Someone Has to Go First
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
I have a lot of ideas that have never seen the light of day. It’s risky to put myself on the line, especially in this world of social media and cancel culture. With so many platforms for people to blab on about things I personally don’t care about, why would I want to insert my ideas into the cacophony? Why risk opening myself up to criticism?
Who cares what I have to say?
This message is often on a loop in my mind as I sit down and write.
Who. Even. Cares.
Who am I? What’s so special or interesting about me that other people would care to hear?
I call these kinds of internal voices “Gremlins”, taken from the 1984 film of the same name in which these cute, cuddly creatures turn into destructive, evil monsters.
This is exactly what happens within me as a cute, cuddly idea is birthed within me, something I want to share in the world. A destructive, evil Gremlin tries to silence the idea, attacking it, attacking me, with all kinds of doubts and fears.
But if everyone succumbs to these Gremlin voices, the world is silent and stagnant.
Someone has to go first.
Several years ago, I discovered The Moth. It’s an NYC-based non-profit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. They host SLAMS and competitions, open mics, and special events. Every story told through The Moth platform is a true story that happened to the person telling the story.
Who cares what these people have to say?
I do. I love listening to these stories. I love hearing real people’s honest and vulnerable lived experiences, stories told in their voices, from their perspectives, through their unique quirks.
I am inspired by the time these people took to craft their stories. Amazed at the vulnerability. Touched by their authenticity. Moved by their humanity.
My friend Allison is doing an MFA program in acting in Scotland. She is creating art and finding her voice in the middle of a global pandemic. She’s figuring out how to make new works through a video medium instead of onstage, working with artists from all over the globe, finding common threads in their shared humanity.
My friend Job turned his one-man play, about his journey through having a stroke in his 30s, into a film. He was supposed to perform the play in June of 2020, but because the world fell apart, it was postponed. If I put myself in his shoes, I imagine being disheartened and retreating, licking my wounds. Instead, he found a new outlet. He was open to restructuring his story and changing the medium.
Who cares what Allison has to say? Or Job?
I am so thankful for the artists who have gone before me. For the storytellers at The Moth. For Allison and Job. And so many others. They remind me that it is worth putting art into the world. It moves people. It gives me courage to show up in my own life. To get honest. To laugh at the absurdity of being human. To face the pain and cry when it hurts. And hopefully, by showing up fully as myself, I can inspire someone else to do the same.
I want to hear their stories. Maybe someone else will want to hear mine.
I guarantee someone wants to hear yours.
But someone has to go first.