I remember sitting down on the stage wondering what had just happened. Had I delivered the reading the way I had practiced? They way our director had suggested? Had I used my earned pauses? Had I gone slow enough?
The hard thing about a reading that is not humorous, and that may actually be a bit sad for some, is that you cannot read your audience while you are reading. There are no giggles or bouts of laughter. You cannot see whether people are clutching for tissues. You cannot tell how you did…other than of course your husband and good friends saying “you did great” and a few emails you get afterwards. It is very hard to know how a reading truly went.
Except you know that, one day, you will see it for yourself because videos are being produced. Videos that you will want to share with all those who could not attend in person.
You wait, excitedly. Nervously, almost like when you took the stage that day, until your face appears and you can see yourself performing your reading.
Well…that day has happened. The Listen To Your Mother videos from the May performances were released recently and I watched. My mind started racing.
Why was I looking down so much? I love to speak publicly, and looking down – not ok.
Then came the “what in hell was going on with my hair?” question. Hadn’t I just gotten it done? The color looks good, but mussing it up like I did gave me bald spots.
Then came the realization that even with serious makeup on there are serious bags under my eyes. Like big puffy bags that resemble air bags in a car.
Then my almost-in-tears (and not because of the content of my reading) eyes noticed the dress that I have since returned (thank you Nordstroms for having such a great return policy) because it felt frumpy. Well yes, it was indeed frumpy.
I could keep going but I would imagine that you get my drift. As I watched myself read a piece that I was incredibly proud of, my enough-ness sank into a quicksand-like abyss, taking me with it.
I had to forcibly push myself away from the computer, before I let myself sink deeper and deeper, finding more and more faults.
The truth was that none of these things were important. What I looked like was not important. I was not there to be a super model. Nor was I there to win an award for best dressed reader. Whether I paused in the correct places or went slow enough…also not important. Sure, certain things may make a reading more engaging, but in the end a pause here or there is not going to be noticed by an audience that is enjoying the entire show as a whole.
What was important was that I was there. That WE were there. Telling our stories. Sharing our voices. Just like we share our voices in this space and around the internet. Connecting, relating, bonding over stories that made us laugh and cry and get goosebumps all at the same time.
In the end I did the only thing I knew would make me feel better. I went through the videos of the entire DC cast to relive the stories that were shared. I watched videos from the New York City cast and the Chicago cast and have since been working my way through each city.
Because at the end of the day, the reason that I auditioned — the reason that I wrote an original piece to read, just like the reason that Just.Be.Enough. was created — it all comes down to one single bottom line. Each of us has a voice worth celebrating. Each of us has a story to share. Each of us… is enough.