It’s been over a week since I and 14 other women commanded the microphone, bringing to the stage our intensely personal and emotional stories of motherhood. For days after the Listen To Your Mother show, my emotions were nothing but raw. Tears would form at the slightest mention or thought of the experiences of that Sunday afternoon. It has taken me this long just to be able to try to articulate all those experiences. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a tear or three while sharing this with you.
I sit here after a day trip to experience Madison's 5th anniversary Listen To Your Mother show and I am brought right back to the evening after my show. When I first started this series, Road to Listen To Your Mother, I kind of thought this post show wrap would be my last post on the subject. Little did I know the profound affect being involved with LTYM would have on me. Not only has the whole experience given me a renewed boost in confidence in my writing – which I desperately needed – but these experiences have given me a renewed and strengthened confidence in myself.
Like many women and a few men across this country, I took a huge risk being so open in what I shared. I took a risk to be open about being a transgender mom and one of the struggles I face with that. The love and support I have received from my Chicago cast mates is the pure definition of unconditional.
The love that many in the audience showed to me afterwards is beyond what my words can describe. One woman came to me and shared her own very personal story. She told me that after hearing me share what I was going through, she has changed the way she felt about events going on in her family. This all has left me speechless.
In a time when the voice of the transgender community is being mocked, I consider it a true honor to be the first open transgender woman to be a cast member for the Chicago Listen To Your Mother show, let alone possibly the first nation wide. It shows the commitment Listen To Your Mother has to the diversity of motherhood, to the diversity of those men and women who have lived the stories, and to the universal emotions found in each story.
Oral storytelling has been a necessary tradition in every culture that has existed on this planet. Long before hieroglyphics, cuneiform, and eventually the written word, people have passed down their history from generation to generation.
As Melisa Wells, LTYM new city mentor and Co-producer of the Chicago show, said, “Listen To Your Mother does it old school.” LTYM brings back that tradition of orally sharing the stories that shape our lives. LTYM brings back that tradition that some say has been lost in our culture in this fast paced technological and information age. This year, nearly 500 stories have been shared and documented for generations to come.
Beyond all this, for me and many others, being part of the LTYM family is just that – being part of a family. LTYM has opened avenues to discover new friends, people well outside of my circles, people I would never have had the opportunity to met, let alone develop friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Between the few hours of rehearsal, sitting eating dinner with each other, and the hours chatting back and forth online, in just a few short months, I have come to know and love these women as deeply as many of the people I grew up with.
And that family does not just include the 14 women I shared the stage with. The LTYM family extends to the alumni and other cast members beyond the Chicagoland borders. Through LTYM, I have come to know a few of these women from all over the country. From the Chicago cast to cast members across the country, we have found common threads that tie us together.
I owe Ann Imig, LTYM founder, a debt of gratitude. Thank you so much for your foresight and desire to give women a chance to share a part of ourselves. By sharing our hearts, by shining the spot light on each story, by bringing motherhood to the microphone, Listen To Your Mother brings people together.
If you want to find out more about Listen to Your Mother, check out the website Listentoyourmother.com and if you have a story about motherhood, then be ready next year to submit your story and possibly you can join the cast of your local LTYM show.
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