One day while Tim and I were on our honeymoon in St. John, I was browsing in a boutique when I found a magnet picturing a bird sitting in what appears to be a coffee mug perched on top of the world. Its whimsical illustration and printed message – “Remember your dream” – struck me. I’m not one to make spontaneous purchases, especially for frivolous trinkets like magnets, but I just had to have it.
You know what it’s like when you’re on vacation in some beautiful, faraway place – you get distance from your normal life. You have time to think, to breathe, to gain perspective. I had just married the most wonderful man and was celebrating with him in a tropical paradise – the real world seemed very far away. I felt probably as “zen” as I ever have, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted out of my life and what’s really important. And one thing that crystallized in my mind was that I really wanted to write.
This wasn’t a new realization. Being a writer is something I have always wanted, ever since I grew out of my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. But I never pursued it wholeheartedly. I told myself it was because it just wasn’t “practical,” but the truth is, it’s because I was afraid. Afraid of failing. Afraid of pouring my heart and soul into something and not being good enough. Or good at all.
But in St. John, I decided that it was time to stop being afraid and to try, at least a little bit. I knew I had stories to tell, things to say. Of course, just a couple weeks after returning to the real world, I became pregnant with Isabelle and had to put writing on the back burner while I dealt with morning sickness, fatigue and moving to a new house.
But I put that magnet – “Remember your dream” – on our fridge. And I did remember. Every day when I opened the door to get out the cream for my coffee, I remembered.
Once Isabelle arrived, I experienced a paradox of parenthood – I had much more inspiration, but much less time and energy to act on it. Still, I did take small steps. I rebooted this blog. I took a writing class. I worked on some personal projects. Writing is such hard work, but it’s in the process of doing it that I feel most alive, most in tune with who I am and who I want to be – similar to how I feel about running.
When I decided to try out for Listen to Your Mother, my fear of not being good enough was strong, but my desire to try, to write something meaningful and to share it, was stronger. And when the producers asked me to join the Baltimore cast, it was a big shot in the arm for my confidence as a writer. Then I met my fellow cast members, and it became so much more.
These are strong, insightful women with stories that made me belly laugh, or had me nodding in “oh my gosh, ME TOO” solidarity, or reached in and grabbed my heart with their beautiful vulnerability – sometimes all of the above. I sat rapt at our recent rehearsal, listening to each writer read her piece and feeling so grateful, honored and PUMPED to be part of this amazing show.
If you’re in the Baltimore area next Saturday, April 26th, please come see us! We take the stage from 6 to 7:30 p.m. I promise you won’t regret it! You can find all the details, including how to buy tickets, here. And you can find out more about my wonderful cast mates here. They inspire me to continue to remember my dream, to tell my stories, to keep trying even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.