Listen To Your Mother — Again!

I used to audition a lot. That was back when I was in my early 30’s. I had a little cable TV show and a commercial agent who sent me on a ton of casting calls. I landed a few callbacks and a few international spots, but my acting career never really took off.

Maybe I lacked confidence or maybe I was slightly more quirky than super model-y. It didn’t matter, I told myself. I’m a writer first and I’ve got meaningful work. Besides that, in my mid-30s, I hit my stride when I discovered my life’s purpose: to be a mother to Hayden, Charlotte and Catherine.

badge-2013So last year, when my Aunt Ellen, (the poet Ellen Wade Beals) recommended that I audition for the Listen To Your Mother show, I figured maybe now I’ve got a shot. I’m wiser and more confident. I’ve got a lot of funny essays about parenting. I can do this.

At the audition last year, I read a really good piece of writing — a story about dropping Hayden off at Camp Dudley. My essay was so funny and touching. (See what I mean: I have more confidence.)

When I read the Camp Dudley essay to the several women who were holding the auditions, I detected one (Holly, maybe?) had a tear in her eye.

“I nailed it,” I thought. “I’ve got it! I might still be a successful performer as well as mother, blogger, wife, sister, teacher, worker, etc. Wow! It’s great to be alive!”

But I didn’t get it last year — despite the excrutiating beauty of that little gem of writing. So this year, when I got an email alert about the 2013 auditions for Listen To Your Mother, I brought in a piece of writing, slightly above average, about a tricky little bit of mothering and taking out the garbage with my son.

I was the last to audition. There were dozens of people who’d gone through the audition door ahead of me that Sunday afternoon.

Through the door, I could tell that the guy in the room just before me was really really good. I sat outside, getting nervous. The room was full of laughter as he left.

I recognized the women behind the table from last year, including Holly. But I felt no ill will towards them, just my inevitable lack of success.

I felt insecure. I think I made small talk, something like, “Wow! That guy who was just in here sounded really funny! I don’t know if you remember me. I auditioned last year and I heard the show was really good!”

Me and Kim Forde listening to rehearsal the other night (photo by fellow cast member Elizabeth Robinson).
Me and Kim Forde listening to rehearsal the other night (photo by fellow cast member Elizabeth Robinson).

I read my piece, stumbling in a few places. I did not feel confident as I walked out the door. After all, the year before, when I had felt confident? Nada.

So I was surprised, no, I was ecstatic, when, like a week later, I got a call from Amy that I was invited to be in the cast.

I don’t know if my piece is any good, but the show is really really good. And that guy who went in ahead of me, Jamie Fernandez, he’s in the show too and he is really really funny. The brief stories about mothering and mothers are funny, sad, scary, true, and lovely.

But don’t listen to me. I am not a good judge of my own writing. This Sunday, Mother’s Day, come to Symphony Space. Tell me what you think. We’ll have a drink at the Thalia.

NYC tickets support this cause: Family to Family

And thanks Elizabeth for getting this list of links together!

I Get Social Media

Do you feel like you “get” social media, or do you just use it because that’s where all your friends and family are?

I get social media. But to get it, you have to give it.

I am Facebook, Twitter, Instagram girl, but I put myself out there. I’ve seen studies that show the more engaged a social media user is, the happier she is.

Some people complain about social media, “I don’t want to know what you had for lunch.”

I admit I occasionally report what I’m cooking. When I recently updated my FB status, “Making chili, meat and vegetarian,” several cyber friends in several states were also making chili. Coincidence? I dunno. But it was interesting and fun and I felt less alone in my solo chili-making kitchen.

Sometimes I overshare. That’s me. I overshare IRL too.

As a wife of someone with Parkinson’s Disease, I feel connected to friends and family through social media. Apathy is a side effect of my husband’s disease. On social media, I can’t tell if people are apathetic towards me. I try to notice only the thumbs up, the cheers, the interactions that lead to deeper sharing. I affirm people, just like I like being affirmed.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve connected in person with two different high school friends who were visiting New York. I wouldn’t have stayed in touch with them without Facebook. When we got together, we talked about deep stuff — how we felt different, theater, how we parent, what’s new with our siblings, how we work.

Of course, it’s scary to put yourself out there and swim in the social media community pool. It’s easier and safer, emotionally, to lurk, dangle your feet in the water.

My social media mania has one downside.

I was reminded of this jealousy factor, when I read: More kids than suitcases’ blog post about torturing yourself on spring break. Because yes, just by the look of some other people’s spring break pics, they’re having a lot of fun out there. I saw in friends’ feeds palm trees and London tea (different people obviously.) That made me wish I was somewhere fabulous.

But I was. I was somewhere fab. Making every day fabulous is one of my life goals. (Thanks to my former colleague, Klay Williams!)

Compare and despair. I try to post awesome pictures of me and the kids having a really good time out in the world. (See below!) Because a picture of one of my kids staring at the phone, laptop, or TV is boring. I post about things, people, and events that I want to remember. I don’t want to remember boredom, bickering, apathy, and negativity.

I want to remember doing cartwheels on the beach. I want to remember bike riding. I want to remember making each other smile and laugh.

This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt – Social Network.

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