Finding Your Own Seat

Lila Downs floated onstage, resplendent in her dark burgundy floral dress. White lace cascaded from the hem and trailed across the floor. Carnegie Hall was the perfect wrapping for the gift of her magnificent voice. I craned my neck in my box seat, enjoying bits and pieces of the visuals- the colorful images on the background screen and spectacular presentation of the very talented Ms. Downs. Her singing was inspiring in its sensual spirituality. But sitting behind two men, I was unable to fully immerse myself in the performance.

When we entered the tiny box, I couldn’t find my seat, number 7.  When my spouse sat in her reserved seat, number 9, I suspected that the one next to it was actually mine. We realized that another fan was in it. He’d draped his coat over the number and pointed me to another empty seat at the front of the box – encouraging me to sit there. I declined. I preferred to sit next to my spouse in seat number 7. At my insistence, the man who coveted my spot went to his- directly in front of me. I realized that the one he suggested I sit in didn’t belong to him either. It belonged to another man who came in behind us. This one turned out to be a high hand clapping, video enthusiast who kept the bright light of his camera on in an otherwise darkened auditorium- but that would be another blog post.

I can’t help being who I am and was annoyed with him for the greater part of at least half an hour of the show. This isn’t the first time someone has insisted that the seat I’ve paid for is theirs. About a year ago, we boarded the plane to Puerto Rico. A man sitting in my seat pretended it was his despite the fact I showed him my ticket. Mr. Oblivious eventually moved when I stood my ground in the aisle and stopped all passengers from venturing deeper into the plane that day. Of course, most people were pointing at me with my barking dog restricted to her crate. They never suspected that the mild mannered man was the hold up. Just as with the gentleman at Carnegie Hall, we sat close together for the remainder of an uncomfortable flight. His seat was an inch from mine.

I’ve also lost what I thought was a respected friendship when someone liberally co-opted my idea and negated my existence despite our working closely together for months. This sort of thing happens to me occasionally. In a larger way, I wonder about people who kind of create their own lives but in actuality don’t. They see something they like or want and decide that it’s much easier to take it from someone then to do their own thing.  They take a bit of this from here and a bit of that from there. Of course, we may find that we like to sing when we hear the song of another and try it out ourselves. We may write a mystery because we’ve read a whodunit that kept our eyes peeled open late into the night. But we don’t take the thing that belongs to a person- a seat, a story, a song, an identity.

Finding our own seats is a main purpose when we come onto this planet, this lifetime. What about that other person inspires you? The phrase “I want what you’ve got” is flattering. It doesn’t mean that I want to be you. It means that I’m enthused by what you do and I’d like to find my own brand of doing something as creatively, as spiritually and as awesomely connected to the universe.

I’ve been challenged to find my own seat and to be the person that I think rocks!

Let us know what or who has motivated you to take a seat or change your seat in life! Press comment and share, we all need some inspiration!