A few weeks ago I found myself on stage sharing a story about my mother’s death. I had been wanting to conjure the courage to do so because sharing stories is so important to me and my soul. I wish more people would share theirs. I want to really know and connect with the humans around me.
I feel as if often we really don’t even know one another. Not really. It’s only with feeling safe and opening up about one’s life that we can truly connect. Think about how many people you actually know in your workplace or your place of worship. Do they know your origin story? About your family or home life? Your challenges? Your hopes and dreams? I know for me most of the people I work with do not.
My favorite part of connecting with coworkers is sharing those more personal parts of ourselves. I feel like that’s when we actually transition from coworker to friend. And I’m grateful that over the last 11 years working for the same employer that I have several people in my life who have gone from one role to that next more connected role.
Today marks six years since my mother passed away. It was a traumatic moment in my life but one that I do not regret. Because my mother has been on my mind, I took a leap of courage and threw my name into a can at a local Salt Lake City storytelling event (The Bee, sort of like the Moth). The rules were that the story had to be true, had to be no longer than five minutes (but many go over), you couldn’t have notes, and it had to be on theme.
The theme that night was Adulting. Ten people were randomly selected throughout the night with only a five minutes heads up before they went to the stage. Oh, and it was lovingly competitive so there were three sets of judges to score the performance. Yeah, I know. No BFD or anything. Why the fuck would someone want to do this again?!
Whelp, this shy introvert with a burning raw story to tell entered his name that particular night. And for first-timers they put your name in twice. It was like Russian roulette but with two bullets in the gun.
I, of course, drank three adult beverages and probably would have had even more but my lovely saved me from my anxious self.
After I put my name in the can, which they call a hat, I was sweating profusely. Thank the universe my lovely was by my side to comfort me. She was proud of me and I was proud of myself.
I was the fourth name called up. And to my surprise I actually went up to the stage. I’m sure the adult beverages helped. ;P
But I think the internal need to share this story did as well. This need defied my personality and my usual clinginess to my comfort zone. It propelled me to let go of fear.
I got on that stage. I shared my story. I did it. And surprisingly it was fucking awesome! People laughed. Some even cried. After I told my story, audience members came up to me and thanked me for sharing it. Some even hugged me. It was surreal.