there are certain moments when you are struck by love. especially when you are just falling into said deep feeling, these moments are poignant realizations of admiration. usually they stem from small gestures that signify something greater, something important to you. maybe it's something you've knowingly searched for. maybe it's something you never knew you wanted until that moment. whatever the trigger, for me, these moments slow the pace of the world and heighten all senses.
behold, a moment at freddy's back room, roughly two years ago. this place no longer exists, having been demolished to make way for luxury condos or shopping centers or some such nonsense that none of us really have the funds to support.
sarah brown used to host a reading series there, monthly. it was possibly the best activity in all of new york (this statement biased by my own interests of course). rather than read from well written books or highly praised poetry, the readers would read from the ratty pages of their own teenage diaries. requirement: what you read must be so horrifyingly embarrassing as to make you physically cringe. hence, the title of the event. CRINGE. i cannot express in words what hilarious fun this was to watch. The comedy came from empathy, from having been there. and oh, was i there. i have 4 boxes full of faux paint-splattered, hello kitty, puffy rainbows, rhinestone-studded, behind lock-(albeit pickable by bobby pin) and-tiny-keyed tomes of cringe-worthy words to attest to this. and finally, i had something to do with them.
over the course of roughly a year, i laughed so hard i found it necessary to smack my fist on the table. on a few occasions i downed a pint of grapefruit vodka and soda to fuel the courage to stand behind the mic and cringe myself, reading ridiculous histrionics over ex-gay boyfriends and jaw-droppingly heinous 'poetry' about affairs with chefs. really bad bad stuff. but getting behind that mic and hearing others slapping the table and roaring with laughter easily constituted a year's worth of therapy. we've all been there, and we can all laugh about it together.
when sarah compiled entries from readers from freddy's into a book (Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals and Abandoned Rock Operas) she included a few of my 'gems' in the body of the book and a whole lot of anonymous excerpts and miscellaneous scrawlings and samples collaged into the interim pages. dreams about george michael written on garfield stationary. reports of rick springfield on hello kitty red and white. hearing that these entries had been selected for publication was at once exciting and horrifying, but having experienced the joy of laughing at myself in public (really cathartic!), i decided not to fret.
there was, unfortunately, a wet towel dampening the experience of cringe in my life, and it came in the form of a boyfriend who shall remain nameless, who was less than thrilled with my 'exhibitionist' activities. sharing these entries in public advertised the fact that in my 30+ years, i had actually shared love and lust with someone prior to him. the horror. he refused my invitations to join me even on nights i wasn't reading to see how fun and harmless it all was. he picked huge fights with me upon my return from cringe nights and gave me the silent treatment for days. he refused to accompany me to the publication party of the book and not surprisingly, awaited my return from said really fun and awesome event where i met so many great people and felt so proud to be a part of, with a fight. cringe became a bittersweet night, and so, i started to go in secret, just to avoid the fights, ridiculously sneaking around as though i was having an illicit affair or sleeping with prostitutes.
clearly this was not the man for me.
so let's return from my bitter rant (sorry!), to the moment you see pictured above. i've just fallen head over heels in love with jade townsend. freddy's backroom is so packed for cringe that we sit on the floor behind the readers, holding hands. as sarah introduces the next reader, i look at jade. he is laughing. he is there with me. and i'm so much in love.