The DC Listen to Your Mother Show was three days ago. Since then I have been bombarded with questions.
How was the show? Were you nervous? What was it like? Will there be another show?
The truth is that I am not sure I can put my experience stepping onto the Listen to Your Mother stage into words. Or I could, but then I would sound like a bumbling fool that should definitely never be allowed to be on a live stage in front of an audience.
I can only give you tidbits. Morsels. Emotions. Because in many respects, I am not sure that it has fully sunk in that I DID this. I got up on this stage….
to all these people…
But I did.
One of the most interesting parts of being on stage was watching the audience. Granted, I could not see much of the audience past the first few rows because of the stage lighting. But I saw it when two women in the first row grabbed their purses to search for tissues during the FIRST reading. And I felt it when the entire theater erupted in belly laughter during another reading.
My reading was not funny. It was serious. It was emotional. I might have had a funny line here or there hidden between the cancer this or cancer that, and although I cannot remember for sure the audience may even have giggled at that one appropriate time. I did feel the audience though, from behind the podium. When I started to describe starting to dream again. Maybe just maybe. I felt as if the audience was pulling for me. Either that or they were hoping to god that I was not about to say that something that pushed them to more tears.
As much as I had practiced, pausing here or there, visualizing that I was talking to Principessa, since mine was a letter to her…I cannot exactly tell you how I did. I have no idea if my pauses were placed accordingly or if the “you were a survivor” delivered as much oomph as it was supposed to. Eventually I will find out, when the videos of the show are released over the summer. (yes, yes, I will share). For now though, none of that really matters.
Because the way that I felt…that we felt…when we took our bow at the end of the show. Was AMAZING.
It was like taking a bottle cap off a shaken soda bottle, with the bubbles rushing to the top.
One that makes you wondering, wanting more, ready to conquer the world.
The truth is that I am not afraid of public speaking. I am a teacher after all. Back to school nights and talks to groups of parents, staff, or colleagues are something that I enjoy. It is not that I like hearing myself talk…but I have always felt alive when speaking to groups. There is just something about that connection. That interaction.
The emotion that we felt on stage during our rehearsal in March, as we sat back stage and applied our make up, and as we took that bow was palpable. The more and more I thought about it I realized that for me…that emotion was actually pride. Pride that I put myself out there. Pride that one day Principessa will watch the video and know how I felt. Pride that I pushed past whatever insecurities I have about my body. Just pride.
And pride? It feels good.
If you are wondering what it is that I read that day on stage…I shared why it is that I can without hesitation, say that I am thankful for Cancer.