If you’ve been hanging around my Facebook page for the past month or so you’ve seen a lot of status updates and pictures referencing me being cast in Listen to Your Mother Austin.
I hope I’m not humble bragging. Am I? Humble braggers make me wanna throw up in my mouth a little. Okay, a lot.
I talk about the show a lot because I’m excited. And terrified. The show is in two days and I alternate between thinking about it constantly and trying to pretend it’s not really happening.
I have irrational fears about tripping as I walk onstage and someone else’s essay being in the show book on the podium (and for those who have asked, no, we don’t have to memorize our essays…because I would be screwed.)
Okay, maybe the tripping part isn’t irrational because I’m chronically clumsy and will be wearing new shoes. They are really cute shoes, though.
I wrote about the day I auditioned HERE. Since that day, things have moved fast yet not fast. That’s hard to explain. I’ve gotten to hang out with the Austin cast a few times and we’ve all become friends. Friends with some serious shoe worship issues, which is a big part of why I think they’re so cool. I like shoes…you’re picking up on that, right?
Our cast started off as strangers at a table read at a book store a few weeks ago. Actually, there was no table, just a circle of chairs but we still called it a table read. I hadn’t been in a book store in forever because Kindle. Bookstores have their own special smell, ya know? We gathered in a meeting room off the main floor with all the delicious smelling books. Here is what I saw as I headed upstairs: It struck me that today, I was the author. I walked up the stairs, my flip flops making that annoying slapping sound, a little bit nervous…okay a lot nervous. I was one of the last to arrive. I’d met the producers but the rest of the faces were new. Some of us had connected on Facebook but there was still that awkward feeling as I walked in and took my seat. Or maybe that was just me. I found this on my seat: I read these words and felt a little stronger and surer of myself. Then we read. We listened. We learned each other’s stories. There was Kleenex. There were cookies. I was thankful for both.
I don’t usually lack confidence in my writing or speaking but I came away wondering if the producers had made a mistake in choosing me.
What was I doing here with them? The talented people. Did I get the email by mistake?
I don’t say that in an “I just implied I suck now shower me with praise” kind of way. I don’t show my underbelly very often but the magnitude of the essays and the beauty of the writing jolted me all the way into the land of “I’m not good enough.”
My Listen to Your Mother story is pretty raw and personal and out of my comfort zone. I find it pretty easy to write funny stories of motherhood and everyday life. Sometimes I can even write things that make you think about important stuff without my head exploding. This story is different. It’s my story and I am ready to let the world hear it but I’m not super confident. And the closer we get to show day, the less confident I am.
I take comfort in the fact that these feelings are normal, and if not normal, at least I know I’m not alone. But I’ve learned a few things through this process. There is wisdom in learning through our friends’ motherhood experiences. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from listening to this amazing group of mothers:
- Sometimes our differences are perplexing…but there is beauty in our differences if we will only see;
- There’s another side to every story – literally;
- There are good reasons not to be in an exclusive club that you don’t learn about until you’re in it;
- Strength and wisdom come from unexpected places and people;
- There are no guarantees in parenting and the future isn’t always how we plan it to be;
- Sometimes we know when we’re done having kids and sometimes we don’t…both are bittersweet;
- Remembering every moment is important because no moment is guaranteed;
- People who are important to you have special ways of coming back to you…sometimes you just have to look really hard;
- Families come in all shapes and sizes and no one gets to define family for your family;
- Sometimes hate is easier than love but sometimes love sneaks up on you;
- Crying doesn’t make you weak but owning your emotions can make you strong;
- Reaching for the stars sometimes means reinventing the definition of star…and reaching;
- There is power in the bonds between mothers. I think I always knew that but this show and this experience has hammered that home.
It’s been a long time since I produced a piece of writing that was wasn’t tweaked and edited with precision…so if this is rambly or you find comma that looks like she doesn’t belong, come back another time and I’ll try to be entertaining…or at least I’ll try to make sense.
Writing this out has helped to soothe my jangled show nerves and to put the fears of drooling on stage and other stuff like that to rest…for now. And, it’s a nice tribute to my fellow Austin cast members and other Listen to Your Mother Alumni in ways maybe only they will understand.
For anyone who is reading and wondering “what the hell is she rambling about” check out a Listen to Your Mother show…on You Tube. From a live audience in one of 39 cities. Or maybe, from the podium next year.
I have faith that I will pull it together at the last minute. Because the alternative is to have unproductive thoughts about falling ass over tea kettle in my new dress and showing everyone my Spanx. Because I know I can do this. Because I know that my producers are smart and my shoes are cute. Really cute. I am not on that stage by accident. It will be okay.
Oh, and listen to your mother. If you haven’t figured it out yet, she’s always right. About everything. Except maybe shoes…then trust your instinct.
If you’d like to read more, please check out the perspectives of some of the talented women who I will share the stage with. Seriously…check them out. Our conversations can jump from shoes to boob flasks to making out with 80’s rock musicians all in the space of ten minutes…and that was just today.
If you’ve enjoyed the pictures in this post (except for the ones that obviously came from my Instagram) check out more of Casey Chapman Ross.