NO PERSON IS AN
4 August 2002
One of the first journals I read this morning turned out to be by Emily, who is one of Steve's
groupies. She was writing about Steve.
About four years ago, I'd been hearing all of this
business about a show called The Last Session, TLS, from this woman named Gail,
who was on the Rent newsgroup list.. So I decided to check out the website for
this musical. I downloaded the clips of songs on my .093 KB modem, and instantly begged a
credit card off of my father, and ordered the CD. I was hooked. Caught comPLETELY off
gaurd by what I found. Not that I wasn't expecting it to be good, I wasn't expecting the
depth of emotion, I wasn't expecting the expertly crafted lyrics that spoke to how I felt.
I had just found out that Jesse had AIDS, and that it was bad. I had to face that he was
dying a million miles away from me, but I, in true 17 year old fashion only thought about
what I felt like, not what it was like to live in his body, as it slowly failed him....
When I joined the TLS list, Steve stopped being this name on a screen, the man behind the
words, someone I could never touch and who would never touch me. Steve became El Bighead,
the joyous, zany, quirky, queeny, loving man who kept us all together. Who was the reason.
The music. Even now I'm not as close to Steve as I want to be. Life can get in the way
sometimes. But I know if I needed to talk to him, I know I could. I know he knows I'm
alive, and that's enough. His job is to keep making the music, to keep writing, to keep
acting, to keep being. Some people really touch this world, you know, some people strive
to make it a better place and Steve does. And he brings together these people that just
make you glad you're alive.
I thought--what a nice tribute to Steve, and I e-mailed
him the URL and told him to be sure to read it. It seems that I'm always seeing messages
like this, people who stumbled across Steve's web site,
start reading his journal, get hooked and
find their lives changed as a result. I know what it's like. I'm one of those people.
The thing is--Steve never set out to change the world,
or to change anybody. He was just a guy dying of AIDS who wanted to let his friends know
what he was going through. At the time he started his journal, on-line journals were not
the phenomenon they have become, the reason why all of us are here spilling out all of our
lives onto the Internet. Steve's was the fifth on-line journal...ever. I don't know how
many people read his journal now, but it has to be thousands, from all over the world. I
would be willing to bet that a good number of us have found our lives changed, to a
greater or lesser degree, because our paths crossed Steve's.
We never know when our day-to-day life may somehow
strike someone else. Just the other day, I had a note from a fellow journaler:
OK, so I'm sold. I'm buying a bike. Any pointers?
That's happened a lot since I started this "new
me" plan. People who have been "inspired" (for lack of a better term) by
all the stuff I've been doing and who have either started a diet or gotten back on a bike,
One of the most rewarding letters I had was from a good
friend, who wrote,
Whew! Lost 3 lbs. (Last week's 2 plus one more) ...
So I'm now at a paltry 16.5 lbs lost. But I'm happy! Eating better than ever before and
being sensible about it. My tastes are changing a bit so that I don't think of donuts and
chocolate all the time....I was wearing a shirt I haven't been able to wear for a year cuz
I couldn't button it. (Yay). And, my blood sugar has been under 130 for weeks now every
morning. And one morning last week it was 98. I didn't take any insulin that day.
Wow. You have no idea how thrilling it is for me to
know that something I've done primarily for me got my friend started
looking at her own health and doing something about it.
It all comes full circle. I got on a bike, mostly
because Olivia said 'let's buy bikes," but I was in the proper mindset because of all
of Secra's entries about her getting back onto a
bike and learning how to like it. I figured if she could do it, after all of her fears
and complaints when she first started it, maybe there was a chance for me.
Because of the two of us talking in our journals about
our biking experiences, Haggie dusted
off her $70 K-Mart special and ventured out on a four mile ride with Olivia and me. Now
she's on a bazillion dollar bike and planning to ride her first century in a couple of
months, and to do the AIDS ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles next year!
Out of her newly discovered love of biking, and her
computer expertise has grown The Boobs, which now has 31
members, from all over the world.
You just never know.
This morning I received another letter from someone who
had seen Paul perform, but
who never knew him in person. She writes:
I knew of Paul for many years. ...my friends all
had crushes on him from the moment we first saw The Heffalumps back at Davis High. As this
evolved into Lawsuit, we tried to never miss a local show. I think a lot of people wished
they could be Paul. He seemed to be so intense and yet so unaware of how people looked up
to him....I took my younger brother to see Sedona....During the show, I looked
over at him a few times and I could see that he was just as moved as I was. Afterwards, he
told me he was in awe. We both agreed it was a very emotional, meaningful show...When Paul
passed away, I was devasted in a manner that a person who idolized him but hardly knew
him, would be. I couldn't understand why his life had to end.
You live your life, from day to day, and you never
think that you're anything special. Your friends and relatives may see the "real
you," and know you (and love you--sometimes) in spite of all of your warts and your
shortcomings. But outside there are people with whom you may interact only peripherally,
who see only the public face you present and who find themselves affected by that face.
Some of us, like Secra, Steve and I, are fortunate to
have the opportunity to hear that things we may have done have had an effect on the lives
of others. Others, like Paul, never get that chance.
You just never know.
Thank you for nominating my entry, Moving On for a DiaristNet award!