I have never read my words aloud. I enjoy my safe place behind the laptop, telling stories when they come to me and sitting in front of a blank screen when they don’t.
Since November, I have been working with a team of women who have now become the closest of friends to bring stories TO A STAGE. What was I thinking? I was thinking that other women would read. They would share their stories and we would build the platform for them to do so. Things would be warm and sepia toned with breaks for tissues, hugs and chocolate.
This is all true, until the part of our process where I committed to getting on stage and reading something I had written as well. You see, I had an exit plan since the first day I was told that two of the directors/producers of the show could read. I nodded and took a deep breath and said “ooooookay.” Then I drove home and had a long conversation with my anxiety about how we would tactfully bow out of the discomfort of public speaking.
Sunday was our last rehearsal before the show (May 4th at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit at 3pm, doors open at 2 and you can buy tickets here). I had sent my piece to my co-directors weeks before, fully expecting to execute the Anxiety Plan and never read it at all. But weeks of listening to our amazing cast pour their hearts out chipped away at my crafty excuses for lack of participation.
I was scared and so were they. I might cry and many of them already had. I had never done this before and most of them hadn’t either. My ugly cry sometimes turned into a snort-laugh… that argument might still stand. I haven’t heard a cry-snort-laugh sequence out of anyone else in the group.
So I did it anyway. I stood in the wings of the stage Sunday afternoon and as I waited for my turn to read I was all alone with the reason I started pouring my heart out to begin with, my daughter. I felt Hadley so strongly as my heart threatened to beat out of my chest. The way that I don’t feel her as much anymore, six years removed from seeing her face. I listened to the beautiful, beautiful story read before mine and I peaked at the amazing faces of our cast in the audience and I walked out and read my words for the first time.
I cried and I did not complete the snort-laugh part of the sequence (thank God!) but I did give my voice to the words I’ve been placing here for years. It was humbling and scary and overwhelming but in the strangest turn of events, I can’t wait to do it again.
I know I’m biased but Listen To Your Mother: Metro Detroit is going to be an amazing, life-changing event. Tickets are on sale here and we would love, love, love for you to join us.
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