Thursday, March 31, 2016

Listen To Your Mother- My Preparation

I love stories. I love writing stories. I love telling stories. I love listening to stories.

I passionately believe in the power of stories to connect people and heal people and spread compassion and understanding and love.


That's why I am so excited/proud/privileged/honored to be a part of Listen To Your Mother and bringing it to Detroit.


Listen To Your Mother is a live stage show that happens once a year. (It's a national show that  will take place live in 41 cities this year.) It's where men and women read their stories about motherhood. Stories of wonderful mothers, complicated mothers, being a mother, wanting to be a mother, stepmothers, losing mothers, finding mothers and so many mother stories.

It's so simple, but so powerful. 


It's kind of ironic that I would coproduce a show dedicated to mothers. I've spent most of my life running from/dealing with/coping/trying to understand/forgiving/setting boundaries with/taking care of/running from my own mother. 

My mother was an amazing, energetic, quirky, crafty, artistic, loving woman in the beginning. But then life and genes and bad luck and bad doctors and a bad divorce and bad decisions changed her. Mental issues, alcohol and a nasty addiction to opiates didn't help either. 


When I was a kid all I wanted was to get my mom back. I wanted her to be happy again. I wanted her to love me. When I was a teenager I wanted the same things, but I also wanted to be free. And then I was sort of. She moved away when I was 17 and my life did get a little better. I grew up a lot and found my voice. Except I still wanted her to love me and I worried about her. In my early 20s I fell in love and got married. 


When I became a mother myself, I longed for a mother of my own, but I was also pissed. Looking at my own little babies all sweet and innocent, I got angrier than I'd been in years wondering how in the hell she could have done all the things she did to us. 


Becoming a mother made me worry more. I still worried about her but I also worried that I would become her. However, as my children get older my compassion for my mother grows (daily). With so much stacked against her, it breaks my heart. (Not enough to visit her more or call her on a regular basis, but enough to definetly make me sad and feel weirdly guilty for previous resentment and anger.)


Over the years I've sought out mothering from my friends' mothers, step-mothers, ex-step-mothers, a mother-in-law, older sister/mother figures, aunts, mentors, sweet older ladies at church and volunteers at the League of Women Voters.


I still worry I will become my mother. I've got demons, for sure.  But since I got involved with Listen To Your Mother and told my story and heard stories about so many different mother experiences, I feel stronger and free-er. I feel connected and understood--by castmembers who feel like family, and even audience members that have reached out and shared their story. I am inspired by the strength of the men and women I've met. 


Looking back maybe it's not so ironic that I coproduce a storytelling show about motherhood. Maybe it makes perfect sense. Maybe trying to understand my own mother and my own mothering and seeking out all the mothers has prepared me well. Maybe it has gutted me enough, made me vulnerable enough, made me wonder enough and be open to knowing that there are so many kinds of motherhood and personhood and definitions of it all....maybe all of that made coproducing Listen To Your Mother just make sense.


Maybe I've been preparing for this my whole life....here's me performing on stage in a my elementary school talent show in 1982 and me performing on stage at my first Listen To Your Mother show in 2014.

For more information on this year's Listen To Your Mother show in Detroit click here.

The show is on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m., at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit. Click here to buy tickets. It's going to be a great show!

Here are a few videos from previous LTYM shows in Detroit:



(Click here to watch the video)



(Click here to watch the video.)



(Click here to watch the video.)

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