Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Omgosh omgosh omgosh!!!

When you are an avid, AVID fan of something, and then you get to be a part of that something, that's just about the best moment in the world.

I've been in love with the Moth Storytelling Series since I heard about it during my younger days in New York City. I love telling stories, I love hearing stories, I love stories. I'd battle the crowds at Southpaw in Brooklyn or Housing Works in Manhattan to throw my name in the hat, hope, pray, calm my racing heart, and either tell a story or not. I'm not much of a gambler (having an illegal bookie for a dad will knock that urge right out of you), but this is one chance I loved to take again and again and again.

And for all the many times I didn't get to tell a story that I'd spent a week slaving over, I still had the time of my life, hearing about the varied human experiences of my would-be competitors. Funny, heart-breaking, unexpected, boring, bizarre, melancholy, self-absorbed, self-deprecating stories that make you feel connected to strangers in fairly intimate ways.

When I heard the Moth was coming to Louisville, it felt like kismet. Moving here was not an easy decision. New York City has so much to offer, there really is no competition for it, and although I put on a brave and convincing face for Dave, I often found myself wondering of we made the right move. As ridiculous as I think it is to expect God to intervene in things like passed footballs, A's on exams, or favorite storytelling series coming to your city of residence, this simply felt like A SIGN that we were in the right place.

I performed at the first slam in Louisville, telling about a horrific French boss I had during my freshman year in the Big Apple, and felt simply thrilled. I didn't win, I didn't care, I was happy the Moth was here.

Then I came back. Month after month after month. Name dropped in each time. And my name kept not being called. I'll admit it, I got frustrated.

And that night in December, nine names had been called, none of them mine. And damn it! I had a good story - a story I was proud of! I whispered to Dave, "The minute the last storyteller is done I want to get out of here and beat the traffic." It's kind of a faux pas to leave before the winner is announced, and you're supposed to go up and say the first line of your story if your name isn't chosen, sort of like a teaser - this is what you WOULD have heard, had my name been called! I just couldn't face that; I was almost in tears.

Then they called my name - LAST - and I told my story. It was the most relaxed I'd ever been, because I was certain I wasn't going to get to go. As I told the story, I heard it, too, and some long-bottled emotions from my childhood resurfaced. I don't let myself think about those days too much, in fact a lot of my childhood is simply gone - forgotten - but in front of those hundreds of people I let myself feel the utter shock and sadness of an eight-year-old who realizes how scary and unpredictable the world can be. I let myself go somewhere I don't go, even when I'm alone.

And when I won, it was the cherry on the cake. And I let myself feel that too - that happiness - and it washed over me and invigorated me. I've learned in my 36 years on this planet to revel in these moments, these moments that are few and far between, and let them fill you up and prepare you for those times that drain you.

So, without further ado, if you want to hear something I'm pretty darn proud of, just click here.

Oh, and P.S., I just saw there's a picture of me on the main page (the first link on the blog). Keeping with that spirit of focusing on the positive, I will revel in how cool it is that my picture is on the Moth page and not the fact that I have a frigging double chin in the picture!


Joanna said...

I just heard the podcast with your story about 30 minutes ago. And, then I saw the link to this blog post a couple of minutes ago on the Moth's twitter stream. I loved your story...found it very touching. Reading your background with the Moth made it all the better. Very happy for you. Congratulations!

Randi Skaggs said...

Thank you, Joanna!

William Foss said...

I'm way behind on my Moth podcasts, I just got around to listening. I really enjoyed your story!

Alison McGaughey said...

I looked you up online after hearing you on The Moth podcast. Great story! Congrats.