I am going to try to make this short and sweet. By now you know that my attention span is limited during regular life, but right now I am on vacation, making me extra focus-challenged. But I can’t seem to stop thinking about an experience I had last week and want to share it with you before I am so far removed I can’t access the impact. So here we go….
My son Bennett and I rocked an Imagine Dragons concert in St. Louis last week. Thousands of people—lots of other moms and sons/daughters since they are clean and span generational music gaps—packed the Enterprise center for a long awaited maskless event. Even the band members were emotional as they expressed their gratitude for being back on tour and seeing all the beautiful supportive faces.
It was a soul-full and spiritual 3 hours of loud, wild and free singing and dancing. Bennett and I even made it onto the big screen for about 10 whole seconds! I am anticipating some sort of offer to be part of the band any day now. At one point, the lead singer told us he was going to sing his favorite song and invited us to join him. We assumed it would be one of his, but he broke into “Don’t worry, about a thing. Every little thing is gonna be alright.” How heavenly to hear thousands of people singing this song together after an isolating pandemic.
With such wonderful memories of phenomenal music and talent, you might be surprised to hear what is still rolling around in my head and heart. My biggest take away came from the lead singer tying his shoes during the performance…twice.
The first time, he simply bent down as the band played behind him. We probably wouldn’t have even noticed what he was doing, except that he stood up and told us. He said something like: “Sorry about that. Had to tie my shoe. I have to confess that while I was doing it, I thought about how I usually tie it. In kindergarten I learned to make two loops and tie them together. but in my head, that was always the little kid way to do it. As I got older I learned to wrap one lace around one loop and pull it through. The adult and mature and sophisticated way to do it. So, since I knew you all were watching me, I did the one loop version.”
We all laughed at how silly that was. But was impressed that he was humble enough to admit it!
This blog didn’t start forming, however, until he had to tie his shoe a second time later in the show. Again, he bent down for a few seconds after a song and when he stood, he confessed again: “I really need to start double-knotting these shoes! But I will tell you that this time I did the kindergarten version!” We all cheered!
That’s when I saw it for what it was: Imagine Dragons battles Image Dragons, just like the rest of us. I am fairly certain that no one would have noticed he was using the kindergarten shoe-tying strategy if he hadn’t told us. But even so, he was worried about how it it might appear to all of us.
What did he think? We would all throw down our drinks and run out in disgust once we found out he is a mere bunny-ear-shoe-tier? We all payed a good chunk of change and drove 2 hours in a blizzard to see them and that’s the deal breaker?!?!?!
I imagine (haha) that the reason this resonated so strongly with me is that my most violent and relentless dragons are image-management and control.
Actually, those are one in the same if you think about it. I want to be in control of the world around me and also in control of what the people in that world think about me. I want to manage your imagination so you will imagine I am perfect, or at least pretty close to it.
What I loved about how the lead singer handled it, is that he identified it and admitted it. He humbled himself in that moment. It reminded me of why I keep writing.
I Know I am not perfect and am usually embarrassed a bit about sharing my shortcomings (though most of you have probably already identified them long before they dawn on me). But as I have said over and over in the past few months as I share in interviews and podcasts about my newest book: I write in the messy. Bottom line, that’s why anyone is still reading.
If me sharing how I am a hot mess makes you feel less alone and have hope that together we can get better, I will keep writing.
God knows, and He knows it well, that I will never run dry on material.