No one who's known me for long was surprised when I said "Hey, Flogging Molly's playing Baton Rouge - I'm gonna fly down and go to the show with gwynraven!" Gwyn is my sister, you see, in all ways but that pesky biological way. More than that, she's my Flogging Molly concert buddy - I always go with her.
And she always gets it when I cry to "If I Ever Leave This World Alive", and she always bounces with me in sheer glee, and she always shouts out lyrics with me, fist pumping.
And she's not sick anymore. So during "Whistles the Wind", when Dave King sings "It breaks my heart to see you this way...", I don't cry anymore. I grin like a madwoman. Because it did break my heart, all those years of her being in constant pain. And she's better now, and... yay.
They played all our favorites. And I bounced, and my calves were screaming by the second song; when you have a pain/fatigue condition, you have to modify your dancing, and I did, going more with the pseudo-bellydancing when I could. Still, there are songs you just have to do a fucking jig to, and I did, and I am going to pay for it come morning but I do not regret one bounce, one scream.
"If I Ever Leave This World Alive" is one of what I call my totem songs; if I had to pick three songs that define me, that'd be one. To old friends and lost loves, partners in crime who were gone too goddamn soon. I think of every one of them. And gods, how I loved them. And gods, how I love them still. Belting out the words and gulping back tears, Gwyn holding me from behind and swaying with me...
...and they launched straight from that into "Salty Dog", and we were bouncing frenetically and screaming and I was wiping the last song's tears off my cheeks and laughing at the same time, because goddamn, it is a hard thing to be the last one standing, but you know what?
Every one of those people would have wanted me to be right there, dancing and singing and heart exploding with the love of the music.
And went from there straight into "Within a Mile Of Home", another where I channel anger and loss because "if only you had seen what I now see/and turned the corner where you would've been/within a mile of home", and I have known people who gave up, and me, I have always clung to this life with torn and bloodied fingertips. No matter how bad it gets. You turn the corner. You are within a mile of home.
And life has been shit sometimes. But I fought. I fought for what I wanted, and for what I needed, and aside from the medical crap, I am pretty much exactly where I want to be. Aside from the medical crap, my life is pretty damn close to perfect.
And so was this show.
Yeah. Blissed out.
Everything has been worth it.