Listen To Your Mother Rehearsal: The Emotional Undressing

Dani StoneBy Dani Stone
KWB Blogger of the Month for April

 

Yesterday I drove three hours to sit in a circle with 14 women, most of whom I’d never met in person, where I poured out my soul, listened to them pour out theirs, then ate macaroni and cheese and drove three hours back home, where I laid my weary head down to sleep but couldn’t shut off my brain.

No, this was not a long-distance AA meeting or a group viewing of Steel Magnolias. It was the first rehearsal with my cast mates for the Listen To Your Mother show.

Listen To Your MotherNot familiar with Listen To Your Mother? Go here to read about its awesomeness. Then come back. I’ll wait. *whistle* *flicks cat hair off pants* *flips through TV channels* Did I miss the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion show? Dang it.

Oh good, you’re back.

Ever since I found out I was cast in the show, I’ve been friending and following my fellow cast mates on social media. Stalking is a strong word, but, yes, I’ve done a bit of that. Before we met in person I wanted to get to know them, get in their heads, figure them out, see where they were coming from.

Digitally, they are an impressive bunch with multiple college degrees, envious occupations, intimidating credentials and impeccable writing skills. I wondered how my personal bio measured up and how my story would be received. I knew the story I planned on reading was important, but was it relevant? Would it fit in?

I made it to our gathering place an hour early, which calmed my nervous butterflies a tad considering I have no directional fortitude and the last time I was in KC my GPS tried to send me up the off ramp of a highway. My GPS is constantly playing fun little tricks on me. The manual says the English voice is named Jill, but I lovingly call her “Electronic Whore.”

We met at the home of one of our LTYM producers, Erin Margolin. I walked up her front stoop till I reached a set of large double doors. I felt like Dorothy in the Emerald City. If the door had been answered by an angry, mustachioed little person in a green coat and top hat, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

As the other cast members arrived, I tried to make the connection between their real life forms and online avatars. I hugged them all because I have no respect for personal space. If you meet me, get ready, I’m comin’ in. We made nervous small talk and then it was time for read-throughs.

Ready or not, everyone come up to the podium and strip down to your undies. Aaaaand GO. No, we didn’t really do that. It wasn’t that kinda party. I’m saying that’s what it felt like. For weeks I had seen these women online in their best “outfits” and now it was time to find out what they had going on underneath. It was time for them to see me, too.

Listen to Your Mother rehearsal

Photo by Laura Seymour, Director of LTYMKC

From the first sentence of the first reading, I was captivated, and by the last word of the last reading, I was speechless, undone, spent. I wish I could share even a tiny nugget with you about the stories I heard, but that would be unfair to the process. We trust each other with our stories first, then we walk into the white-hot spotlight and share them with the world.

On the drive back home I switched off the radio and thought about the events of the evening. Before I laughed and cried, watched Rita expertly spray champagne in to the air, learned Michelle is the most emotional of the bunch, knew Jen was so animated, discovered Molly had never eaten fried pickles, heard Ashley’s adorable nervous laugh, felt the emotion of Erin, learned Laura has a wicked sense of humor, experienced a kinship with fellow hugger Sarah, giggled at Leslie’s spot-on comic timing, realized Julie had such a sexy voice, admired Greta’s beautiful red lips and a woman named Lisa became my new ginger bestie, I only thought I knew these women.

For all the impressive details I gleaned about them online, nothing was as endearing as their bravery in person that Sunday afternoon. Their stories are powerful, engaging, hilarious, heartbreaking and hopeful. As fellow cast mate Ashley Austrew explained on her blog today, “This is the essence of Listen To Your Mother.”

This year LTYM will be in 24 cities. I encourage you to attend. In each city, a portion of the proceeds will benefit a local charity.

Thank you to Kansas Women Bloggers for letting me hang out this month as their featured blogger. I’d love for you to follow me at my personal blog, danistone.net, and other site where sarcasm is celebrated, Chick Wit.

 

LYTM Kansas City

Listen To Your Mother Kansas City takes place Saturday, May 11, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza. Click here to learn more.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Listen To Your Mother Rehearsal: The Emotional Undressing

  1. erin margolin says:

    Dani,

    Emotional undressing indeed! that’s exactly what we’re doing, and by gosh, I’m in love with your expression!

    SO lucky to have you in our show and thank you again for driving in to hang out with us.

    “Mama Knows” is going to be a hit. I feel it in my bones. Lovely post, beautiful sentiments, and so happy our paths have crossed thanks to LTYM! cannot wait to see you again SOON!

  2. michelle burdick says:

    Aaaannndd…I’m crying again. Dani, I felt so privileged to read in front of you and hear you read. Then to get to sit with you at dinner!!! This was perfect. I wish I had half yo skillz.

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