December 10, 2014
Last night is in the top ranking for most exhilarating, satisfying moment of my life. I read my short story, A Visit to Dr. Applebee, for a crowd of around 150 people at Naked Angels’ Tuesdays @ 9. I’m in the middle of writing a memoir about the last ten years of my life; a period where I went from five years of sexual anorexia to a full on, healthy relationship. Applebee is an incredibly personal, vulnerable story about a visit to a proctologist in 2008.
“Applebee’s desk looked like something at the end of a wind tunnel; papers piled up, stacked on papers whose papers had papers, stacked on top of journals from various American medical systems, patient education pamphlets extolling the virtues of anal pap smears, and condom ads featuring photographs of buff, shirtless men walking hand in hand down the beach on a hot summer’s day. His walls were adorned with degrees, certificates, and accolades from places like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Penn, and Duke. There was even a photo of him shaking hands with Jimmy Carter and Sammy Davis Junior. Yes, he was the man. Showcased between all of these items, I noted a shining photograph of his partner with their two children, beaming with smiles from the top of a ski slope. I felt like their happy family was glaring down on me, me, this perpetually, tragically, partnerless, defective woman.”
The audience was in stitches; I killed.
It was probably the most supportive place to read my work. Friends, members of my memoir class, and the man I care for showed up for me. It’s actually a first — generally I prefer not to invite anyone, regretting it afterwards. Following the reading, I was approached by a number of people who identified with my experience, and this seemed a little uncomfortable; suddenly I felt shy. I’ve acted in other people’s plays, and written plays whose protagonists were thinly veiled versions of myself. This was the first time I let myself be known.
This year is about letting go of shame.