In September, I had an experience that turned everything on its head. My disabilities became unseen and I became visible. I will be eternally grateful to my husband Chris, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool, and the whole Green Day crew. I’m rounding on two years trapped in the hell of a chronic pain disease. I lost the ability to drive. I rarely left the house. When I did get out often I needed my wheelchair. I was able to eat even less frequently. There were too many nights, when in the throes of a pain attack, I cried myself to sleep screaming, begging to die, to die right that moment.
My life was very small and I was a fragile creature trapped in its nightmare. I had my music. Night and day I played every Green Day album that exists. I scoured YouTube for any life performances and music videos. With iTunes playing and ear buds firmly in my ears I could have another voice cheering me on in the depths of an attack. When I was bored and lonely, I could go to a concert on YouTube or an iTunes video. Green Day arose from my old teenage angst and smashed into my little world leaving a big punk rock sized crack.
In the summer of 2016, the band announced a new album after nearly four years. Green Day fandom lost its shit and rightly so! But, before that there was the business of a little thing called Revolution Radio 2016 Tour- a very small, limited tickets tour. They were just getting warmed up. Moving heaven and earth, large sums of money, and vacation days Chris got two tickets for what became the FIRST day of the tour. He knew this small venue -1,900 capacity music hall- was really my only chance to see Green Day and he was able to pull that star down from the sky and present it to me.
We trekked from North Alabama to Columbus, Ohio. My orders were to show up ready for fun, hop in my chair (that I fucking hate!), and let Chris do the planning. Sure! I haven’t forgotten todays prompt UNSEEN. We rocked out in the best “seats” in the house- the wheelchair section. (Second row and unobstructed!)
Singing my heart out to all my personal “must hear” numbers, my disability was secondary. I was a part of the Green Day family. We sang and screamed. Followed along with Billie’s instructions- the infamous 1,2, 1-2-3-4! and Heeeeyyy-ooooooo!’s. For those 94 minutes, my disability was unseen. But, even more empowering was being WITH other people in wheelchairs there to worship Green Day as well. I saw my disability wasn’t a thing at all. My life is about what I do, what I love, and how I can “un see” my differences. They are always going to be with me, but I can stop carrying it out front feeling exposed. I’m going to toss that shit in my back pack with the rest of me and turn up “Still Breathing.”