You know how sometimes when you lose someone or have lived through something tragic – time stands still and your life is measured by what happened before the devastation and after?
This got me thinking about how when my mom was murdered by my dad- after the shock and depression and grief lifted- through hard work, dedication and commitment to feeling …alive…joy…love…again…I was able to share my story- that story- my core wound that I healed from…and it helped heal me and inspire others.
And now…all these years later I started to think about all the things I haven’t shared…that got swallowed up by the ‘big’ story and I wonder if you can relate…
You see, I am the least likely person to take center stage…to look as good as I do (hey- I’m kicking it over 50! and honestly I look better and feel healthier than I did as a very overweight and shy teen.
I acted in a super cool Vaudeville type acting and singing school in Manhattan when I was little , even performed on the stage in Carnegie Recital Hall.
I remember the first applause I got as a 10/ year old and it lit me up. I couldn’t believe we moved people to be happy and clap.
But then something happened.
My world happened.
There were beatings in the house, my father was gaslighting my mom, my brother got kicked out (and I loved him so much), my father was cheating, there was fighting about money that I witnessed and I just wanted to hide, be invisible, not get in trouble- because I didn’t want to give my beautiful mom any more grief. (I got into trouble- I was just careful to do it in a way to not get caught)
I stopped going to the park, I started smoking pot, changed my friends to the so called ‘cool’ ones for awhile, piled on heavy makeup, started drinking and eating. I ate my emotions. Instead of losing weight to become invisible- I gained it.
I would pretend people’s harsh actions didn’t bother me- a very Brooklyn thing to do. When a close friend held a weapon to my head because we were joking around and I wouldn’t tell him a ‘secret’ someone he was seeing told me to keep from him…I pretended I wasn’t scared.
When a guy I was fooling around with (an adult and I was a teenager) showed me a Machete he kept at his house- I pretended it was cool and covered my fear.
When I came home and startled my mom as she was fleeing our home and refused to tell me where she was going and I insisted (not knowing she was fleeing my dad’s threats to kill her) and she screamed “I Hate You” to me- I took it in stride- since it was so out of character for her.
Boy, at 15 there is so much we don’t know.
I could go on and on but I won’t here.
What this is about is something else.
It’s that I wanted to act so badly. Acting transported me. I would come home from college and vege out on Soap Operas and imagine one day I’d be on TV.
But in sharp contrast to that desire was an equally strong inner voice that berated me and told me how fat I was and I would never be an actress.
In my early twenties- still playing the emotional caretaker for my parents I was still stuffing with food, trying to be there for them but abandoning myself.
I’d have a day off from work and a juicy audition would come up and I’d convince myself I was too fat to go.
Despite the crazy diets and my up and down weight and my working out I just didn’t feel like I was enough. I was terrified of rejection.
Not all the time- I got into acting class and learned the art or acting. I discovered how to express myself in a healthy way on stage. I got into a theatre group. I lost weight but I would still talk myself out of going after my dreams.
I move to LA for someone I fell in love with and to act.
10 months later
My father killed my mother and then…married her sister, my aunt.
I stop eating. I can’t eat. I can’t accept nourishment. I want to die. …but I’m skinny.
But I stop acting.
I can’t do anything but cry and want to turn back time.
And then it happened.
I woke up to the fact that my mom would want me to thrive.
She’d want me to go after my dreams…even though hers were thwarted.
She loved that I acted.
I auditioned for a theatre company in LA and got accepted. I auditioned for a top acting class and got accepted.
But now I felt damaged because of what happened to me.
How could I speak up and take the stage- I didn’t want to be seen and didn’t feel I deserved the spotlight.
But was that true?
Of course not.
I had a story to tell.
Not only did my deep KNOWING that I had to share it despite my fears lead me to take center stage.
But it’s put me on magazine covers in the States, London and in Australia and New Zealand.
It’s put my on Television and radio programs and stations I admire like NPR.
Telling my story in the way I do (as a one-person show and through storytelling) has won me awards- Acting and a Hero of Forgiveness award.
And I’ve changed thousands and thousands of people’s lives for the better because I found my message.
My audiences are all over the world.
From theatre goers, to women prisoners, to youth-at-risk, domestic violence trainers and survivors and so many more communitites.
Because I dared to listen.
I dared to take center stage.
I dared to tell my story.
If you are ready to Dare to Be Great telling your story on the theatre stage or world stage…despite your fears.
Let’s see how I can help you turn your dreams into actions.