The more I’ve grown aware of my Enneagram Type-4-ness, the more I’ve realized how much I crave deep personal connection, kindred spirits, knowing and understanding the people I care about. It’s why I hate small talk (that’s a topic for a whole different blog) because it doesn’t help me know anyone better at all.
This month, I’ve had the amazing privilege of seeing concerts of and talking to two of of my favorite musical artists, Andrew McMahon and Paper Route. I love more intimate shows and getting to talk to my favorite bands because it helps me get to know them as real people, not just who they are on social media or as performers. I get to bridge the distance between us. (I sound so poetic there!) I’ve met both of them several times over the years, but the times I met them this month felt more special.
With Andrew, I got to go to a pre-concert soundcheck and then do a meet and greet with him (as part of a VIP package I bought). He was so sweet and thoughtful — he came around during the soundcheck to take selfies with/for everyone and was super-kind to me when I nervously stumbled through my adulation for him. (I always get nervous talking to famous people.) And every show of his that I’ve been to, he always comes out afterward and meets and takes pictures with fans. (Also, his lyrics are maybe the most beautiful non-worship lyrics I’ve ever heard.)
When I saw Paper Route, they played a super-intimate, super-laid-back show where they got really personal about the meanings of certain songs (which I LOVE when artists do) and were really funny and were just human.
One thing that really touched me (one of those “kindred” moments) was when their lead singer, JT, talked about the meaning of their song “Balconies.” One of the lines of the song is “Raise your arms and hold balconies of grace.” He explained that the song, and that line specifically, was about him learning to receive love, after a long time of not feeling at all worthy of it.
This is something that I struggled with for a long time, and still sometimes find hard to accept — why people show love to me when I don’t feel like I’ve earned it or am too flawed to be worthy of it. Just to hear an artist I admire say they’ve struggled with the same thing I have was a special feeling I can’t quite put into words.
The best way I can describe it is a sort of friendship, what C.S. Lewis describes in this quote: “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…'”
Paper Route also has a lot of songs, especially on their latest album, that are pretty much exactly me. “Laugh About It” has a verse that says, “Anxious/The doc has got me drugged up/She says I’m not a screw-up/I’m just anxious.” As someone who has struggled deeply with anxiety for a while (though I’m mostly better now) and has felt like there’s something wrong with me because of it, this song also really touched me.
There’s so much more I could go into with how much I relate to both Paper Route’s and Andrew McMahon’s songs, but I’ll leave that for another time because it’ll take a while.
So thank you to both bands I love for making me feel closer to you, and for reminding me that I’m not the only one going through what I do!
(Side note: I talked to JT and Nick from Paper Route after their show, and gave JT my poetry book to read!)