We arrived in San Diego after eight hours in the car from Tuscon, AZ. Yes, the GPS said 5.5 hours, but that didn't account for both my and Kristen's needs for pit stops along the way - we both need to stop every hour/hour and a half -- it's convenient that way. And there's a long stretch once we got into California that is 55 mph. So, that slowed us down. The ride, though, was amazing. The landscape was unreal --- first desert sands, desert w cactus, then huge mountains of rocks everywhere rocks - Devil's Valley it is called - and then green and San Diego and cars and Walmart and McD's and traffic and wow. It's just mind blowing.
We got to the youth center just ten minutes after we were scheduled to. There were several youth sitting on couches watching some kind of movie. It's a really small center - Just a front seating area, two small rooms and a big hallway with a table and mini kitchen. We figured out how to set up the audience space and then Kristen and I got to getting set up. In Tuscon, I had a small stage - a half circle, raised up about 3" and just barely big enough for my back drop and electric gear -- but it worked. At HYC, I had barely enough space for my gear -- it's always a puzzle- I could have TONS of space like in Tulsa, OK. I don't think I like one better than the other. There's some satisfaction in figuring out the puzzle each time. How do I make this work here for these youth? That's really what makes it all do-able. That I'm doing it for the youth there.
I had been to HYC before, in Aug of 2013. I had such a good time, I went back and this performance was great. The youth were young and very hesitant to respond to what I was performing. When I got to a certain line that usually gets a laugh (about trying to get a straight girl to flip) there was nothing. Nada. Zip. I broke character, "Nothing? Really?" Laughter. "Oh, there you are. Good to know you're here. Thanks." and I jumped right back into the show and continued on my way. All in all, I'd say it was a good show. There were a few places I could have been more into it, but overall...a good show.
After the shows I ask the audience to close their eyes and then to raise their hands if the following are true for them?
1. I struggle with feelings of suicide (all but one youth raised their hands)
2. I know someone who struggles with suicide (all the youth)
3. Something in the show resonated with me (all of the youth)
4. The poem By Sue's Side made sense to me (all of the youth)
The poem By Sue's Side is a poem about what it is to be suicidal.
Then I gave them the opportunity to ask me whatever they wanted to know. I got questions about being suicidal and how I a) dealt with it when it was fresh in my life and b) now that I'm healthier. The answer to a) is that I removed triggers as much as possible. Or escaped triggers. And the second was that I remind me of the reasons I want to stay - which are not like "to see what happens" or "for my kid" -- they're much more centered on really loving what it is to be me - loving the living of my life - how I live it and go through it.
There were other questions about how long it took me to put together the show (18 months - from writing to planning the tour to rehearsing) -- And a question about Charm and what happened to them and questions about the boxes and where that idea came from. It was a good discussion and then we took our picture, they signed the poster and then we wrapped up.
There were a couple of youth who were there in 2013 and were there last night. That was super cool.
Now we're leaving San Diego for San Bernardino.