Overcoming My Fear of Concerts With a Little Help From the Rolling Stones
As the music started, the crowd stood and cheered. I followed suit. Well, almost. I stood with more intention than balance. And as I did, I veered toward the person seated in the next row.
Hello, secondary progressive MS.
Two years ago, I went to see Paul McCartney at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. I enjoyed the show and the shared moments with my husband, but I grieved afterward. Getting to and from our seats had shaken me to my core. In the dark of night, I had to shuffle down the cement stairs that led to our seats. Without a railing, I squeezed my husband’s hand. More than once, I asked to stop, and I considered leaving altogether.
As I soldiered on, my head was spinning. At that moment, I resented everything. But beneath the anger, fear, and anxiety was a deep sense of loss. I left the stadium that night dejected, vowing never to attend another concert in my life. As a music lover, that decision leveled me. As a human being, I was just sad.
In the past two years, I have passed up every opportunity to attend a concert. That night at Dodger Stadium had defined my fear more than my disease and increased disability level had. I would often replay that night in my head.
And then the inequity of it all struck like a lightning bolt. I felt angry that I had experienced such fear. I knew I wasn’t the only one who had been through such a thing, and I certainly wouldn’t be the last. So, I refused to allow that night to define my ability to try. Multiple sclerosis has rendered me disabled, not dead. I quieted my fears and decided to change the narrative.
I chose to attend another concert: the Rolling Stones.
As I veered toward the seat in front of me, I caught my fall. I laughed at the close call. Sometimes laughter is required. The larger area between the seats was roomy. The new stadium came equipped with railings on all of the steps. The steps themselves were wide and shallow.
I enjoyed the Rolling Stones, and I stayed present without worrying about how I would ascend a stairway without rails. I felt safe, and that perception was everything.
As the band began to play, I looked around. My eyes caught the gaze of a woman in a wheelchair. We shared a smile before I witnessed her dance to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” I knew that one day that might be me. I smiled because I knew I would be here, too.
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