This time last year I was just back from protesting Donald Trump at the RNC in Cleveland. With my comrades at STAT (Stand Together Against Trump), we were clad in our sun colored yellow shirts and Donald J. Tramp was on my arm. We were all young people that were passionate, marching together towards a common cause. That cause was to silence the evil that was Donald Trump. We were changing the world. We were waking America up. As someone passionate about performing and social justice, I was in my glory.
One year later things are different.
Hillary lost and the orange menace is in The White House. While the patronizing name is more akin to a comic book supervillain than real life danger, it still makes my stomach churn as I think of what was supposed to be a victory party that then got a dark pall cast over it.
I marched during The Women’s March and went to a rally here and there, but I have slacked with my protesting. Some of it has been the inclement NYC weather. Then there was the issue of working and travelling. Life took over. And then I just got lazy. Who wants to protest when you have Netflix?
I have recently started climbing out of a depression. Some of it is seasonal. I always get depressed midsummer as shows and other things slow and I am left with my own thoughts. It wasn’t as bad last year as I was protesting in Cleveland, but this year it hit me double.
The spring was brutal. While I took ten steps forward in many ways it felt like I was knocked six steps back. I debuted a one woman show about the election, but was turned down by three booking agents, one of whom sent a runner to my show that skipped out on the tab. I came close to snagging spots on 5 TV shows but then was passed over for someone else for a myriad of reasons. My writing was turned down on a gazillion occasions, and I got turned down for every festival I applied to. I thought I was a shoe in for one because I had history with the producer as I worked for them. Not so much.
At the same time my show has been a hit at every venue and I am constantly invited back. My second book has been released and it is selling like hotcakes. I am the spokesperson for a line of crop tops. On social media I have a few thousand followers. And I am about to do a major headlining set.
Spring was brutal too. I saw the deaths of two people who were good to me from cancer in the same week, and a break up of a friendship that was nearly a decade long. A friend breakup is worse than a romantic breakup in a lot of ways. It like parts of your heart are ripped out that you didn’t even know were there.
The blues hit hard several days ago and it felt like it was dark. I was questioning my life and my decisions. A trip to the DMV left me feeling like I had been hit by a truck and then my bank account was hacked. Just then I got a facebook message from a friend. She was running for office in Yonkers. It was an invite for Donald J. Tramp and I to appear at her fundraiser.
The weather was only adding to my blues, making me feel as if a bullet had pierced by brain. It was hot. It was cold. Why even leave the house? Well it was a gig. That’s why you leave the house.
As I got off the train I was greeted by my friend and her buddy. Gwen was running for office and was so jazzed up about it. As a young Democrat she was putting her message out there and I was oh so proud of her. The backstory to Gwen and I. She is a fellow puppeteer and we met a few years ago through the puppet world. Gwen quit her engineering job during a Super Bowl commercial with a puppet. She was in the Coast Guard and was activated during 9/11. Gwen also recently graduated from Fordham. To say Gwen fucking rocks is an understatement.
Immediately, we ran to Gwen’s office getting signs and other materials needed for the event. While some of the personalities associated with politics had burnt me out, I missed the excitement and the feeling that I was doing something important. I missed actively engaging in agit prop performance. I missed being with other young people who wanted to change the world. I missed helping others.
We immediately set up at the venue and a patron at the bar was helpful. He admitted he was a Republican but a nice guy. And of course he used it as an excuse to hit on us. HAHAAHAHH!
The event began and people came in. Locals involved in Democratic politics greeted us and I began to talk, making new friends. Some were lawyers and other professionals long since affiliated with the party. Others were running for office or were currently in office offering Gwen their support and love. And some were Young Democrats, active with the party who wanted to shepherd their cause to new lengths and breathe new life into the disorganized party that fell apart as it was divided between the support of Clinton and Sanders. And then there was Gwen’s dad. Yes, he had to come. You always do when your kid is running for office.
It was finally time for me to go on.
I got up and started. I talked about the RNC and the whole room was glued to each word I said. Then I began my schtick. Okay, and then Donald J. Tramp came out.
It was suddenly like I was back in Cleveland. I was having a ton of fun. I remembered that I enjoyed being onstage and loved making people laugh. But more than anything, I also kind of like making fun of the president. As each joke got a laugh, my blues began to melt away like a popsicle that had spent too much time in the sun.
I was going to be alright.
I was going to be okay
Gwen was running for office Gosh darn it and she was going for the gold. I was there for the Democratic party, but more importantly, I was there for my friend. I was also there for a cause I believed in.
After my show, I spoke to the young Dems about the election. A wise man once said there are three levels of conversation. There is the lowest where you discuss others. Then there is the second where you discuss events. Then there is the third where you discuss ideas. I was discussing ideas and making new friends.
Did I mention the mayor of Yonkers liked my set?
Yeah, life is good. Now this September vote Gwen Dean.
And while you are at it Buy My Book