Today’s gonna be a good day, and here’s why: because today you’re you, and for someone like me, that’s so much more than enough. You’re right, someday no one will remember any of this, but today, today I can remember everything that got me here, and I can so clearly remember the final monologue in your show, and what I have to say, is thank you.
I have spent the good part of the past four years searching for the right words to say, for the right way to say those words. I’ve spent hours pouring myself into books, movies, television shows, searching for something to point to and say “here’s what I need to tell you.” So, to all my loved ones, to everyone who has stuck with me when I was awful: Read anything about how Ben Platt is ripping himself apart every night, about how it’s moving to watch, how it’s painful to watch. You’ve observed this before. You’ve seen this before.
That is how I live, or, as it stands now, lived. Thankfully, I’m much better now, at least, most of the time. But God, Evan, I remember it everyday, I remember being that kid everyday. Hell, I still am that kid every day. I have the sweaty hands moments, I have the stuttering, the self-doubt, it’s all still there. I think it will always be there.
So, to my loved ones, if you read this, there it is. I couldn’t tell you then, so here it is now. I sat in the theatre, and I saw myself. The world saw Evan Hansen, and I saw my anxiety played out, I saw people crying for a character I identified with. I cried for a character I identified with.
I cried for myself, and I cried for my friends.
I cried for Jared, and my friends who don’t know how to convey how much they care for their friends.
I cried for Alana, and my friends who push themselves so hard, who need to be a part of something.
I cried for Zoe, and my friends who live with a pain they are told is unjustified.
I cried for Connor, and all of my friends, and their friends, who didn’t make it, who let go.
I cried during You Will Be Found, but not because I was hopeful. Because it reminded me that I have been found, it reminded me to be grateful. To be grateful for my friends from before all of this happened, who stuck around through this. For my friends in the hospital, who saw me at my darkest, and still reached out. For my friends at my new school who immediately accepted me, and continue to. So, to all of them, thank you, I love you, and you have done so goddamn much for me. I hope someday I can do anywhere near as much for you.
I love seeing people online talking about You Will Be Found and how much it means to them, but I feel that they are missing a very important part of it. Most speak about how the idea that they will be found is so comforting, and while that is the message, the most important part of that song, is that you have to reach out, and then someone will come. I refused help for so long, stuck to myself, shut people out, but it only started getting better when I finally did reach out. I am so very, very glad that I did. It made all the difference.
I think it’s safe to say, I cried from the start of the show to the very end. I stood in line for the bathroom at intermission sobbing, trying to pull myself together. (A major thanks to the woman behind me who gave me a tissue and started talking about my hair, rather than addressing the snot and tears.) But, by far, Evan, your final monologue hit me the hardest.
I have stood at the bottom of the tree, wondering if life is better farther up, and I’ve been climbing ever since. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to let go, just give up, because it was so, so hard. But I didn’t, and the little bit of sun I can see feels so good. I’m so glad I kept climbing, I’m so so so glad.
It is so hard, but it is so worth it, so, even when there are no footholds, keep climbing.
So, to the cast, crew, and creative team of Dear Evan Hansen, to anyone who helped bring this story, a version of my story, and a version of so many other anxious kids stories, I am so, so, so very thankful.
Sincerely, me, someone who really, really needed Evan, and his story.