It was observed at Saturday's party that I didn't have my usual energy, that I seemed a little drained. Yep,this was so. Still had fun, still very glad I went; I needed the social energy.
I've spent big chunks of the past few days feeling like I was going to cry at any moment, but it just hadn't happened.
Today, I curled up on the couch reading Without You, Anthony Rapp's memoir of RENT and his mother's death. And I got to the preview performance the cast did for Jonathan Larson's family the day after he died (writer of the play - age 35, aortic aneurysm). And that cracked me right open.
These thoughts will be jumbled.
I have always had a deep attachment to RENT - play version, not movie version, don't get me started on the movie. From the very first moments of it (and I saw it with no hype or preconceptions).
It reminded me of Vegas. My Vegas. The people I'd left behind not so long ago, in all probability to never see again. (Some of whom are inspirations for characters in Places You Haunt.)
People wondered why I chose Vegas for my Wyrding Studios Wanderlust piece. People wonder why I love it,when the rape happened there. And... there is so much grief tied up in Vegas. But there is also so much joy.
And that is my life. So much grief. But so much joy.
I am so small and so delicate, in real life. I am not perceived as such. I am larger than life. Just this Saturday,I had someone assume I was taller than her friend, who was in fact two inches taller than me; when corrected, she said "Oh - you just have more presence." And I do. That's not an egotistical thing - I'm not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing. It's just a thing. I have attitude sufficient to convince everyone in the room that I am large and in charge.
But when I am curled up in a ball sobbing, I am so small. When the world rears above me, when I remember my profoundly helpless childhood and adolescence, when I think of other people having their worlds ripped open as I have - I am so, so small.
And I think about my mom, and how fucked-up things were, in large part because she did not listen or believe.
This April, I was visiting them for my sister's engagement party, and I stayed to write with felisdemens and get Places You Haunt into shape to be workshopped. At the end of the week,Mom asked me what I was working on. I gave her the standard description ("Tam Lin in Vegas") and distractedly sent her the file. Instantly forgot about that.
A month later, I got this: I just got around to reading Places You Haunt. I thought it was very, very good and couldn't help but see that shades of you and Elayna were an integral part of the story. You are a very talented writer and I hope that all you wish for comes true.
And I spent a while not even really knowing how to process that. I realized that I'd bared a lot to her. I realized that she'd actually seen it. That,maybe because it was fictionalized, maybe because it was on paper - she'd listened, and heard what I had to say.
She had never told me her opinion of my writing before, you know. And we don't say "I love you" in my family. Lots of things we don't say.
I have told her what I was doing last week. I don't know that she understands.
I am learning to live with the mom that I have.
I am learning that my grief - grief for the childhood I didn't have, for the health I took for granted - is okay.
I am thinking that maybe that's why I have so much joy. That maybe the grief hollowed me out like a melon baller and made more room for love and for joy.
I can have both at the same time.
Rape crisis center work is work of hope. We could not do this if we did not believe passionately that there is hope- hope for healing, and hope that rape can gradually be eradicated.
I am scraped raw right now. But today I got to where I could cry over it. That's progress.