OAM stands for Official Accompanying Member. This is my official title on this tour. My husband’s official title is: Artist, and since I do not perform with the show and live with my husband, I am an OAM. There are several OAMs on this tour. This is a little moving family. We OAMs take this role in all types of ways. Some take it very seriously, and others could care less, and then there are those of us who are filling it in as we go AKA: me. Some of us are self-proclaimed supermodels in between playing mum and doing back bends in glitter Tierras city by city. Others are fashion and travel bloggers with the know how on making it from place to place while looking impossibly chic. One particular OAM proudly states that she is Stefanie’s Mom and a handmaiden who sews and sells interesting Coraline looking dolls on Etsy because that’s how many f*cks she gives about looking cool, and I think that might be my favorite take on our officialness.
The roles and strides for perfection are endless in this world of fast art. Quick tricks with lots of sparkle that you can either laugh at or continue chasing down, but for me, OAM was something that felt like a blank space, an uncertain word that did not hold much meaning. It only covered up my name which meant that anyone could fill it in with anything they wanted, but as I started learning more about myself in early sobriety, adding The to OAM, The OAM, felt like a good pen name for this place of spinning in the in between because I realized that I am the only one who gets to decide what that title actually means for me. Someone asked me if I started a blog for OAMs to read so we would have something to occupy our time on tour. I politely responded No. It’s a recovery blog. OAM. Aside from all the different meanings attached to each family on this tour most of us represent a different country with different values. Some of us like competing for gold stars, but I found out that I am not part of that us. I used The OAM to eliminate the burdensome and almost negative connotations associated with that title. The new self and self titled human being without gold stars is free. We all have the same title, and I realized that no matter what you do people will look at you the way they want to. I am The OAM because my greatest joy and accomplishment every single day rests in knowing that I stayed sober. I am The OAM.
“Eternity is in love with the productions of time.” – William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
The invisible affliction gives an illusion of suspension.
The suspension between me and what I am trying to say.
The frustration between who I am and who I want to be.
Suspension between how I feel right now and happiness.
Between right now and 5 pounds ago.
Between glasses and boxes of wine and bottles of water.
The suspension between me and the voice behind me: the tightening chord like a dog leash to a collar, or a hook to the back of my head. Suspension is the space between you and something else. The space between two people as Sharon Salzberg would say is an entire personality and battleground in itself: a place to notice and recognize. I am suspended every day. The world of sobriety unleashes new waves of unbreathable and unimaginable closeness. The tightest rope and smallest box pressing close in a world of suspension. You feel fine until you are caught alone staring down the glass. You pick it up and hold it just to see how it feels, and then you remember the illusion, setting it back down. You do not pick it up, and you are followed by long bellows in the open air suspended with flying chords like whips or parabolas of suspension. You are held, but you are not held back. Illusions make this hard to manage. Like when joy stares me down from across the room, it’s all a mirage. Closeness. Far-ness.
Nothing brings on the hunger like special. I want to be special.
An OAM friend and I went to the Vancouver premiere last night to support our people, and a woman sitting behind us threw up all over our row. She was drunk and sat for minute after it happened very disoriented. My friend and the guy next to her were covered in it. I thought I would have more to say about the issues with women and alcohol after this, but I think this mental picture speaks for itself. While I have never personally thrown up on anyone, it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have happened. After cleaning up and finishing the show, we went backstage like usual knowing that Steven Tyler would be going back stage too since he was sitting a few rows in front of us during the show. We were put to a halt by an invisible toll booth with unclear accessibility. The suspension between us and Steven Tyler and the invisible affliction that I did not create. The invisible rules from some other person telling me YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US. The short stance and power driven attitudes of stand back arms and walkie talkies told us our status was not enough to cross, but OAM means the same as those other OAMs, right? It turned into something that did not matter to something that hurt, and this made us angry. People get greedy like a Black Friday sale when it comes to rare things or people. If something is very special, people react quickly, instinctually. We lose meditation practices and mindfulness when we slip into the most archaic sense of all, greed. Where we want to want to take and hide MY PRECIOUS. We are hungrier than normal in this place, and we take what we can for ourselves safely to a corner forgetting that there is always enough to go around. The invisible arm continues to say Do not cross this line.
I want to be a celebrity with more stuff and more pictures of me with people to prove my worth.
There is a part in the Baghavad Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna that he cannot show him his true form because the light of his honest expression would blind him. When we see abundance like this, our first instinct is to go wild like we’ve been starved for attention our entire lives. Why are we so human sometimes? I am not saying this to shame anyone, and I’m not asking for a friend because last night I was the one hurting about attention and a possible photo. I was standing around waiting for my turn for a photo with Steven Tyler because I saw an injustice with OAMs and wanted to right it. There is hunger in my heart because this helped me continue. We all have a driving force to move forward, and sometimes we learn how to stay hungry because we might not keep hunting if we are not. After last night though, and all of the pushing and shoving over a little bit of fairy dust from a person they do not know whatsoever only through images and songs, I felt spoiled inside. Rotten. Something felt gross. Looking around I think we all just want to feel good, and I get that. We are loving things who need to know that we are held but not strangled. I know in our hearts that we want the same things because even gorillas want those things.
I am heavy hearted, still, at the end of the day, after all of this. This is still my genre. This is the weight sometimes between me and all of the things, so it is also the connection.
Come home sometime soon because there are a lot of people who want to see you. I miss holding your hand sometimes so much it hurts. Suspension is the only thing that keeps us alive I guess, too. We are just hanging in between time and experience. We are frames per second and everything in between, but we never stop completely. We keep moving constantly. We pause while we play, while moving forward whether we like it or not. This is when we realize that no one can struggle more than another with any real progress because we are all the same. This is understood. You don’t have to stay hungry to feel alive.
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