I just finished the book "How I Learned to Snap" by Kirk Read. Much of the short stories seemed to read like something you would hear on National Public Radio. A couple had really good endings and I must admit, I misted a bit. Just a tad.
One thing that struck me was how important his school's drama program was for him. He was drinking heavily and smoking pot and not really involved in school. Often a theatre group is where gays and lesbians find acceptance and belonging. I suppose one reason is because we have already had experience acting in everyday life. I remember one Christmas form letter my mom sent out that said "This is the first time Daniel has been involved in drama outside of the home." I got such a kick out of that!
Today I was looking at high school yearbooks and reading old notes. At that time, I was painfully insecure and theatre, forensics and debate were all ways which helped me build my self-confidence. I wasn't athletic but thank goodness for the music and theatre departments! I would love to find my theatre teacher from my hometown and tell her THANK YOU for giving me a chance in that first play "Adaptation." She was so great and had to put up with alot from us. I also had an AWESOME high school debate coach who helped me learn to formulate my ideas on my feet. I am deeply thankful to still have her in my life as a friend. I also wish I could thank my drama professor in university (also gay unbeknownst to me) who stopped me outside and encouraged me to audition for a small part in the musical "Big River." Even a couple of years ago, a co-worker talked me into doing two British pantomimes for charity benefiting the North Korean tuberulosis victims. Prancing up and down the stage in full drag was sort of my joke on this Christian school as a whole, where I wasn't allowed to be out.
Each of the above people saw something worthwhile in me that I didn't see in myself. Each of them maybe even saw that I was doing a desperate act of my own making, just trying to get through the day without being harrassed or noticed. Each of them gave me confidence to value myself and know that all productions, be they on stage or in life, have a shelf-life and then one moves on to a new role. To each of them, I owe a debt for keeping me sane, busy and out of trouble!
It's my hope that now I've moved to Toronto that I won't need drama in my life anymore. I can be in a relationship, work at a job and even be a father if I want. I can just be me. And that feels really good!