Red Hot Mamas
By SarahKnight on April 20, 2012
Have you seen the YouTube video of the unresponsive old man in the nursing home who listens to some music from his time and then suddenly becomes vibrant and alive? It has been going around Facebook all week, but if you haven’t seen it, you really need to watch it here. It’s an amazing testament to the power of music and how it can awaken a person's identity and bring flashes of light into dimming eyes.
I saw this video the morning after I went to a concert for the first time in a long time. I went with my friend, Kym, to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have loved them forever and also had a crush on Anthony Kiedis forever.
Our original plan was to look very sexy and have Anthony Kiedis fall madly in love with both of us. Unfortunately, our plan didn’t go very well because we are moms, we don't own very sexy clothes, and we were sitting way back in row X of a giant stadium.
I think it was kind of hard for him to see us back there.
Obviously, if we had been closer, Anthony would have wanted us to come backstage. However, it’s probably a good thing that that didn’t happen because Kym and I are both in happy marriages and would not actually leave our husbands. It would have been an awkward situation for Anthony and for us...
So it was really all for the best. And since there was no romantic entanglement, we were left with only the music to focus on.
And once the lights went down and the music started, it happened. I became the old man in the nursing home.
Only hours earlier, I had been prying a screaming four-year-old off of my leg and begging my seven-year-old to please eat her dinner. Suddenly I was in a dark stadium and surrounded by loud music and flashing lights. I drank a beer. I semi- danced (maybe kind of slightly swayed, but it’s as close as I’m going to get in public). And I felt parts of myself come back alive.
Suddenly, I was in my early twenties travelling across the country by train, listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette on my Walkman. I was running up the hills in San Francisco, walking in the desert in Texas, and staring at the glaciers in Montana.
Those were not the best of times, and I didn’t wander out of joy. But there were moments of freedom and beauty and possibility. I wasn’t a wife or a mother. I was just me.
So many days, I’m so stuck so deeply in my identity as a mom that I can’t see beyond it.
That night, the music let me step out of my role as a mom and brought together the different parts of my identity. It made me feel whole and the best that I’ve felt in a long time.
It was better than Anthony Kiedis confessing his endless love for me.
My favorite line from the YouTube video is by Dr. Oliver Sacks:
“The philosopher Kant once called music the ‘quickening art.’ And Henry is being quickened, he’s being brought to life.”
That concert was a quickening for me.
Sarah Knight is a mom and co-founder of www.mamasagainstdrama.com. She loves her husband very much and hopes that he will ignore the comments about Anthony Kiedis, and instead focus on her use of the word “quickening” at the end of the blog. This will make him think of the movie, Highlander, and totally forget about the rest of it…