Raise Your Hands
You Give Love a
It was Tuesday morning and Lauren knew what she had to do, to save the two elevating, icing-on-the-cake-of-life kind of things she had been most attached to.
But that had been slipping away.
Three things, if she counted her own high, the moments when she herself had felt on top of her game and as if God himself was supporting her in doing what she had come here on earth to do.
But aside from her own ecstasy, the other two things she wanted to rescue were:
The memory of the rock concert and its charismatic front man.
He was someone whom she would have fallen for regardless of his profession or the context she would meet him; But he’d also been the first international star she had ever fallen in love with.
In 1988, two years into being a fan, she was still only 16 years old and had gone to the concert. She could still not believe she’d been so lucky that her parents had driven her to the other side of the country on a week night.
She had not understood the double meaning of any lyrics, but there had been no need to either. She seemed to naturally pick up on the sexual energy of the music itself. That she was the only rock chick in a class full of pop lovers, served her well. She had always had a strong sense of individuality.
By being the only one from her class going to the concert, she had widened the gap even further.
Her lover Mr.Big, seemed to pick up on the significance of what was about to happen. On the day of the concert he sent her a text to wish her a great time, and said that he was moved by the thought of her, all the way back then. An innocent teen, looking up in awe to the rock star on stage.
That was the second thing she wanted to save:
Her relationship with her lover, Mr. Big.
They had been seeing each other for the past four and a half year. She had written about their sex life in the past, and their first two years together had resulted in an erotic diary.
What came after was a respectable affair, one where Lauren was not such a cry baby and didn’t need to write a seven page story every time she slept with him.
Something she had considered quite an accomplishment, and she had been happy to join the ranks of the mature people.
Until she realized, in the aftermath of the concert when she could feel that slipping away because she had not written about that, that writing about their sex life had made it richer and more valuable to both.
And that quitting writing was probably responsible both for the extremely long intervals between their dates, as Mr.Big was definitely contacting her less than he used to.
But that her not-writing, was also responsible for the feeling that they had to start over every time.
Their dates had a fresh but also melancholic feel to them, as two lovers who had been on a break and had been unsure if they’d ever be together again.
Their encounters were no longer bucket-list material.
Instead they were let-s-take-this-very-slowly love making.
Whereas if she had locked the experience in, in a story, their intimacy would have been secured. They would probably have been able to pick it up any time.
Not writing about her sex life had made her feel less exposed, less hunted, less prone to ridicule because she could now say that all erotica had been written years ago and that she didn’t do that anymore.
But she had paid the price.
Even what he had been doing behind her back, and behind his wife’s back, had changed. In the early years she could feel that they were more flings or one-night-stands. Now it seemed to be one woman at a time, who was in his life more consistently over a longer period.
He never talked about it but she could feel it in her bones.
She wasn’t bothered by his other affairs, but it was more that in conjunction with the intervals between their dates growing from weeks to months, that she got irritated with it because she was competitive and wanted to win this.
The other women probably had no idea what they had gotten themselves into. And yet they were beating her.
That was what annoyed her.
It was an ego thing, much more than that she actually believed having sex every two months was worse than every three weeks.
By quitting writing, she was behaving like your average run of the mill woman, who will sleep with you even if you’re married.
And that’s exactly how she got treated.
If she wanted her legendary status back, as the one who understood him, the one to whom he’d always return, and the one who’d be there at his grave incognito but with a deep understanding of how important she’d been?
Or he’d be there at hers, but she had the sad feeling he’d go first.
If she wanted that epic affair back, that no one would ever be able to take away?
She needed to put more skin in the game.
She needed to put ALL her skin in the game, and start writing erotica, despite how exposed it made her feel. She had grown soft, responding with a near panic attack when someone started asking questions about her and Big.
But from now on, there was no more of that.
She was going to bring it home.
Whole Lot of
We Weren’t Born to
Have a Nice Day
The rock star actually had made the joke “The wetter the better,” referring to the rain. She heard it on the recordings, but he had not paused, highlighted, nor draaaaggged out, the joke the entire crowd had been wanting to hear.
It had been tucked into one of the in-between songs speeches, where he spoke to them with a voice that gave Lauren even more butterflies in her stomach than when he was singing.
The last half hour before the show, she had been nervous. It became almost unbearable which might explain why she was the first to recognize the music and the video, that announced the show was starting.
It was still light, so it wasn’t like in a theater where the lights turning off make everybody aware that something is about to happen.
Just seconds before the start of the show, Lauren had confessed to the friendly girl who had stepped aside and had offered Lauren a spot at the barrier.
“I m so nervous!”
The girl was attending the concert with a boyfriend; A tall, rangy guy with short hair, and model-like features.
Nervous, yes. The little woman with the cute curls nodded enthusiastically. Lauren wondered how it was possible that she didn’t particularly care for women in general, and had even walked out on the 50 Shades of Grey premiere, because the energy of all those women in sexual anticipation had made her physically ill;
Yet here at the concert she found the friendliest, most disarming women in the world, towards whom she felt protective and caring. Something she was able to express because she had come better prepared than a single mother going to the beach with three toddlers and a puppy.
She shared the food she had been able to smuggle in, and gave two women sticky plastic and elastic bands to cover their water bottles, since they had all been made to hand in the caps, going through security.
Maybe the reason the atmosphere between the young women and the older Lauren was so good, was the same reason no one in her class had been listening to this band:
These girls were.
And the music meant so much to them, that they too had gone through lengths to be first row, in the armpit area of a T shape runway that was attached to the stage.
The other armpit was a VIP deck.
The T- shape of the stage, and the VIP deck taking up one armpit, made the first-row area in the Golden Circle extremely small.
Yet these women were there! Just like Lauren!
They were top fans.
The guitars, the anthems, the pounding of the music song after song, had excited them, just as it had excited a 14 year old Lauren.
And they had all drowned into the emotional depths of the heartbreaking ballads.
Yet another mesmerizing thing about the band: That they were originally labelled as being shallow. When every album had at least one song that required a box of tissues and doctor to put your heart back into your chest.
Had the eighties really been such a cruel era that no one had heard that? Or even felt a need to ridicule it?
The wetter the better.
Maybe that explained why the rock star made the joke into a minimal thing instead of going for easy laughs.
And why Lauren missed it because she was not literally listening to him.
Just like she had trouble memorizing the lyrics to the songs – although she had tried and had a notebook with written out songs in her purse – she didn’t hear individual words either, when he talked.
Just the message.
Just his energy.
Lauren took the entire show in as an all body, mind, soul and heart experience. She had even made her peace that the song where the rock star would get someone on stage could be played, and that there would be this awkward little play where the fan would practically assault him (Lauren expected foul play here, most likely the roadies encouraging you to go give him a big hug) and then the rock star would play being the irresistible idol who had women jumping onto him out of nowhere.
It had been the most difficult part of Lauren’s preparations:
How could she work around her resistance to witness this?
Ultimately she chose to label it positively, as the most artistic part of the show. He was taking risks here, something could happen that he did not anticipate.
If it was indeed a premeditated choice to invite the girl to cross his boundaries- for maximum show value – Lauren was sure the rock star realized that ultimately he did not have a say in what would happen.
A smart woman would just be polite, and he would automatically reward that by giving her real attention. Lauren had seen it happen on videos, where after the initial struggle the woman had dropped back into her normal ways, and he had immediately turned extremely sweet and gentle with her.
And lowering the energy to dangerously low levels and risking the connection with tens of thousands of people in the middle of a rock show.
Lauren decided to focus on that:
The admirable risks he was taking.
She made a video about it, and posted it tagging him personally, which was as far as she wanted to go in announcing her coming.
And then she let go.
She would take anything and everything he would give her.
If there were going to be twenty songs with twenty different women on stage and none of them was her?
She’d take it.
She would completely surrender, fully submit. There would be no bad things that could happen. It would all go down the way it was destined to.
And yet there she was.
Hyper-aware of the privileged position she was in, looking straight up into the blue eyes of her idol. She felt undeserving.
Despite having studied him, their music, and creating set list poems from every show they had done this year;
Despite preparing for this day in every way she could;
Despite writing about her personal history with him and filming countless videos that contained a reference to their songs;
She still did not feel she had a right to be there.
Which explained why something terrible happened. And it was an accident.
Four days after the concert, when Lauren was still receiving download after download on where her life needed to go, she met a friend who was educated on the field of sexual energy transmission, and when Lauren told him how the concert had been the best day of her life – her gums had been tingling when she had walked home, a feeling she literally only knew from sex. Good sex. – the friend had thought out loud about what had happened.
Had tried to help her label it.
But in the process he had used a triggering word. Although he denied ever using that word one week later, when a broken Lauren explained to him how she had fallen from grace.
And flat on her face.
She had been at the peak of her energy just one week prior, but now she was crawling through the mud, so dark and sticky. Her lover was gone. The connection to the concert was gone.
The word he had used, that crept under Lauren’s skin and slowly but effectively started poisoning her entire memory of the show was:
That she had stolen the rock star’s energy, and that’s why she felt so good, when meanwhile he seemed to be in slightly lesser shape, for his next show 48 hours later.
Lauren remembered trying to deny that she had stolen anything, but the friend had pointed out:
“You said it yourself: He gave everything he had, singing that song. He was completely empty.”
“That song” referred to a fan favorite which was hardly ever played. It had left some fans outraged on social media that it had not been played when they had been attending.
As if not the vocal demands alone, would offer a sufficient explanation why the rock star was unable to perform it on demand. And the lyrics were particularly touching too, as they seemed to be about a struggle with fidelity issues (or maybe Lauren was too eager to translate the apology for a “mistake” into a sex thing) and the song also seemed to forecast the difficulty the rock star had with the higher registers, more than two decades after the song was written.
Lauren imagined having to come to terms with his voice changing, was even more painful for him, than it was for her to deal with the concept that she had stolen something. From someone she deeply admired no less.
She understood perfectly well why the song was rarely played. You could not expect an established, older rock star on tour, to turn himself inside out and bare his naked soul to the world with every show.
That was borderline abusive.
Which was perhaps why the suggestion that she had stolen something from this unique moment, made her sick. That, and that she must have been susceptible to the idea that she had done something wrong, in the first place.
The underlying emotion of being undeserving to be there.
Within one week, she had felt life slipping through her fingers, but she did not blame her friend. Lauren was a sensitive woman, and she had felt there was no ill will in his words.
His remark had been completely harmless if she had not been so eager to blame herself for something. For proving how unworthy she had been.
One week later she saw her friend again, and told him what had happened. And also how she was going to solve it.
“I realized I had failed to put my concert into writing. Because I didn’t write, I had not claimed my reality.
Just like when I stopped writing about my encounters with Big, and I lost him.”
Although Lauren had no idea if she would ever be able to write herself out of the dirt and back onto the mountain high, or write her lover back into her life – she was grateful for the trigger the friend had given her.
She now knew she could only claim reality by writing it down.
This was extremely important information for the second half of her life.
And since she had promised herself she would learn and understand ALL the lessons of the concert, she embraced even this dark side. Even if that cost her the glow of the concert and it was too late to get her lover back.
Her friend asked her if he could help her find a better narrative, since he had been at least partially responsible. And also because he didn’t like seeing Lauren this sad.
This is what he offered Lauren:
“I would not say you stole anything. You received. It was given freely. Just like when a man has an orgasm. Yes, he is spent. But because of the release he can then rejuvenate and replenish. This man is on earth to give this. But he can only give it if there is someone to receive it.”
Lauren felt like crying, but she didn’t want to make the friend feel even more guilty for everything last week’s conversation had caused. But she thanked him for this relabeling.
And hoped she had not unlearned writing.
That the break from it had made her better at it, and that somewhere under all the filth, she’d be able to find back what she had lost.
Keep the Faith
I’ll Be There for You
In These Arms
Lauren was so grateful for all the uploaded recordings of the concert.
She had felt slightly superior, attending the concert without holding any equipment. But she had to eat her words and was deeply grateful for anyone who had recorded something or who had taken pictures.
Her favorites were a video of The Song, which one of her new friends had shot. And the other favorite was a full audio recording. Although it was on YouTube, it did not contain any video.
This long audio in particular, allowed her to relive the concert in its entirety.
Yet, for the first days she couldn’t bear this registration!
The audio was nothing, compared to the real concert experience.
She actually suspected that most, if not all, criticism on the singing voice of the rock star, was actually due to poor audio quality of mobile phone recordings.
The contrast with the real life experience was so stark, that she didn’t allow for the recordings to stain the memory, when it was still fresh.
It was only when it began to fade, that she started looking what she could find.
And that’s when she found it… again something she had definitely missed when she was there. At the one hour marker, the band played one of their all time favorites, the music was flawless and the challenging singing in the verses immediately hit the mark.
But she could hear the rock star rely on the backing vocals, in the first chorus. Second chorus his singing was fully confident, even stretching his voice further than nessecary.
During the guitar solo the crowd started to sing.
A wordless, swaying melody. It sounded like a lullaby, a choir of angels.
The rock star picked up the lyrics, sometimes trusting himself, sometimes relying on his singers. When all the verses had been sung, there was only a repetition of the chorus.
The crowd had picked up singing their supportive, loving tune.
And that’s when she could hear it.
The rock star found his full voice, his confidence. It was the going all-in, no holding back, every fan hopes to one day witness.
And when the first thought of playing The Song, must have surfaced.
It had not been on any of the set lists.
Not on the standard set list, and not on the one with the songs that could be chosen from last minute.
But at this point, The Song, was just a whisper.
Of the angels, perhaps.
It’s My Life
We Don’t Run
Lauren knew she was probably the most well prepared fan in the crowd. Yet, in hindsight, she realized nothing could have prepared her for seeing the rock star live.
She was a yoga teacher but as far as she had ever believed there was such a thing as “yoga” that was actually A Thing Of Importance – and if she had ever believed that was already up for debate – then the last bits just fell off her seeing the rock star sweat, jump, run, prance.
Spitting at almost regular intervals, a gesture of utter concentration she immediately saw reflected in the determination in his eyes.
He was magnetic and it made her realize she had been slacking. Her body was healthy and strong, but she had failed at having a home yoga practice for years.
And she had never been as strong and agile as the rock star.
Her body had never bounced up and down a stage for two and a half hours, and she seriously questioned if it ever would.
The rock star ran 6 times a week and he also did yoga, although that information dated from a few years back. But whatever he was doing it was working.
She could not remember being so close to someone in such killer shape, although she knew she was now not giving her lover enough credit.
It was a physical thing, but not in the way you would expect.
More a chemistry thing.
Because the rock star had not made an effort to get back into the photo model physique of his 40s, and neither did Mr.Big who was still in his 40s.
But her response to the rock star on stage, did remind her of a fantasy about her lover, which she was unable to pinpoint as to why it was she fancied that:
To wait for him, when he had been with another woman.
Take care of him, bathe him, feed him, put him to bed and to make him feel loved.
Aside from the fact that Lauren didn’t think that was the role Mr.Big had in mind for her, there was something strange about it.
Why did she even want this?
When he was all spent?
It didn’t make any sense.
Yet seeing the rock star on stage stirred exactly the same fantasy with her:
To be there when he came off the stage.
And replenish everything he needed, for a good night’s sleep.
Maybe, although Lauren enjoyed being on the receiving end of someone’s energy, giving back made her just as happy as receiving.
Lay Your Hands on Me
Livin’ on a Prayer
“Did you see?”
One of the friends Lauren had made at the concert, messaged her. “They played Always!”
It was two days after the latest concert of the band. 70.000 People had attended.
Of course Lauren had seen what they had played. She had already felt it. At the exact time Always was played she had experienced a dramatic energetic shift that had been so nasty, she still did not know what to do.
She felt God awful and the weekend had filled up with even more drama, such as a pigeon chick falling on her balcony in the middle of the night.
And Lauren felt her off-energy was contagious.
Someone she had spoken to on Saturday, was robbed within hours after that. Lauren couldn’t help but thinking it had been her icky-yucky energy that had caused it.
Ever since the shift, she had lost energetic connection to both the rock star as well as her lover. Although the steady slope downhill had started days prior of course, when her friend had made the suggestion that she had stolen something.
Every day had been harder, until that Friday night she had felt it snap.
She was still unsure if it really had been the band playing Always, if it was just a coincidence, or if it was her lover being with someone else.
Something she swore she could feel.
Judging from how powerful the shift was, it had probably been both.
But she blamed herself. She was the one who had let the memory fade, and had started being ashamed of receiving so much from him. By now she was seriously toying with the thought of quitting being a fan.
“Yeah I know,” she texted back. “I m sure I m overreacting but I was jealous.”
The girl sent Lauren a smiley and a second line in a separate message.
“Oh Sweetie, I think it was for his wife.”
The words brought out an ear to ear smile, and then the tears started rolling down Lauren’s face.
“One week later he was back at the level where he could sing it again,” the male friend said, to Lauren. It was a tropical night, and they were having drinks at one of the many terraces that were still open.
“He had come full circle. This is the meaning of Life.”
An unexamined life is not worth living