Last week, I explained how a design that has been close to my heart is now available for sale at Dear Evan Hansen. To read and understand why I created this image, begin with this post. :-)
Since then, I felt this unreal opportunity become very real.
I had the chance finally to see Dear Evan Hansen. And, after years of familiarity, I got to watch the story connect those songs that I've known for so long, and in so many ways.
I watched this story of connection from a seat very close to the stage. With Evan just in front of me, and the knowledge that behind me, my art was displayed out in the open -- I felt seen and heard. But this closeness wasn't always easy. I was also feeling the proximity of distance. Fighting the instinct to run at the feeling of difference has been a theme of thought for me this year. Being able to put words to those feelings has let me feel a new and important source of confidence. It has been very meaningful being able to share them -- they're posted here.
Being in Toronto, I found myself thinking about my times in Sunnybrook Youth Psych Ward. Back then, I couldn’t find any words at all. So, in the audience, lyrics like “will I ever be more than I’ve always been” were sitting with me. I used to think being seen and heard would be impossible for me, and some days it still feels that way. In Sunnybrook, I hardly spoke, but I did spend a lot of time listening to music throughout my stay. The Arts have always provided hope in the possibility of expression. This weekend, a section of the music lingered in a new way.
“🎶But what do you do when there's this great divide? And what do you do when the distance is too wide? And how do you say I love you?🎶”
As ''If I Could Tell Her'' was performed, I felt it say what I'd tried so hard to say when I recently shared my experiences with distance and difference.
I had known seeing the show would be a meaningful, but I don't think I'd fully expected such a roller coaster of happy-sad. I feel so grateful that I had the chance to round out those ups and downs in a way that made that ride feel safe. Thanks to the welcoming team, I began the evening hugging my tote bag, and ended it hugging the cast. Components of this show have been with me in many ways, and having the chance to have a genuine talk with the cast made me feel that I was heard and listened to, reciprocally.
I am so grateful for theatre and arts communities that cross the distances between us and let us communicate from the heart. This weekend, I’ve had the privilege of feeling the spark of connection, even alongside the pang of worry that disconnection will always be just as present.
After knowing this design in many ways, I got to step into the lobby of a 1500 seat theatre and see it is now available for anyone. The ideas that this image were built from, are ones that I've clutched tightly for years. I've been carrying around a constant reminder to keep connected. And now, I get to see that with support for Jack.org, Be There, and Kids Help Phone, this connection is possible with anyone, and others will be toting around the same visual reminder that I started creating for myself years ago.
Go step into that SUN ☀️💙☀️!!!!!