Almost precisely 48 hours until my address on the “Free Speech” platform during the DNC.  I’m not really sure what to expect.  The platform is a good four blocks away from the arena where the actual DNC will be taking place.  The roads will be blocked all around, so there will be 4 blocks between my message and all the politicians and delegates in the arena.  I understand we have the Secret Service to thank for this completely absurd perimeter.

But I’m not going to sit on my hands just to spite them.  I’m determined to be heard, or at least determined to speak even if there’s no one around to hear me.  There will be a microphone and a PA system.  And I will speak.

I’m not really anxious about it yet, but I have every expectation that I will be.  Even if it’s not until the moment I step up there.

I need to rehearse my speech.  I never expected myself to memorize it, but I want to become comfortable with the language and play with where I need to emphasize words or punctuate with arm movements.  I’ve spent the last forty-five minutes or so reading “The Count of Monte Cristo” aloud to myself, so I’ve grown a bit tired of speaking.  I need to let my palate rest a bit before I jump on that.

This is one of these things where I feel I probably belong.  I feel like I have needed to do some public speaking, that I am, if not naturally good at it, at least I am not afraid of it in the way many people are.  This is my chance to take a microphone and shout “I” into the heart of the world.  This is my chance to affirm my own existence.

It seems strange that I should feel the need to do this.  Maybe it’s something everyone feels in one way or another.  But no, I recognize welling up in me the crying out to be acknowledged.  In anticipation of this moment I feel every tantrum I ever threw as a child, every opportunity I saw to do something better than someone else but was too shy and thought myself too small and unworthy to act.  This is why this moment is so important to me.  My aching to be acknowledged, affirmed, even loved for all my life is waiting impatiently to burst out through my pores, my voice, inside, is screaming to be heard with an intensity I understand but did not expect.  It’s easy to forget, going through life day to day, how our bodies remember those little slights.  I had not expected it to build up to this degree but here it is, I understand it and I accept it and on Tuesday evening I will speak.  Even if it is only to an empty field.  Even if it is raining and I stand with an umbrella preaching to nobody.  I will speak.  I have needed to speak.  I have only wanted the means.

** Note: “The Beast that shouted ‘I’ at the heart of the world” is a reference to an episode of Evangelion; the phrase struck me the first time I read it and I continue to identify with it; it is apparently a bastardization of the title of a Harlan Ellison story called “The Beast that shouted ‘Love’ at the heart of the world.”

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