Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bigger Picture Moments: On Being Noticed

There is tired written across my newly sunned cheeks and wild, wind-stricken hair swept back into a sweaty ponytail when I decide to take the leap. 

I flip open the computer, see my image reflected onto the screen from the webcam and think again -- maybe I'll record my audition for the show a different time when ...

But the kids are asleep. 

The nights are short.

And time is of the essence.

I take a deep breath, open the typed piece a friend and I had just hours before co-written and talk myself into hitting record.

As I self-argue again about perhaps freshening up a bit and putting my powdered face forward, I disregard the thought and remember why I'm doing this audition in the first place:


It's lonely sometimes, motherhood. 

I recall days, mostly after each of my babes were born, where I felt isolated, weary, invisible to all but little pairs of needy eyes. 

Days where loneliness stretched out across the never-ending hours until my husband would appear in the door frame, me longing for cohesive conversation after feeling enslaved in a house where sickness was bounding us to couch or naptimes were holding us hostage both morning and afternoon. 

Days where I desperately needed someone, a friend to come alongside me and remind me that babies outgrow naps and winter colds dwindle and mothers again find their voices to use for something other than reading the same story a billion times or shouting in frustration for everyone to stop whatever atrocity was being committed. 

There were days where I longed and cried and yearned for a village.

I felt so alone. My friends lived far away and schedules seemed to always conflict and there were weeks when I'd see hide nor hair of anyone outside of attending Bible study or running to the grocery store. 

So I wrote it all out -- the heartache, the pain, the loneliness that wiggles itself into the cracks of motherhood amid the beautiful and lovely and wonderful. 

Someone noticed. Actually, a lot of someones in this here blog space as well as my geographical area noticed. And they felt the same way. 

This voice of mine that spent so much time coming out as solely that of a mother began to emerge into the voice of a woman who also happened to be a mother, the me I'd not really known until a community came around me and helped me muddle through all of the life that had been thumping around inside my heart and head.

I grew and a community grew around me and I grew into community and friendship and I found my freakin' village all because someone noticed, all because someone, lots of someones heard me and said, oh yes, yes, yes, I feel that, too..

But I've never forgotten the lonely that stung my heart, left me weeping and heart sick for traveling companions, left me aching to be seen, to be noticed. 


I blink a few times, exhale and press record as I accept the tired eyes looking back at me, the messed hair. 

Because this -- plain and simple little old me recording my half of the audition for Listen to Your Mother in a dishelved state, not perfectly coiffed, while the children slumber and I steal moments from my evening to give space for my authentic voice to rise --  this is real motherhood. And it deserves real voice.

This production that pays tribute to mothers, gives voice to all the parts of  motherhood -- the hilarious, the messy, the lonely, the beautiful, the weary, the lovely,  the completely disheveled, the imperfect -- this show isn't just for the perfectly groomed or only professional writers or only actresses who can deliver flawless monologues; it's for real mothers with real voices and real messy hair and real tired eyes who have something very real, very important to share.

The popularity of Listen to Your Mother, as evidenced by multiple-city productions now running only three years since the inaugural Madison show, demonstrates that real motherhood not only deserves a real voice but that we mothers need a space to have real voice, hear a real voice.

Because we're all just waiting to have a voice given to the parts of our lives -- especially the complicated, messy, beautiful, impossible arena of motherhood -- that aren't often shared let alone celebrated.

We're all just waiting to be noticed, to be a little better known, to be heard. 

As my voice finds the courage and strength to speak into a microphone on a Chicago stage come May 6, giving life to the other half of a duet about the weariness and loneliness and hilarity of motherhood, I hope that another mother, somewhere, anywhere, will feel just a little more noticed, a little better known, a little more heard from her time spent in a space where motherhood is shared and celebrated. 

{Also, I promise to shower before the actual show and perhaps put on my powdered face because mothers don't just deserve to be given a real voice, they deserve {and need!} showers, too.}

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