We can’t experience comedy without knowing tragedy. As I watch the moments of my life on a monitor, I feel all the emotions again. I can feel the sadness, the anger, the humor, the tenderness, or dare I say the phantom limb of my vagina. For the first time, I’m truly processing all of these emotions together.
It’s midnight and oddly quiet on 89th street in Manhattan. I receive a FaceTime from our 1st AD just as they are about to do the martini take, aka the last take of the film. I’m watching people that were just strangers to me a month ago all come together to make this story come to life. I know them all now. I can picture all their smiles. I memorized their dietary needs. I worry each day they won’t have enough La Croix. They call me set dad. “That’s a wrap on Lady Parts.” There they all are, capturing the final scene and immediately screaming and jumping for a joy. I cheer with them through the screen. I give a speech over FaceTime. I hang up.
I’m alone in my dark studio. I just sit there shaking, staring at my “Lady Parts” framed poster across from my bed. Was I supposed to run to the bar next door and take a shot? Call a friend? Go back to bed?
How was I supposed to go back to normal life after that? How was I going to sit at my work desk and type emails the next morning?
I feel like an alien. You go through this crazy experience of watching your trauma play out in front of your eyes while simultaneously feeling excited that the film is finally getting made, but also feeling the most stressed you have ever felt. Every day you go without sleep, solving one problem after the other, till one day after a month, you do the last take. You are alone with your thoughts and feelings. No more distractions to keep your mind occupied. You experience everything all at once and have no idea what to even do with your lifeless body.
In the past 3 weeks, I had a mental breakdown at the Jack in the Box, took zoom therapy from a dark conference room in a plumbing supply office, and managed to cut up my ankles with C stands turning my all white sneakers red without any pain. All is fair when you are working your normal job on east coast hours while on set working your other job till late hours and getting no sleep. At pure exhaustion, emotions and breakdowns are inevitable. Normally I hate crying in front of others or showing when I’m emotional, but as you produce a feature film all about the most traumatic moments of your life, it’s hard to separate completely from every moment.
Production and sets are already physically and mentally exhausting, but I never expected the emotional toll of watching my personal story unfold in front not only my eyes, but everyone else’s around me. Suddenly I found myself crying at every little thing. It’s been 6 years. I thought I’d moved on, but I had no idea how much was still left to process. Every day was filled with highs and lows. One moment I’m playing around in a sex dungeon and eating tiramisu and the next a cooler of expired milk falls on me as I cry in a U-Haul van. If you’re lucky like me, it happens all within 24 hours. Peaks and valleys my friends.
We can’t experience comedy without knowing tragedy. As I watch the moments of my life on a monitor, I feel all the emotions again. I can feel the sadness, the anger, the humor, the tenderness, or dare I say the phantom limb of my vagina. For the first time, I’m truly processing all of these emotions together. Rarely do we get the time to reflect back on our toughest moments, especially scene by scene. Sharing something you wrote is already a battle, but sharing something you wrote all about your trauma and pain is something that I cannot put into words. It’s an experience I hope everyone gets to have though. If we don’t force ourselves to become uncomfortable then we never grow and we never learn from our past. We find ourselves stuck in our comfortable routines.
6 years ago, to the day of our last take, I was going in for Post-Op after my vestibulectomy. After a 6-week bed rest period, I was finally able to walk again and start to resume normal life. It was going to be a year before I’d feel 100% and ready to move to LA, but it was a ray of sunshine after 6 weeks of complete hell. It was my first day leaving my parent’s house after 6 weeks. Ironic now looking back after going through the pandemic. I remember being in the car and seeing just how big the sky was. Everything was exciting to me. A stop at Costco. A walk to the mailbox. A shower that I could take without any help. I swore from that day, I would never take anything for granted. Ever since, even in the most stressful of moments, I think about how badly I wanted to get to the moment I am today. How badly younger me would have been thrilled just to be on set that day no matter how bad I smelled of expired milk. Most importantly I live everyday trying to make my younger self proud of the woman I am becoming and constantly growing into. I know she would be proud of the media we are creating and putting out there for others. Today and every day I am proud of her.
What struck me the most was the support I was given from friends and family. I hate asking for help, yet so many people stepped forward when I made the calls. It was overwhelming to feel that support, and it was what kept me going as I drove around having anxiety attacks in the U-Haul. It was all the people who cared about me when I could only focus on everyone else. I feel overwhelmed with love and support that I didn’t even know possible. It goes to show that being a decent human being can mean the world to someone, and even be the thing that saves their life.
A friend once told me that people are the most important things in your life. Not that I didn’t already know that, but sometimes you need a good reminder. This month I have had to lean on so many friends and family and I am just blown away by their generosity and support each step of the way. It takes a village to create a film and I am the luckiest person on the planet to be surrounded by such an amazing village. I love each and every one of the members of the Lady Parts team and getting to spend so many hours on set with them has been the greatest honor of my life so far. I can’t wait to share what we created with the world.
Be sure to follow the Lady Parts instagram for more behind the scenes and updates on the film. If you want to know more about my personal journey that the film is based on, check out the blog post that started it all: Bonnie’s Bed Post.
Until next time, please enjoy this dailies still featuring a vibrator with an Edward Cullen doll in the background…