Earlier this year in a moment of crisis and panic, I reached out to my dear friend, Milwaukee LTYM director Alexadra Rosas. In her typical mother-goddess grace, she comforted me and said, “Unlike most people, you fall in love completely. You jump into love without fear or question. This ability to not fear love is rare.”
The truth of her words resonated with me, comforted me, made me feel stronger.
The beauty of LTYM wasn’t just my own ability to jump into love fully and completely without question or fear:
It was that with this love—I could take people with me.
This love connected seventeen women who didn’t even know they needed each other.
Seventeen women who had been strangers.
Seventeen women who stood on a stage and revealed themselves.
Seventeen women who will never have to be alone.
And this love called out to an audience who were compelled to show up.
Who took and abstract idea of women reading on stage and watched it become reality.
An audience who saw glimpses of the mirror into their own lives
An audience who now have their own tale to tell.
And yes we were sold out.
And yes, the Second Lady was in our audience.
But, between you and me, the fact that she is the second lady isn’t the big deal. Because before she moved to Washington, we taught in the same English department. We shared lunches and books. My students filled out surveys for her Ed. D. She reached out with support when I tried to advance my career. Our cast members Kris and Cat also work in that same English department. And our boss brought her because they are dear friends and friends go out to support each other.
Because, in the end, your status, your lot in life, isn’t what’s important– it’s the stories you have to tell and the bravery it takes to tell them.
So, thank you Ann Imig for creating this movement
Thank you for LTYM: Philly for letting me stand on stage, tell my story and get my first taste of this love.
Thank you to my team Jessica and Jennifer who gave their own hearts and their own time to make this a reality.
Thank you to every woman who auditioned- each of your stories mean something.
Thank you to my cast who not only opened up, but who lent me their words and their stories and helped me pull out the best of themselves.
Thank you to the directors and producers of the 23 other cities who held each other up—who ever says women don’t support each other has never met THESE women.
(LTYM: KC Director Erin Margolin and I hanging at BlogHer ’12)
And of course, thank you to our local sponsors, who gave of themselves, so that we could we could give Wilmington LTYM
Our AMAZING cameraman, Charlie Bailey from Broad Reach Communications.
Our printer Mercantile Press,
Thank you to our talented photographer Donna Harlev who captured our show with such beauty and thought.
And, thank you for buying tickets and donating a little extra money for our charity Family Promise, now you are a part of their story.
Until next year, find your passion, tell your story, and jump head first into love.
Photos by Donna Harlev (self-portraits by me)