MY AiDS opens tomorrow. I am the epitome of calm. My head is clear, my muscles relaxed and my soul is filled with hope and potential. I am ready!
...And if you believe that I have a couple of dusty cases of clear cola in the basement I'd like to sell you. I am TERRIFIED. I keep wandering around my apartment, muttering my lines, and checking on ticket sales. I am chugging a lot of Diet Coke and I am trying to combat doubt, anxiety and severe indigestion.
But I'm also really pumped. Seriously, I am.
When the anxiety is at it's worst I try to focus on something that happened a little over a year ago. Once I had my first draft of MY AiDS I held a little reading for some trusted allies. One of the folks I read it for was a friend who I've known for a few years. We'd become a little distant but I really wanted to read the piece for him. I think he's really smart, emotionally in tune and I really wanted his feedback.
After I read the piece (which at that point was four hours long and included a dream ballet), this friend and I headed over to 5 Napkin Burger. I really wanted some one on one time with him to get his feedback. He had wonderful things to say and some honest criticisms as well. About half through our awesome aoli smothered burgers he says, "Well, you know I am too..."
Not having a clue as to what he was getting at, I responded with a mouth full of burger, "You are too what?"
"I'm HIV positive".
I didn't know this.
He then went on to tell me how much my piece both affected and comforted him.
I'd known this friend for years, both personally and professionally. He actually tested positive a few months after we became friends. I realized while wiping burger juice off my cheek that we could have been there for each other but we were both too busy being ashamed and insecure.
The bitch skipped town not long after to head out west. While I wish he'd stayed in town and am sad we don't get to hang out more and be there for each other, I do feel this crazy profound connection with him. We've kind of become sisters from another mister. He has continued to encourage me from afar and helped me to realize that this isn't just about me. It aint just my AIDS.
So it doesn't matter who shows up tomorrow. It doesn't matter if I drop a line here or there. It doesn't matter what the critics say. This experience has justified my even writing this piece. It has also emboldened me to move forward.
So tomorrow, my first performance is dedicated to my friend. It's also dedicated to anybody who has ever felt alone and terrified and really needs to laugh.
Hope to see you at the show!
You can buy tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com
MY BLoG readers can use discount code 'HIGH5' for first three shows!!!