The other day, I attended fourth- yes, fourth- music show I’ve ever moshed at. I am no mosh expert. I should also say that I am a 31 year old female, which is not the main mosh demographic. However, I have been both a participant and an observer.
At this punk-ish show that I attended, (Chuck Ragan/Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls/Flogging Molly, for those curious souls) a full mosh pit raged. It was fun and chaotic and, truthfully, a bit terrifying.
It was just like that thing we call “life”.
What else is “living” except fun and chaotic and, truthfully, a bit terrifying. We aim to be constantly vigilant and yet let go at the same time. We have no idea what the future will bring, and yet we charge ahead.
In the next moment, I may get punched in the face by some poor guy who was simply pushed in the wrong direction and didn’t have time to pull his hand back (true story, this happened at the show described above). And, in the moment after that, as I fall back into a seated position on the ground while the world continues to swirl around me, that very same gent leans his full body over me while those behind me stop and form a wall to do the same. To me, the world continues in slow motion for what feels like forever while these complete strangers form a barrier to protect me from being trampled and hold steady against the swirling tide until the guy gains his footing and is able to pull me up from the floor.
In a heartbeat, the moment is over, and we all head back into the fray and continue our separate journeys. And, when the music ends and it is all over, we hug. We appreciate each other: the bruises, the experience, the much needed release.
Isn’t this life? At any moment, accidents happen. Your life can change in a heartbeat, whether by your own hand or by others’ actions. You may fall down. You may need help. Wouldn’t it be great if we all acted as we do in a mosh pit when this happens? If we all stayed aware of those around us, even while we are zoned into our own experiences? If we formed those barriers around those who needed it most and helped to pull them up from the ground so they can continue on their journey? Wouldn’t we want them to do the same for us when we needed it?
Moshing is aggressive, sure, but it is also vulnerable. You are entrusting your safety to those around you – including the inevitable giant wall of a human that always makes his way into a pit. Strangers are only strangers until you make a connection. Sure, the world is a scary place. Some people do bad things. Isn’t that all the more reason to work on spreading mosh pit philosophy of civil vigilance and responsibility in tandem with self expression and abandonment? Celebrate being you while you’re still you and, in the process, don’t stand for others being held down while they do the same.
I may be an idealist. I may be hoping for something that seems ridiculous to the powerful majority. However, in a sea of crashing bodies and smiling faces, I know who I am and that I belong here, in this very moment, lost in myself and the music; connecting with comrades I’ll never see again but with whom I will forever share this story.