We go to a show to see these guys, an all ages show, a rarity around here, most places really. It’s good-when you’re a kid and you live anywhere that’s not Toronto or Montreal or such, see a band while underage-nearly impossible, like gaining the grail from some wizened old man who didn’t want to let it go.
But lord, it makes a girl feel old.
It’s not just the age. It’s the thought that takes hold, the one that makes me shake my head when I see a girl who I could have been, one with that same loose coordination of I don’t give a fuck and please, love me?, the one with the weird pants and the glorious hair. It’s that thought that rolls it’s eyes and mutters what we all mutter lately-has it really been that long?
And my favorite-if I had fucked up at 15, I could been the mother of one of these kids. Truly.
Youth. It’s shiny and brilliant and awkward. And utterly fucking awesome.
As bodies bounced and flew, through their set (which I loved and thankfully we bought the record!) and continued into theirs (which wasn’t terrible but it’s been done…), as the colors circles, emeshed with hair, with laughter and grunts, feet kicking and hands flailing, I couldn’t help but smile.
There’s an age, and we’ve all been there and held it softly in our hands. For all the fear, all the heartache and worry, at 15 at 17, there is a fire inside that cannot quench itself-and it burns electric. Over hair that flailed and waved, hands that threw the horns, laughs and gasps and “fuck ya’s!” floated a whisper, a simmering veil of possibility.
Of course it floated out of my grasp. And when you’re 16 and the world consists of your mother telling you the car needs to be filled up and you better get to sleep, it’s hard to see past yourself enough to see, just over there-the future.
The power we held then! The power these kids had-all at once I say, overlaid like gilt, their futures. The children they would hold, the book, the song, the formula they would write, the lives they would save. I looked into that potential saw future, now. Saw in a startling moment that these are not children, never just children-they are people, alive and vibrant with the truth and beauty only that age can bring.
The bands switched, and the coalesced group they had become splintered, into corners, and I saw as well that which we refuse to admit.
That we’re the future too.
Maybe we don’t burn with the same vivid colors we did at their age. Maybe we don’t shine as brightly as 18 does. But we aren’t the past. We aren’t stagnant, unless we choose so. We have that same potential that the girl who reminded me so much of 17 year old me does, grasping on to her boyfriend in that thirsty way you have of loving then. We can meet on a plane, on the continuum of change and want.
The only difference is that now, I’m a lot more afraid to try.
I looked at that crowd, and saw fearlessness. Swagger. Fear, loathing, love, the emotions you remember feeling like a flame in your belly the last time you had to ask permission to stay out all night. But I saw hope, and power. I saw a want for difference, a lust for creation, the potential for anything.
The power to make, the power to be, the power to become. And it lit up the room.
It’s hard to feel old when you see yourself, ghost like, running in front of you, ignorant to everything that isn’t what you want. It’s hard to feel old when the people in front of you give you so much hope for yourself.