As I prepare to start my storytelling class at SpeakeasyDC in a few weeks, I’ve been sorting through different stories I’ve written and thinking about the stories I’d like to tell on a stage. The ones that are closest to my heart, that are like oxygen to me, leave me choked up. Sometimes teary-eyed. And I wonder, “How on Earth am I going to not only kick my stage fright (which is honestly so hideous my stomach turns just thinking about standing on a stage) but also find a way to tell a true story that matters to me, out loud for other people to hear?”
I start to think,“Oh God, this is the worst idea I’ve had yet. Am I insane? Do I get some kind of odd thrill out of being terrified?” I think the answer to all of those questions is a resounding, “Yes!” And I also think that’s okay. I find the whole process of telling my story to an audience terrifying. I can present business cases, teach yoga and meditation classes, and offer advice by the truckload in front of an audience without missing a beat. Letting an audience rummage around inside my mind and heart while their eyes are fixed on me? I can barely breathe.
But the thing is that I will breathe. But with difficulty, but I’ll do it. Maybe because of the training I get in the class. Maybe out of sheer pride. I’ll find a way to screw up enough courage to plant my feet on that stage, clear my throat, take a deep breath, and say what I have to say as truthfully and as clearly as I can.