Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Chose Arsenio Hall- My LTYM Experience

When I pictured myself on stage for the Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) show, I tried to picture me being really calm, cool and collected.  That image didn't really seem attainable.  So I thought, man, I just don't want to freeze with fear or fall on my face.  I'm happy to say that at least one of those things didn't happen this past Sunday.

I woke up last Sunday full of nerves and excitement.  It was LTYM day in Detroit!  The day I'd been working on with my co-producers (Angela and Jessica) since last August.  The day that I'd been trying to picture.  The day that so many women were going to get on stage and bare their soul, face their fears and tell their story.  The day that over 300 people had paid money to be a part of.  I was sort of freaking out.
It was a beautiful day full of sunshine and possibility.  

We rolled up to the venue (an historic theater where Eminem got his start and bands like Nirvana played and now bands play there that I've never heard of) all coffee-d up and ready to get all the last minute details figured out before the cast arrived.  I was still freaking out.

"You good parker," said the grumpy foreign guy that was taking our $15 dollars while yelling at us about where to park our minivans.  It meant a lot to me, all praise does.

Feeling confident, at least about my parking ability, I busted through the front doors ready to produce a show.  I started talking and asking and telling and bugging..."Yeah, I just woke up," the young guy in charge told me.  I was freaking him out.  He suggested I go up to the dressing room and relax, well he actually said to "stay out of the way."  

Our dressing room was majestic--large windows, chandeliers, the highest ceilings ever.  It was also a room that serves as the party room for bands that play the venue.  There was graffiti all over the bathroom walls and random couches with cigarette burns.  It was the perfect room for a bunch of storytellers, because, dude, if those walls (or couches) could talk, oh the stories they would tell.

The cast started arriving and the energy changed from stressed freaking out to total excited freaking out.  

We literally squealed with excitement when we looked out the windows and saw a line forming to get in the front door. 

 And semi-screamed when we saw the news truck show up.

We toasted each other and talked to each other.  We straightened necklines and helped each other decide which shoes to wear.  We talked about our mothers and our families.  We laughed.  We shared.  We freaked out together.  We laughed more.  We posed for pictures.  We charged our phones. We got ready to take the stage and share our stories.

"It's time!," someone said.  It was time to head downstairs and do the show.  We all looked at each other and smiled, some of us laughed nervously.  Some of us might have done an old-school Arsenio Hall fist pump with a whooping noise (me, okay, I was the only one that did that).

As we walked down the stairs, I felt really aware and in the moment.  This was really happening, the past eight months flashed by in my mind--meeting my co-producers for the first time, we couldn't stop talking which led to them becoming two of the closest people in my world; having terrible personal lows and sadness, my two miscarriages; broadening my horizons and challenging myself; meeting so many interesting, creative, brave women; working with very cool people that fully supported our ideas/visions/dreams for the show; discovering a deeper love and appreciation for the beautiful city of Detroit; understanding the art of storytelling; valuing differences; embracing change; moving on and learning to go for it.  I was feeling fierce and brave and all sorts of bad ass. And then I missed two steps and fell flat on my face.  Yup.  I landed right in front of the doors to the show.  Luckily the playlist I made for the show was blasting Nicki Minaj pretty loudly so no one seemed to hear the thud. I stood up laughing and probably did the Arsenio Hall fist pump because I was embarrassed and I do dumb shit when I am embarrassed or freaked out or insecure or, well, a lot.  I do dumb shit a lot.

But here's the thing, that old saying about it's not about the fall it's about the getting up again....yeah that, it's true.  If the past eight months, has taught me anything, it is that it's (it's being producing a show, getting on stage or life in general), it's not going to go perfectly, you are going to fall and maybe literally skin your knee before you go on stage. You have to decide are you going to let it stop you?  Are you going to crumble in a ball and let life kick the shit out of you? Or, are you going to jump up, do an Arsenio Hall fist pump, laugh at yourself and then wear the skinned knee like a badge of honor?  I chose Arsenio Hall.  I chose to get up.  I chose to hobble* up on the stage and tell my story.
*hobble is an exaggeration used for dramatic storytelling effect*

The show went on.

And it was amazing.  The audience was involved and electric.  The readers were all on fire.  Not one of the cast lost their place in their stories, got winded or froze with fear.  They were all stars.

This is my I'm about to go on stage selfie.

I was a little terrified right before I went on stage.  But the moment I got out there and I heard them laughing at my story, it was just like they were saying "you good parker."  It felt good, it meant a lot to me.  I'm glad I got up and did it.

I'm glad for the whole experience of LTYM--the opportunity to fall and get up and tell my story (and use it as a metaphor for life).  And the for the chance to pretend to be a rock star back in the dressing room.

These last two ahhhhhhmazing pictures are from the fabulous, creative genius Jarrad Henderson who was our photographer for the LTYM event.  And now our friend for life.  Check him out at jarradhenderson.com.

My new/old theme song that I want you to listen to and have in your head alllllllll day long:

In case you forgot what the Arsenio Hall  fist pump looked like, here you go:


  1. Love, love, love, love, love!!!! For real. All the love.

  2. And here is a super important part of the story that you may not realize. Many, Many of Us never even knew you fell. We just felt your energy and loved your story.

  3. What a truly amazing experience, and you captured it perfectly.

  4. And I'm laughing through tears. I love you and that this experience brought us together. You have taught me so much about getting up and laughing and being okay with all kinds of things while searching for a little zen. And he told you you were a good parker? He made me re-park ten times!
    I. LOVE. YOU. Can't imagine what I did before you fell into my life.

  5. I love you, so much!!!
    Also, like Jessica, I had to repark more than once. Apparently, you are not only made for the stage, you are the best parker amongst us. Go YOU!!

  6. That picture of you BEING A ROCK STAR is one of my favorites.

    and your experience was electric..thank you for sharing all those feelings, emotions and people with us.

  7. You. Are. Hilarious!!!!! I'm so glad you're okay!!! Woo woo woo! Great resilience! Have I told you 100x yet that you all did a fantastic, kickass production. Of course we'd not skip a beat, your calm kept US all calm. You three are harmonious.