Shit. Phase one of this project is coming to an end.
The defiant dress is a week away from being finished and I have all the materials in place for dress eleven, the fortune cookie dress. Then there’ll only be one more dress to make: Number twelve. Then phase one will be complete, I will have a honed draft of the script, ready for workshops, and all the major properties done.
My plan over the summer is to fix the peacock, wheat and pearl dresses and in the Fall I will start on the accessories: the wheat bouquet, the marble umbrella, the bucket for the defiant dress and I want to find a cheap guitar for the cardinal dress.
Phase two will be seeing if, and how, all this stuff becomes a show or exhibition.
When Steve left me, I was a wreck. It was far worse than getting my HIV positive diagnosis. After living with grief and seeing it reflected in the faces of my friends, I felt trapped in it. I decided I had to stop being “Chris who got left by Steve,” so I went to India for three months and when I came back, I was “Chris who just got back from a long time in India.” It was an awesome trick to change my life for the better.
Well now I’m “Chris who had the breakdown” and my symptoms prevent anyone from forgetting it. I can’t escape this, but I can get beyond it. That’s why the Arts Club decision means so much to me.
If they say Yes, in my own mind I’ll become “Chris who’s got a play in development at the Arts Club.”
I went to a gathering of friends on Sunday and they are all theatre friends but I didn’t tell them. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. It’s something I can only tell close friends, maybe. But it will give everyone something else to talk about with me instead of my condition.
When I talk about my project with people, I stutter at about 20% or lower — not at all with Dwight; when I’m asked about my speech or spasticity, my stuttering shoots to 75 - 80%.
Today I go to Dr. Shoja. Today’s topic: Staying inside all the time, only going out for adventures escorted OR more drugs OR different drugs.
Then I go to my first appointment with a neurologist since my breakdown. He’ll want to ask me a lot of questions and I won’t be able to answer, so I’m taking some things on my app anticipating a couple of obvious questions and a pad and paper.
The rest of the day will be finishing the breastplate. I will carve in some words — just two — and back it. Then there’ll only be one more part to do: The back panel. And then — Wow! — dress number ten will be finished!
Having to talk for two hours today, though, is going to mean I’ll have neck pain in the evening. My talking is not only poor it’s also really difficult to do. I have to put a lot of effort in and that’s why I shake and jiggle. But tomorrow I go to a new physiotherapist. He’ll have questions too but I know what I want to tell him and I will pre-record it on my app.
Dwight comes for lunch tomorrow, too. He’s going to help me figure out how to display the defiant dress. He’s a professional art installer so I’m very lucky he’s my ‘bro.