Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Learning to Speak Truth.

On Friday I auditioned (via google hangout, because I couldn't make the in-person auditions on Saturday) for Listen To Your Mother.  It's a series of performances - all around the country - of local writers, mothers, sons and daughters who perform public readings on the topic of Motherhood.

I consider myself an amateur writer.  Public speaking, however, has never been my strong suit.  But after seeing Kate Hood's frequent postings on the show, I decided to check it out many months back.  I watched recordings of previous shows, I read what other people had to say about the experience, and I thought maybe I had something to say.

Years ago I wrote about an experience with Number One Son, and in the interim of the last almost-decade (!) it had come back around to me with even more meaning.  SO I sat down and recounted the original experience, along with how the meaning of it has changed for me over the years as we have struggled to understand him and how to best help him.

Public speaking terrifies me.  That's putting it as mildly as I can; having been raised a Mormon, it was required once every year or two that we stand up in Sacrament meeting on Sunday and give a "talk".  I remember (what little I have not blocked out) my young voice quavering while my legs, behind the podium, shook uncontrollably.

But this - Motherhood - may just be the topic that could overcome my anxiety. Because it is important - because other mothers out there have to be struggling, too, to cope with a child whose future they can't begin to decode.  As I was working on the piece, and reading aloud to myself in the mirror and trying not to notice how tired my eyes look or how many new gray hairs are sprouting in the inch-long roots - (Because who has time to color their hair anymore?  No? Just me and my mouse-gray follicles with the occasional splash of silver?) - as I watched my lips form the words I started to realize that whether or not I ever deliver this message publicly, I needed to hear it myself.

My brain started to absorb what my heart already knew - and this piece was written, absolutely, by my heart.  Whenever my head started to get involved in the writing process, I started to panic.  Was it too personal? Was it fair to talk about my child to strangers this way? Who was I to think I had anything meaningful to say on the topic, anyway?  Somewhere along the way, I had learned to believe it was not okay to share my truth - to "air my dirty laundry".  That was the voice in my head telling me this was too personal to share, that I should lock it away in a drawer and forget the whole thing.

I ignored my brain and wrote from the heart... and as I stood alone on the cold tile of the bathroom floor and heard the tentative sound of my own voice, my brain started to catch up, and the anxiety melted away. This is my story - a small piece of what Motherhood means for me.

I don't know if I will be selected to share my words with other people. I'm not sure I know how I will feel if it is.  Whatever the outcome, though, I am learning to speak my truth - even if it just means speaking it to myself in the quiet of the master bathroom.

1 comment:

Allie said...

Will you share this with me? I would love to read what you've written, since I can't be there to hear it!