Last night, I blogged about a particularly painful experience of going to a concert and choosing to use my disability as a way to get a safer seat than the one I’d been assigned (and how that choice I made affected other people). I was afraid of sitting and standing high up, especially when there would have been no rail in front of me to hold on to. I had very poor balance and coordination as a child, and my moving balance is still my biggest challenge out in the world. It affects things like going to concerts where other people stand up in order to see the show. I honestly don’t know how I would fare now if I went back to the same stadium and took in a concert from a high seat where there was no protection from falling forward and injuring myself. I have a feeling I would just stay put in my chair even if everyone around me were standing up and dancing.
I recently bought tickets to see Ellie Goulding play the Hammersmith Apollo in October and I didn’t check the accessibility of the venue because I wanted to make sure I just ‘got the tickets’ before they sold out. I will have to do some research into the venue and whether or not I will have to request a different place to sit or I can ‘deal with’ what I’ve been assigned. I saw her play Brixton in December of last year and I was fine with the assigned seat; I didn’t have any mobility challenges from that experience and it allowed me to enjoy the concert a lot more. I didn’t have to spend the whole night afraid for my own safety. I just enjoyed the show.
There is a part of me that just wants to accept whatever I am assigned this time and not make a big deal out of it. I just want to ‘be normal’ without having to make any changes or have any requirements because of my impairment. I don’t want to complain or draw attention to myself or make a big deal out of the things that combine to hold me back in such a situation: stiffness in my legs and poor balance. If I have to sit down for the duration of the concert while everyone else stands up, I’m prepared to accept it. I know I could still enjoy the experience and I’d still hear all of my favourite Ellie songs. I really hope her set list will include Ritual, Human, and Hanging On, all of which she didn’t play last time (which are some of my most beloved Ellie songs).
I think there are three things at play here: I could spend the rest of the summer working to prepare to be strong and balanced enough for the concert, I could change the ticket, or I could accept wherever I am placed. I think I will do the first and the third things: use this as motivation to work hard and accept what I have been assigned. This is one of those times where I have to choose either to keep working my way out of my disability or choose to accept this limitation as a fact of life. I feel a little conflicted, but I work best with short-term goals. I want to make sure I have a happy and memorable experience at this show rather than an experience filled with embarrassment, frustration, sadness, guilt, and stress.