My Forehead Went to an Indigo Girls Show At the Regina Folk Festival. I Might Have Cried a Little.
OMG, GUYS. MY FOREHEAD WAS AT ITS FIRST INDIGO GIRLS SHOW LAST NIGHT.
The Indigo Girls played at the Regina Folk Festival, and having to drag my feet through muck, getting stepped on by a drunk lady, and accidentally making a small child cry just by looking at her did nothing to dampen the thrill.
But first, I ate!
I ate chicken strips from Beak's Chicken to shore up energy for the show, and I am telling you this as a public service. If you haven't eaten at Beak's Chicken's food truck, you must. The rumour is that they marinate the chicken in buttermilk, cook it sous vide, and then flash fry it. Now I have to become independently wealthy so that I can hire Chef Paul Rogers to make this for me every day for the rest of my life.
And then it was time for OMG THE INDIGO GIRLS.
When I was in my early twenties, the Indigo Girls were one of the few public figures out there that I could look to and know that not everyone would think I was terrible. It was the early to mid-1990s, and I was out to almost no one. I had been spit on, threatened with rape, and otherwise shamed into fear and silence. I didn't have much social proof that I could be loved.
One evening, my girlfriend and I went to a movie night at a middle-aged lesbian couple's home. They had gathered a group of younger LGBTQ people together to watch movies, and I was so awed that I could barely get it together enough to find a place to sit. I had never been in a room full of people before who didn't feel compelled to pretend they were straight.
We watched some documentary about the Indigo Girls, likely "Watershed". I sat in the dark with my back pressed against an end table, knees pulled to my chest, and I watched the television light glowing blue against everyone in the room. I instinctively knew that these weren't going to be my people — the social connection just didn't click into place — but I knew that I was not alone in that room, at least not in the way I had always been alone before. Secretly, I had believed myself to be some kind of perverse monster, rejected by God and society at large, but in that living room, I could see that we were just a bunch of awkward human beings trying to make a place for ourselves.
I was possible that I was no longer doomed, and, if I still was, I at least wasn't doomed all by myself.
I hadn't expected all this stuff to come back to me last night while I watched Amy Ray and Emily Saliers seriously enchant us all from not twenty feet away.
A woman standing next to me said, "I might embarrass myself by crying."
I turned back to her and said, "Don't worry. I already broke the seal for us."
We smiled at each other.
I felt seen and heard through other people's voices twenty years ago, and it saved my heart. Hearing the voices of others when I was in a place that felt unforgiving and immoveable gave me some of the courage I needed to later find my own.
I don't listen to the Indigo Girls all that often these days, but I do dig them out whenever I need to touch base with my roots again. They wring the sense of isolation out of things and call me back.
Amy and Emily? Thank you for all these years.