For years have been aching to get back on stage. The last time I took the stage was when I was 24 years old, almost 10 years ago. I used to live for the stage, it was my home. Whether I was acting, singing, or dancing, I loved it! Then real life and real life responsibilities set in and I packed up my Broadway dreams to become an adult.
On Sunday I woke up energized because I knew that I was going to see her, the stage, again. We were going to reunite in the most frightening way possible. The stage and I have shared plenty of stories together and I loved telling each and every one of them. I loved finding myself in a character and making her (or him as I also once played Puck, the ass in a midsummer’s night dream) come alive. But this time was different. This time I was telling my own story, my own truth. A truth that so very few know. It was the scariest thing I have ever done. Would my words be too painful? Too painful to say, too painful to hear? Would they judge her? Would they judge me? I wanted there to be no space for judgment during my piece. I wanted the audience to know that the story I was telling was a snap shot in the midst of a million others in a very specific period of time, and that things changed and people changed and it’s all really ok now, it got so much better! But there wasn’t any room for that.
I arrived at Synetic Theatre unsure of what to think, with a mixture of excited and nervous energy pulsating through me. As a few of us made our way into the dressing room, I was in love all over again. I was the one to flick on the theatre vanity lights because being backstage doing my makeup was one of the best memories for me. The girls and I turned on curling irons, put on lipstick and mascara and nursing pads to soak up the nervous sweat that was beginning to break through some of our underarms. It was a true sisterhood. We were in this together, sharing our private stories to an audience together. It was beautiful.
As we took the stage before the show to do our tops and tails of rehearsal, I watched every single person go up and marveled at how brave they were, but also at how as mothers our stories are so similar. Our worries, our fears, our bonding, our joys, our “this can’t be life” moments. We can all relate in one way or another. It made me so proud to be a woman, so proud to be a mother.
And then it happened. We stood backstage as Happy by Pharrell played and I heard all of the chatter, then applause, in the audience as we went on stage and I…panicked! I had the biggest friggin panick attach you could ever imagine. I was something like #10 to go up and do my piece, so I had nothing but time to agonize over how it wasn’t funny and I wish I would’ve shared one of my funnier pieces and how it was too dark, why would I do that to the audience. Unbeknownst to my new found friends, I almost passed out on stage TWICE. It was nothing but sheer will and God that kept me firmly planted in my seat. And then I did it. I got up, and spoke my piece. I stumbled and fumbled at times, but I had to get it out. I had a story to tell! And before it was all over I took a moment. I looked out into the audience, and I took it all in. I was on stage. I WAS ON STAGE! And I’ve missed her so! Even though the circumstances were so different from the other times, I missed her and loved her and knew that although I never wish to tell my own personal story again (at least not one that deep), I do wish to tell someone’s story again. It was magic. It made me believe in magic again. The applause was like someone was caressing my soul. I felt alive!
Afterwards as I went to meet my family and friends who showed up to support me, people began to stop me. So many thanked me for my bravery. Many whispered “I can relate. Thank you for telling our story”. And that, that broke my heart. The truth is, I don’t wish for anyone to be able to identify with my story. Not that part of my story. I wanted to tell each of them “I’m sorry. I’m sorry you were hurt. I’m sorry you know this pain and this questioning”. But instead I needed and gave a wear smile. And then gratitude leapt into my heart. When I auditioned for the show I prayed about it and I only wanted to do it if it was God’s will. And it was. He chose me to let others know about his grace. He chose me to touch people with this particular story. And even though it saddened me that some knew my pain all to well, I suddenly felt incredibly blessed to be a voice for all of us. Getting on that stage and deciding to open yourself up so wide is not an easy thing and it’s not for everyone. I thank God that it was for me and perhaps the healing for someone out there has begun because of it.
If you didn’t make it to Listen to Your Mother 2014 in your city, I can promise you that you missed an amazing show. However, the youtube videos will be out in late summer and I cannot wait to share my story with you! Everyone that was up there with me was absolutely amazing, and made me so happy to be a mom and to be a part of this amazing show. What a magical, blessed day it was indeed.