Another Audition?

First off, thank you all for cheering on my daughter as we waited for the outcome of her audition to the fine arts program. When she got the acceptance email and letter, she was cool as a cucumber about it, but also very, very excited. We’s so proud of her hard work and everything she’s accomplished to get here. We’re also baffled that our youngest is going into high school, because Tim and I still think we’re in our 20’s, so everything is a weird time warp at this point. 

This weekend, the auditions keep coming, only this time it’s yours truly.

First, the back story: Two years ago, I made a last-minute decision to go to NYC to attend a conference called BlogHer. The experience was life-changing. I met so many empowering women, and began having deep conversations about a number of issues that I’d cared about in the past, but learned I needed to care harder.

One of the after-hours events was an open mic for a show called “Listen to Your Mother.” The format was simple: select a piece to read and put your name in a fishbowl. I went alone, happy hour glass of wine in hand, and gathered up the nerve to sign up.

As luck would have it, mine was one of the first names called. I took off my shoes because I was so nervous, I didn’t have the balance to toddle up to the stage in heels. When I approached the podium, I realized I had gum in my mouth, and told the crowd, “My mom’s a piano teacher and I can hear her telling me not to have gum in my mouth when I’m on stage,” so I pulled the gum out of my mouth and held it in one hand as I read from my phone in the other. Classy stuff.

Despite my fear of public speaking, when the crowd laughed in just the right places, it was a huge rush. For the first time, I felt what comedians must feel when they have a good night. The laughter embraces you like a giant happy hug, and it leaves you wanting more.

 
The next year, I yanked my gal pal Amy Stine out of her comfort zone and brought her with me to the BlogHer conference in LA. I knew I wanted her to read her piece, so we went to the open mic and I forced her into signing up, and we were both selected to read. Amy was fantastic, and make the crowd howl with laughter. I felt like a proud mama watching my friend on stage, and I loved seeing her feel the same feeling of validation when the crowd laughed. She was a hit!

If you’re not already reading Amy’s blog, Tales From the Circus, you’re missing out. Sign up and get ready for load of laughs!

When we returned to Austin, Amy researched more about Listen to Your Mother’s actual show that takes place in different cities around the US, and she encouraged me to apply for an audition for the Austin show. The great thing about our friendship is we established early on that we’re not competing with each other. There are never too many voices to add to the mix.

The first part of the audition process is to submit a written piece that is no longer than five minutes when read out loud. That’s a tough one, given that it takes me five full minutes just to set a basic scene. Amy and I both entered submissions, and decided whether or not we got a chance to audition, we were both excited just to be part of the process.

In a very cool twist of fate, we both were invited to audition. We laughed at what Amy labeled “the pre-rejection email” about the selection process, a note to remind everyone who auditions that if you aren’t selected, not to take it personally, that they are picking stories that weave together like a quilt. Of course we would love it if we were both part of the quilt, but we’re both just happy to be part of something so cool.

Yesterday, Amy went to her audition and while she was there, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear how it went. I know she did a great job, and I love the idea that more people are getting exposed to her hilarious and great writing. (I’ll let her tell you the story of how she managed to land a plate of bacon before going on stage, because that is so very Amy.)

Today, I’ll head over for my audition. I’m excited about the opportunity to stare my fear of public speaking in the face once again, and will always think about my former CEO who, when I told about my speaking fear, smiled and asked me, “Have you puked yet?” I haven’t puked yet, so maybe the fear isn’t as bad as I originally thought.

I write this post with a wish that YOU think about what makes you so excited you could vomit, and ask that you challenge yourself to do that thing. Unless that thing is trying meth or cozying up to El Chapo, then please reconsider your life choices. The good stuff in life is when we are doing things that make us feel a rush of excitement, and when we channel that rush into something positive.

Carpe Diem!

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