Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be on stage.
In fact, when I starred in the critically acclaimed play “The Little White Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings” at the age of six, a star was born. As I hopped around my elementary school stage, my parents tell me they realized they had a child who had the performing bug. They also like to remind me that I loudly told the other cast members they’d missed their lines and that I nudged scenery to remind them of their missed cues, but I digress. Even at the ripe old age of six, I understood how important it was to nail your marks.
When I had the lead in “Cheaper By The Dozen” in eighth grade, I ate slept and breathed my role. I practiced and I memorized. I spent hours preparing and I loved every single minute of that production. It was exhilarating, standing in front of an audience pretending to be someone else. It was my happy place. I’d also like to note that my male counterpart has since gone on to star on Broadway and I like to think it was me who helped him hone his craft. Shut up. I’m allowed a little license here, okay?
High school found me in musicals, dance team and public speaking, mostly because those were the clubs who let me use microphones. Being in front of a crowd energized me, excited me and made me feel comfortable in my skin. As I was a kid who moved a lot growing up, the stage allowed me an opportunity to forget that I didn’t have a ton of friends or that I missed the ones I had just moved away from. And, as a grown up, I never shy away from opportunities to take the stage….because microphones are just plain fun.
My point is this: I love being on the stage, performing someone else’s words and pretending to be another character. And, though blogging is more personal and is my own story put to words, it is performing nonetheless. But, there’s no stage involved. No lights, no director, no audience to react. It’s me, just throwing my thoughts out into the great wide interwebs.
Enter Listen To Your Mother.
When I had the opportunity to audition for Listen To Your Mother, I was hesitant. Yes, hesitant. As much as I adore microphones, I didn’t know if I could stand in front of an audience and read my words, tell my story. There would be no cast to hide behind, no musical number to take the tension off, no red wings granted at the end of the second act. It would be me, a spotlight, and my words. But, there *would* be a microphone, soooo…..I auditioned with a piece that was me, stripped down, stark, and real. No humor. No puns. Real, gritty, and true. A stark contrast to my usual schick of humor and laughter.
I laid my word baby on the table in a conference room in front of three women producers and took a leap of faith. As I put my paper down when I’d finished reading and looked across the table to three sets of streaming eyes, I realized my voice was powerful. And I felt strong. I left that audition feeling heard, validated, honored. I knew that, even if I wasn’t cast in the show, three women heard my story and that was enough. I’d given my version of motherhood a tiny, fleeting voice.
But there was more in store for my story. I was cast in Listen To Your Mother Lehigh Valley, which meant me and my words were headed for the stage. With a real audience. And a microphone.
A funny thing happens when you tell your story out loud. When you take your carefully crafted words and hand them over to an audience, you have a moment of connection with complete strangers that is impossible to describe. As the room fell silent as I detailed my journey through the darkness of post partum depression, my voice cracked not because I was ashamed, but because I was being heard. Because I was speaking my truth and it was being accepted by complete strangers. I got to tell them about choosing my voice after drowning out The Voice of PPD.
They listened to a mother. And that mother was me.
And no one had to remind me of my lines…..
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