I’ve learned the most about life at my first concert. Well, I guess it wasn’t even a concert. It was Breakaway Music Festival. But you get the picture.
I didn’t know what to expect. I had this image in my mind of a massive crowd of people singing and dancing together, each person inexplicably knowing every single word. Throw in some fireworks and glowsticks and there you have a Livie Mauger concert.
The only thing I got right was the massive crowd part.
For those who don’t know me, intimidating is not one of my defining adjectives. Gullible and possibly naive come to mind. Maybe even overly polite, as my freshman year I won the “Most Likely to Apologize For No Reason Award” on the tennis team.
So with Bambi-like wide eyes and a nervous smile plastered on my face, I stood on the edge of the mosh pit. I was content here. It was safe and just enough energy of the crowd reached us.
And then my friend looked back at me. And everything changed.
“We’re going to the front.”
I laughed. It was joke. But before I knew what was happening, I was plunging headfirst into the sea 1,000 people, give or take a few.
At first, all I knew was that it was hot. I guess that’s what happens when you’re body-to-body with six people simultaneously. Smoke smothered my eyes and my lungs, and my ears were filled with music I had never heard before.
But within the second it took for me to process all of this, I lost sight of my group of friends. Panic swelled in my throat, creeping its way into my stomach. I suddenly felt utterly alone.
As I struggled to turn my head to look around, I spotted one of the group. Being 6 feet 4 inches tall, his head stood out a good foot above the rest. I locked my eyes on his sandy brown hair and mapped out the different routes to him in my mind. To my dismay, all of them involved pushing my way forward.
At first, I was polite. With every person I accidentally elbowed, every toe I stepped on, I uttered a quick “excuse me” and an occasional “I’m so sorry.” Despite the effort, I was making little progress. With every step forward, a glare as cold and sharp as daggers sent me right back to where I started.
After 10 minutes of this hesitant tango, I resigned myself to remaining where I was, keeping the seven people between me and my friends in my periphery. As I waited for my favorite artist to begin, the girl next to me inquired of no one in particular, “Do you think people would be mad if I tried to make it up to the stage?”
I bit my lip to suppress a laugh and nodded my head slightly as she whipped around to face me. As her eyes focused on mine, all traces of her… festive state vanished as she proclaimed with the air of a queen,
“Sometimes you just have to bulldoze through life.”
As much as I wanted to brush this unconventional piece of wisdom aside, it resonated with me. Making decisions and sticking to them is hard; I’ll be the first to admit. I often find myself getting caught up in trying to please everyone, trapped between two choices. As I start my senior year as writing-editor-in-chief of the Courier, I have now realized the importance of being decisive. Not everyone is going to agree with everything I do. And that’s OK. Because if choices aren’t made, if I let hesitation rule me, then we will accomplish nothing this year. I will be smothered and stifled by my own politeness. And I’m not going to let that happen.
Once again, I nodded at the girl next to me. Not because I thought she was ridiculous, but because I knew she was right.
It is then that I began to bulldoze my way through the crowd, not physically shoving people (that would just be rude) but moving forward without turning back. Just as I fell in line next to my friend, the pulsing bass indicated the song was about to begin. And I knew every word.