Woman Show Premiere. Trump. Fight.
10 days. It’s been 10 days since Trump became president. It’s been 10 days of high anxiety as I scroll through news articles, social media posts, emails, the faces of people in my community. There are still more phone calls to be made, letters to be written, advocacy newsletters to subscribe to, meetings to be held, learning to do. It’s been 10 days of trying to figure out how to be an American who will endure in this long-suffering fight. It’s been 10 days of questioning humanity, celebrating humanity, wondering what will be the mark on humanity after all this.
10 days. It’s also been 10 days since I premiered my one woman show. When I picked January 20th, 2017, I imagined it to be very different kind of day. I didn’t anticipate the stress, the depression, the fear that would surround and mark that day. In the midst of this global chaos that seeps into daily life, I struggled with permission to concentrate on my show. What’s the point of a one woman show when people’s rights are being taken away? What’s the point of going to rehearsals when people are on the verge of losing their healthcare? What’s the point of gathering people in a room to watch me perform when there are people losing their voice?
I was chatting with a dear friend of mine who works at the ACLU. She works tirelessly Monday to Friday on legal matters that have heavy repercussions. On the weekends, she doesn’t march, she doesn’t scan social media, she doesn’t get more fired up. She rests. She watches TV. She hangs out with friends. She rests because that care allows her to be on fire at her job.
So as I look back on my premiere date, I think of the 2 hours people shared with me. I think of the 2 hours where people laughed, cried, listened to me speak in Toisan. I think of how people heard the story of my immigrant parents, the story of being a first generation college student, the story of being a girl, the story of pushing forward when there only seemed to be heavy exhaustion. I think of the deep sigh we were all ushered into, even if it was for a moment.
So thank you. January 20th, 2017 will be a weird kind of day in my memories. It started with disgust, anger, gray and Michelle Obama’s amazing face. It ended with a community celebration of unity, diversity and rest. Thank you Jessica Lynn Johnson for directing my premiere. Thank you Michael Raynor for helping me craft my story. Thank you Mom, Dad, Joyce, Grandma and the whole family for being unashamedly you. Thank you Karen for buying me clothes for the show. Thank you Janet for letting me use your Costco card. Thank you to my friends who sat through feedback circles and first draft rehearsals. Thank you for everyone who has showed up for me on show day and in life in general.
We’re going to fight this together. There’ll be many days of exhaustion and feelings of defeat. But there will be many days of humanity victories, of rest that fuels better action, of community and joy. I vow to be a better listener. I vow to take action. I vow to engage because this life I have is nothing but a gift from God.