Phishing for Memories

Several weeks ago my husband asked me if I wanted to go to the Phish reunion concert at Madison Square Garden. Of course.

I cannot remember how many Phish shows that I’ve attended, but I know every concert has been loads of fun, between the music, the crowd and the extra curriculars. The first time I saw the band was in 1993 at Jones Beach, I had yet to appreciate what a fine venue that is for seeing shows. I begged my brother to bring me with his friends and once we left the tailgate party he handed me my ticket and said I’ll meet you at the entrance at the end of the show. At least I think he said that. I know my sister felt the same way when we went to see Phish another year at Jones Beach. Or at least I presumed she felt that way, not wanting me around her so she could enjoy her extra curriculars and not feel the need to babysit me.

Consistent with much of the feelings of my youth, I was once again a burden.

I don’t think my husband, the oldest of three boys, had similar feelings in high school towards his brothers. He enjoyed partying with them and did not feel the need to regulate every move, only if one of his brothers got out of hand, in which case he was there for him. My husband still looks forward to partying with his brothers while I often feel judged by siblings, or at least my sister. I’m getting better at overcoming my inhibitions and living for myself and not some elusive approval from the peanut gallery of my life, but it’s taking some time.

I remember being a the concert, trying to get closer to the stage, comparing my dance moves with others. Was anybody looking at the way my shoulders shifted and think I was moving to a different beat. My band teacher had all but told me I had no rhythm. I was concerned about fitting in, and emulating my sister who did not want to be seen with me in the hopes that perhaps she would want to include me not just in a ride but in her circle.

Last night I wore a Phish T-shirt that I picked up in Israel. Jerusalem perhaps, but I don’t remember. It has the band’s logo in English and Hebrew and the name of some songs on the back. The underarms and collar are yellow from sweat and who knows what else over the last fifteen years. I stood there in my vintage Israeli Phish shirt, dancing without inhibition feeling like I finally belonged.

Then I went home to relieve the babysitter.

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