Last Saturday night I told a very personal story at a show — SpeakeasyDC and Risk! present So Emotional: Stories About Feelings Gone Wild. I guess it’s been a long time coming but I don’t want to say anything more about the story itself just yet.
Anyway, despite my best efforts to embrace my inner Pete Holmes, I was really stressed out leading up to the show. So I embraced something more practical — a Xanax.
I only took a quarter of one or something, and I think it wore off or my nerves decided that little chill pill had met its match.
I had a bunch of friends in the audience, which was fantastic but also nerve-wracking. I didn’t want to screw up in front of them!
So I tried to take ‘screwing up’ out of the equation. I’m just telling a story. It’s not a performance. I’m just telling a story. Just telling a story. Just telling a story. I said that about 500 zillion times, out loud like a complete weirdo.
I was up and down all evening. Waves of nerves followed by feelings of relative calm.
The show felt like an incredibly intimate night of storytelling. I remember listening to Kevin Bogg’s story and feeling really moved by it, and then I got very, very nervous because I knew I was next.
I thought I might pass out. I wondered — will someone call an ambulance or will folks just splash some water on my face and tell me to get on with the show? I kept telling myself that everything will be fine but it didn’t work.
Or maybe it did, in fact, because I got up and just told the story. Usually there’s at least a split second where I feel panicked but if all goes well, I keep going and work through it. Saturday night the panic never came. That’s not to say I felt calm and relaxed. I was intensely nervous throughout the entire story but I just told the story anyway. I was in the moment, and it was kind of incredible.
And then it was over and I felt this huge rush of relief. I got to hug my friends, and people came up to me and were so nice. Everyone — storytellers, friends, the audience, our host Kevin Allison — was so supportive and encouraging. It was such an amazing evening. I really just can’t believe it all happened like that. I keep staring at this picture — one moment with some of my super amazing friends — and I am still taking it all in.