So, Listen To Your Mother-Wilmington was a huge success. Sold out crowd. Dr. Jill Biden in the audience (I know!). Every cast member delivering their words with heart and confidence.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like myself.
I was able to tell my truth and express my fears about motherhood and my body without shame or guilt. Menstruation, feminism, breast feeding. I bared it all. It means the world to me that LTYM Director Shoshana Martyniak, Producer Jessica Kupferman, and Associate Producer Jenn Steinberg saw the value in my experience and my words. I am so incredibly inspired by these brilliant women!
I felt supported by the brilliant cast and every single member of the audience. I didn’t know Dr. Biden was in the audience until after I performed, which was probably a good thing because I would have been terrified had I been aware.
Delaware is like a small town: somehow, everyone is connected, and this includes the Bidens. Jill Biden is a friend and former colleague of some cast members (which I also didn’t know until after I performed), and it is lovely and inspiring to see women that continue to support and celebrate each other. Another person I know told me yesterday that Dr. Biden was her teacher and helped her immensely on her path to a successful career. In a time where it seems almost fashionable for women to tear each other down and separate themselves according to class, race and appearance, I am blessed to not just witness solidarity but be a part of it.
Ethnicity, religious affiliations (or lack thereof), marital status, sexual orientation: none of that mattered. We bonded over our honesty and our experiences, the threads that ran throughout all of our stories, the rawness of our emotions. Backstage, there was talk of mikvah (Jewish ritual bath), politics, science, family life.
I miss New York every single day, but I am so glad Lover Man and I moved to Delaware. My moments of longing and isolation forced me to face so many fears and take risks I never would have taken in New York. I needed to feel that need, that desperation where the only way to survive was to “write like a motherfucker”, to extend myself and become open to new experiences. I’m still learning, and there are times I want to hide away. I am so often overwhelmed by life; there are so many decisions for me to make every single day, so much noise and chaos. Just writing this is hard, but I am finding my strength every day. Thanks to LTYM, I’m taking an amazing writing workshop, Writing the Body, led by fellow cast member Cathleen Delia Mulrooney, and I am learning how to open up and find the power in my life, even the most traumatic parts, the parts that nearly became my undoing.
I am tired of hiding.
Back in March, when I was bonding with my word warriors and being inspired at AWP, Cheryl Strayed wrote me a note as we chatted briefly in the hallway. (Still pinching myself.) I read it every single day. On May 12, 2013, on that stage, I truly began living it.
P.S. All photography from the show is by Donna Harlev.