have alcohol. My business partner convinces us all to call it a day and go down for drinks and I give no hesitation whatsoever. So I slug down a couple beers, laugh with coworkers, and move along to prep for my show and its early load in. On the way, I grab some performance bananas and a couple beers for later.

My anxiety is growing while I’m at the show, dealing with parking, dealing with other people, dealing with equipment, making a guest list. It’s a lot to take in through a mostly empty, large area. It’s extremely overwhelming. So I have another drink. I drink until I get to a point that I’m ok being in one of the backstage areas talking with old friends. It made me feel terrible that I had to get buzzed to simply catch up with and enjoy the company of people. But I slogged through. During my performance, I managed to misread the setlist and play the completely incorrect song. Didn’t manage to get caught up at any point during it either which was extremely embarrassing. For the first time in a long time I got embarrassed on stage. It was kind of liberating. I moved on, got my bearings and played a pretty decent rest of show.

Only 6 or so months ago I was saying to a friend that I’m too old to mosh anymore. After playing and feeling a little bit alive from forgetting that song on stage, I decided to say screw it and got in the pit for the headliner. I was in it for a good amount of time too. I didn’t hurt! I wasn’t drinking and having a good time around other people. It reminded me of why I fell in love with punk and hardcore in the first place. I ended up not drinking anything else for the rest of the night after that and felt great about it.

My good decisions pretty much stopped there though. I got home and decided that I was too exhausted to cook so I decided to order Taco Bell. This was a shit choice that I will regret later.