Little Jami.

This post is titled as such.
For Little Eponine.
Or my mini me.



Frances (Which comes from the French meaning - FREE).

Who is awesome.
And adorable.
And just cute!

But having a mini me on stage for 9 shows.
Got me thinking.
About the opportunity.
To speak to little selves.

How much catharsis there could be in that.
Oh little Jami.

Or Macarena.
Yeah.
Did I not tell you?
My name was changed at 2 years old.
From Macarena to Jami.
Upgrade.

I thought, tonight.
During finale.
After the lights went down.
On a stage.
That has become so much home.
After I spent all night taking in every detail.
'Membering ever piece of blue tape.
Every paint stroke.
Every note.
And just where every note hung in the air.

I spent all night, remembering every step.
And smile.
Every time Marius made me laugh.
Right before we'd go on stage.
Or Constable #2 would tell me I killed it on the walk to the other side.
Or Sue and I would take off chairs.
The way Jean Valjean would threaten to not pay me.
And I'd promise inappropriate post it notes.
Or the feeling of standing in the wings.
With THIS group of people in THIS space,
The way everyone looked during Master of the House.
And the earnestness in Fantine's voice as she KNEW I'd get the Epilogue.
How empty chairs wrecked me.
And made me love Marius long after I died.
Tonight.
Real tears fell during A Little Fall of Rain.
And as my body shook with sadness during On My own.
Not a bit of acting to be found.
The way Gregorio and Michelle would make me dirty.
Then clean.
Then a little dirty.
Then wicked dirty and bloody.
They way "Dad" would love me for a moment.
And the way "Mom" never could.
The way Javert believed in me.
The 100348 hugs received from Gavroche, my little brother.
Or the 49 times Maddie said she was sad tonight.
The way last night Tenderheartbearbestfriend said, "Really, none of these costumes flatters you at all."
Truth.
Or the way FormerBackStreetBoyBestFriend needs to Man Up.
Or Montpernasse and I get sassy.
Or when Andrew stops by.
Or Nicole plays Grantaire like NOBODY'S Business.
She's LEGIT.
They way everyone knows touching isn't my thing.
And the way we slowly worked up to hugging.
And hand holding.
And dying in Marius' arms.
The way Silk can say "Your legs are HOT."
And I somehow know he means it.
The way Ed dances while Gavroche sings Little People.
And I die laughing every time.
The way Mike Mics and does everything else.

I'm about to get REALLY real here.
Because, If I were sit down with Little Jami, who isn't necessarily LITTLE SELF.
But actually little Jami.
Who's maybe in 3rd grade.
I like to picture her.



Swinging on the wood swing at our old house.
And she'd be smiling, because life was good.

And she'd want to tell adult Jami about tap class.
And Piano Lessons.
And how the little girls at school call her brown girl.
And she has no friends.

I'd stand beside her.
Pushing her on the swing.
And I tell her.

"It gets better."
And she wouldn't necessarily know to trust me.
Because trust is hard.
And then I'd have to say, as adult Jami.
That it gets much worse.
For a long time.
And I'm sorry that she has to go through it.
But where it gets her.
Will be far worth it.

"You see, Little Jami, you get the chance to try out for a Musical."
"I do?"
"You do.  And I'm going to tell you this now.  
Not for the right reasons."
"Huh?"
"You'll go to that theater for all the wrong reasons."
"I don't get it."
"You see, post finale of your show.

You'll start to feel sad again.
And those thoughts of how you really are nothing and no good.
And everyone hates you.
Will come back quietly.
And sit firmly in your mind."
"OH."
"Yeah, it's not pretty.
And you'll drive to the theater in Ludlow, off exit 7.
Hoping that another adult can tell you.
You suck.
You are nothing and no good."
"OH!"
"Yeah.  And I'm not sure why, someone telling us that is reassuring.
But it is."
"Maybe it makes us feel less crazy?"
"Maybe, anyways, you'll drive to that audition space to have other adults tell you.
You can't sing.
You're horrible.
Get off the stage."
"Do they?!"
"No."
"Phew."
"Right?  And some days later, the director will call us."
"Really?"
"Really.  We'll be shopping with Jen and Gina.  In the middle of JCPENNY."
"JCPENNY?"
"Yeah, you still have horrible fashion sense."
"Got it."
"(And if I could save the both of us from wearing those green plaid pants in HS, I would.)  Anyways, the director will call.
And non chalantly ask if you want to be Eponine."
"FOR REAL?"
"For real.  And you freak the freak out."
"Really?!"
"Yup.  Because.
We can't figure out what it is he saw in our nothing and no goodness."
"Something."
"Something is right."
"Wow."
"Yes, little me.  Wow."
"Will we be okay, now?"
"I don't know little one.
We have many miles to go before we sleep.
Many adventures.
But I can assure you of something you didn't know then."
"You mean now?"
"Yes, now.  You feel so alone.
And that loneliness only gets worse from here.
You have a horrible 3rd grade teacher.
You change schools a bunch of times.
You are made fun of a lot.
And have no friends for a long time.
Your parents will separate and it will wreck you."
"Um…"
"I know.  You feel lonely."
"I do."
"But.  By the time Les Miserables arrives, you'll have met some of the most wonderful people in the entire world mankind life."
"That's dramatically awesome."
"True.  And in this production, that a director will let you do.  You will fall in love with everyone in the cast.  And they you."
"Me?!"
"Us.  Yes, and they'll tell you.  Often.  That they love you.
And they are proud of you.
And MAN UP."
"Man up?"
"Yes, it's Miko, and we do, we man up."

"Little Jami?"
"Uh huh."
"I have something else I need you to hear."
"Okay."
"As the show comes to an end.
You still won't be okay."
"Really?"
"Really.  You'll have a lot of work ahead of you."
"Ahead of you?"
"Right, us."
"Like?"
"Lots of stuff."
"Okay."
"Point is, kid, we can't give up.  The going will get tough.
You'll feel nothing and no good some times.
Eating gets confusinger (and no, that's not a word, but we're going with it) and harder every day.
You'll work out too much.
And too long.
And too hard."
"So don't?"
"No, do.  Try it.  Screw up.  Fix it, break it again."
"Seriously?!"
"Seriously.  LIVE.  Experience the living.  Don't be afraid of it.
Being afraid it won't be perfect is not important.  I'm more afraid it won't be."
"Sounds hard."
"BRUTAL, kid, just brutal.  And beautiful.  Les Mis.  Is.  Going.  To.  Change.  YOUR.  OUR.  Lives."
"Really?"
"Really.  And not just at 15.  15 it will inspire you.  30, it will CHANGE you."
"Cool."
"Wicked cool, little me, wicked cool."

I like to think of Little Jami, smiling on the swing.
With the understanding that the wait will be long.
And undoubtedly hard.
And unequivocally worth it.

And while she's swinging.
I remember the flow of my skirt on stage.
The way Marius says SWELLS.
And that red wig.
And I know this house.
And dads.
And the love.
Of and for a cast.
Who, without even being asked:


Rescued me.

3 comments:

  1. Jami, I loved reading this post about how everyone on the set of Les Mis has touched your life and has made you feel loved. That has been a common thread in all of your past postings, all of the people especially this past year who have touched your life in many ways. I hope you realize that at the same time how they respond to you is a reflection of how much love they are feeling from you. How much happiness they get whenever they are around you and how much they enjoy hearing your beautiful voice. This includes those of us that have never met you in person. Please don’t let the doubting Jami take these beautiful feelings and moments that are gifts away from you. Jami, you are loved and you matter very much to many, many people! Lorie A

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  2. Wish my "big ......" could say nice things to "little......" All I hear in my head is the bad and sad stuff. I'm sooooooo glad that you can be so positive to your little Jami.

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  3. To anonymous. Just be nice to your little self. Even if you don't believe it at first. God doesn't make junk. (((Hugs)))

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