Almost to the day, in 2011, I drove an hour and a half to Madison, Wisconsin, to do something I had never done before in my life.
Inside a yellow folder in the passenger seat next to me were two white sheets of paper that would change life as I knew it. They were filled with the words I had carried inside of me for over forty years. The pages were so alive I felt like seat belting them in.
I was on my way to audition for a live reading presentation called Listen To Your Mother. I had heard they were looking for readers to share the stories of their life. I had never read before an audience, and even higher at stake was that I had never told my story publicly. But I was ready to live wide open and free the gates to whatever came my way — or left — by telling the world who I was.
For too many years, my family, not meaning any malice, had imposed an unspoken rule of things not to be talked about. The weight of keeping a defining point in my life closed and locked was growing heavier each year.
I saw a boat heading my way now, and everyone on it waving me aboard, telling me “You have a story in you, share it with us.”
Almost two years ago today, I was chosen for the cast of the 2011 Listen To Your Mother Show, and I am now doing things in my life I have never done before.
Being heard, having someone listen to you and bear witness to your existence is an experience too powerful to try and put into words here. But I can tell you this, it changed me. I remember thinking at the time of my audition, whether I’m chosen or not, this is win-win for me, because someone listened to my story.
It’s two years later now, and my world has gone from auditioning for LTYM to producer of LTYM. I am in the fortunate role of being able to offer just this opportunity of being heard, to others. Jennifer Gaskell and I are the co-producers for Listen To Your Mother Show/Milwaukee, and we’ve had our first day of auditions. We will hear over forty people who have decided to share their lives on stage, and yes, we are honored. Yes, we can’t wait to give your life a microphone while you share your tale as a small part in making the world smaller by bringing us together with your words.
Ordinary people with extraordinary tales.
Jenn and I feel so very honored.
Thank you, Listen To Your Mother, and Ann Imig, creator and founder, for trusting us with your show. Thank you, Deb Rox, for your brains and consulting/advising powers. THANK YOU to BlogHer, for their third year of supporting LTYM as our National Media Sponsor. Read how they paved LTYM’s way here.
The not so quiet revolution of people sharing their lives across 24 stages this May is changing the world — the way it changed mine.
*For information on Listen To Your Mother shows, tickets, and 24 locations nationwide, please visit their national website. To catch the spirit of a LTYM show, there are over 200 videos of readers up on the LTYM youtube channel for you to see. To see my piece from 2011, please click here.