“When that stage is lit,” Trixie says, “And the crowd is on fire with anticipation, and my brain is on fire with nervous energy, there’s nothing like it.”
“I’d be too scared.” I say. “I could never do that. I couldn’t even give speeches in history class without spazzing.”
“It’s totally different. It’s so bright that you can’t see three feet past the stage. It’s hot. There’s this feeling of . . . invulnerability when the drums start and the bass starts the thrum out across the room. And then . . .”
“Pow. The music hits me, and I am not me. Just some boring girl. I am a star.”
Trixie and I sit there, drinking coffee. I tap my pen against the table, a page of words not yet written down staring up at me. Their blankness overwhelming. She knits quickly, looking at each stitch as it forms on the needle. She is a star, at least in her own right, but then again, I suppose I am as well. In a much, much quieter way.
We both at this moment, are facing the same decision, as friends will often end up doing, despite so many differences in our lives. We are both crazy. Both bipolar. Both up against the decision to self-destruct or submit to the medication our doctors have suggested.
Seems like an easy decision, yes? Live or not?
But we have lived our lives creatively, and the choice is not just medication or death. The choice is uncertainty or certainty. Manic state creativity, that desire, that fire, has gotten me through more than one bout of writer’s block. It has given me what I need to write that scene. Make that deal. Have the unnatural confidence in myself to kick some ass.
It’s probably true for Trixie as well.
And we look at it now as choosing to be well, but numbed, but alive for a long time; or sick, but sometimes vibrant, and burnt out or dead too soon.
We don’t want to choose, so I stare at the blank page, she knits slowly each stitch, until we realize that the brightness of this change obscures the look past this stage. We cannot be if we try to look too far into the darkness, and see the overwhelming number of choices staring us down, waiting for us to falter a step, miss a chord, forget a line.
A part of this success will be to realize we are broken, and to take the steps to fix it.