I joke around about the term "PTSD". I shouldn't. It has plenty to do with trauma in life, no matter how great or small. And whatever this rush of something was that hit me tonight...I don't really know what to call it. It was another "woah, that's new", otherworldly feeling. I've been in Barcelona, rehearsing for a world tour with some pretty amazing humans. It has been unbelievable in just about every way. There are times, as a relatively spastic performer, that I get a chance to step out and be crazy for a little bit. There are so many beautiful memories like this on my TS tours. 7 years, right? Man. I remember feeling panicky through the entire show, up until I had my "moment" and then I could truly enjoy the rest and be calm. Every night. And to be honest, after a while, every night after the show I would say, "I never want a 'feature' ever again". I never used to "think too much". I was in my late 20's and I was just fearless and careless, in a way. I didn't care at all what people thought, and I tore through the waters, not looking back at my wake once. I want to return to that. How?
So I've been lucky enough to be able to experience working on some one those- type of "feature moments" on this upcoming event. The old panic from 4 years ago was looming in the back of my mind. It was always like a little kid who was crying all the way to the doctor's office for the inevitable flu shot. I knew it was coming. And I had to face it. And there was no stopping it. It's like screaming and trying to claw your way out of a moving air plane. It's just gonna keep going and chances are, you'll stay in and get to wherever the uncontrollable place is that you're going. Well, hopefully, you controlled the destination in your ticket purchase. Anyway, something strange happened last night as I walked around this new stage. New people. New colors and life and energy and creativity. I walked to the center of the stage to practice a moment. As I headed down that Center Line and into the dark at the end of the path, I just stopped breathing for a moment. I involuntarily just FELT those 60,000 screaming fans at Cowboy Stadium and I sprinted down the Center Line and into the dark. Sliding down on my knees and crumpling into a pile of sparkles, black velvet and flying red hair. Expanding out, opening up and feeling an explosion of...I guess just...the pure power of performance. What it does to you. I had almost forgotten it. That feeling. I didn't care that my knees hurt. I didn't care about anything. I couldn't feel any pain. And then it was all worth it again.
I know very well why people in this industry so often turn to some kind of medication. Be it booze, pills, the right ones, the wrong ones, anything. Because the highs and lows of that are just indescribable! Especially for the bipolar folk. Our highs are VERY high, and the lows, the same. I would call my mom endlessly. I would exercise obsessively, to try to regulate endorphins instead of drinking. I did my best. And all those amazing years are again, another series of stories entirely.
I just stopped on the way down this new Center Line and gasped for a moment. I was walking my way back down into the dark, to face the panic again. But things change. Age changes you. You will become your surroundings eventually. For me anyway, that was it. My worth, identity, life was swallowed by that stage 4 years ago. It's ok. That's when you put on your best show. "Leave a pint of blood on that stage every night". This time...I paused for a moment...took in the good of the beautiful memories and kept on walking. This Center Line is not my last Center Line. I'm not the me I was then.
The Center Line of the stage. That long thrust... U2 has one, Rihanna, you name it. It's how we get closer to you. Every step forward feels like you're pushing through to the other side of the TV screen. The air is thicker, somehow. The tension, deeper. I have always hated that I naturally just involuntarily pick up the energy of those around me. Be it, strangers or friends. Feeling the crowd every night was mania. I felt everything all at once.
But I walk into the dark every night now, with a ring on my finger, a home to love and take care of, hopefully a family soon, a real and true life. A new energy exude. Don't worry. There will still be ...hair. Lots and lots of hair.