trisha hadley

A (Normal) Heart Full

It's easy to look back at a time in history and think, 'What the hell was everyone doing back then?'

This past weekend I watched The Normal Heart, Ryan Murphy's HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Broadway play, set in the early 80s in NYC during the AIDS crisis. It's hard to put into words the effect the film had on me. I cried, a lot. I was speechless. Then I spoke, mumbled is more like it. Fragments of thoughts. Words strung together, likely not coherently. (A prime example of which you're reading. Now.)

I sat outside that night. I lay in a hammock, the middle of downtown Chicago calm and quiet (my perception at least), and stared at the full, giant, honey, Friday the 13th moon. I breathed. I noticed my breath. And I thought.

So much of the film moved me. I don't even want to go into detail... see it, please, have your own experience, and then let's discuss. But the heart-wrenching, I-am-bigger-than-me, genius art in storytelling of this particular piece of history begets the question that has been on my mind since: what is the crisis of today? Can I play a role in alleviating it? 

I'm not Larry Kramer. I'm not Mother Theresa. Gandhi. Nelson Mandela. I won't win a Nobel Peace Prize. But I also won't be ignorant. I don't want to watch a film in 2047 and think, 'What the hell was I doing back then?'

So, 2014, what is our story?

Background image by Sebastian Glasl.