Thanks to everyone who came out to Roy Street last Thursday. Despite the heat we had a full house and even more storytellers than usual. I never know if I’ve chosen a theme that will resonate with anyone else and I’m always nervous that a hundred people will show up and no one will have a story to share. The story I wrote for the invitation to this month’s show was very personal and in the weeks before the show I wondered if I had crossed the line.

Well, it turned out that I had nothing to worry about. We had so many people wanting to tell stories that we couldn’t get to them all. For all the laughs we had that night there were two stories that really broke me open. Two first-timers each told stories that stopped me cold.

Connie told the story of growing up in fear of her father and how she confronted him 20 years later in a grocery story parking lot. I know what it’s like to be afraid when a parent comes home and it was good for me to hear that I wasn’t the only one who grew up that way. Listening to Connie’s story made me feel like I wasn’t crazy. That I wasn’t making it all up. Most importantly, it reminded me that I’m not alone. It feels good to know there are people out there who know what I’m talking about when I tell my own stories of being afraid to go home.

There was another woman who told a story that night that hit me just as powerfully but in another way. (I haven’t been able to get ahold of her yet so I don’t feel like I have permission to use her name.) She talked about the cost of burying your emotions. She’s a scientist and is more comfortable with data than feelings. It wasn’t until she used the scientific method on herself that she realized how her panic attacks were related to times when she ran from her feelings. Hearing her story was absolutely heartbreaking for me. It reminded me of all the people I love who have the same story. The story we heard Thursday night had a good ending. She developed ways to acknowledge her feelings and move through them. Her panic attacks are gone and she seems happy. I was touched by the courage it took to examine herself and then years later tell that story in public.

I’ve never seen these woman before and I don’t know how they found the show. They are both in their 20s and they are far stronger than I was at that age. It took me many more years before I had the courage to confront the things they already have.

That’s one of the things I love about this show. I never know who is going to show up or what they’re going to say but there’s always something I take home that I needed to hear that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

Big thank you to everyone who told a story that night: Tina, Barb, Anna, Bill, Connie, Cathy, Allison, Katy, Carol, Keith, and Tracey.

The recording came out fine so can give the storytellers a copy of their performance if they want it. I only give out the audio to the people who told a story and it’s only the audio of their own story. Most tellers don’t want their personal stories online so that’s why I only give copies to the people who told them.

I’ll be writing up the official invite for next month’s show in the next few days. The theme is Stories of Discovery.

See you on July 23rd!