I was sick to my stomach when I walked into “Tell It!”, the First Person Arts class that I enrolled myself into 3 weeks after moving to Philadelphia. The object of the class was to help frame live storytelling with word choice, dramatic arc, and to leave your listener reassessing some aspect of life they thought they believed.
Annnnnnnnnnnddddddd… you ‘ve got 5 minutes to accomplish it.
The women in my class were so incredibly lovely. Anna processed how much to divulge to an audience when you have a corporate day job and anything can end up on the internet. (Can I get a high five for people who don’t Google themselves or live by their Klout score?!) Anna told us a sweet story of adopting her daughter from Mexico and her love melted our brains when she sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in Spanish. Nina had magical stories from her nursing career and her avocation as world-class umpire. Adrianna wove stories of growing up in Mexico into her current Philadelphian life with the artfulness of a seasoned vet. (Her accent would occasionally make her self-conscious and it made my casually Midwestern twang totally jealous.) Kate, our resident minister, blessed our ears with inspiring tales of digging into self to discover life on a plane void of superficial b.s and gilded with the wit bestowed upon people who do not take themselves too damn seriously. Our instructor was Katonya and to say she is a teacher or mentor is to leave so much of the story unsaid. She listened. She respected. She laughed. She questioned. She asked for more. It was a group of women that made me a bit awe-struck every time I stepped into the room.
The following was my performance at the end of the class…