So…I did it!
A day after I lamented that the audition slots for Listen to Your Mother were full, I got an email from Kate, the show’s producer, saying that someone had had to cancel. “Can you come tomorrow at 4?” Kate asked.
Yes, she was offering me the tryout for the next day. As in, I needed to be ready to read one of my most personal posts, in front of other people, the next day.
I didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely,” I replied.
That lack of hesitation was followed closely by the sense that I might be completely insane. Over the next day and a half, I wondered whether I’d be able to make it through the essay without tripping over my words, getting dry mouth (thanks, radiation-fried salivary glands), shaking, sweating, or dissolving into a heap of tears. After all, I’ve done almost all of those — and more — during other public speeches. And this time I’d be reading not just about some esoteric work topic, but about my life.
I thought that fact might freak me out more — but instead, it calmed me. Part of the problem I’ve had with public speaking has been the need to be an expert — and what am I more expert at than my own life? I could handle this.
Then, sitting outside the audition room, I realized that I’d forgotten to put on extra deodorant. (Perhaps I’d grown over-confident.)
The tryout went well — no sweating, no shaking, no tears. No guarantees, either — I knew I was in awesome company with the several dozen writers trying out, and the director and producer need a mix of story types for each show — but I was proud to have even auditioned. I put myself, and an intensely personal story, out there. I took a full step outside my comfort zone.
But…let’s be honest. You know me. I’m just a bit competitive. I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of the show that I’d already so grown to admire.
And, on Saturday, the email came. I was in! The D.C. Listen to Your Mother show will be 11 other women and me, reading our essays on motherhood. In front of 325 people. And posted on YouTube. Wait — am I crazy?
To be honest, I’m thrilled. For the show, yes. But also to get to meet a great group of women who I know I’ll learn so much from — not the least of which is finding the inspiration to write more, and to take more chances.
So, stay tuned! There’s more to come.