Thursday, May 11, 2017

Confessions of a 5th Grade Storyteller

I finally lost my stage fright after a near-death experience.

For two weeks in December, exactly as long as my holiday break, I fought a nasty version of pneumonia that caused fluid to build up in my chest wall. I have three, 1-inch scars along the left side of my rib cage to prove it, and it still hurts to breathe sometimes.

After enduring some of the worst physical pain of my life, so many things don't matter to me anymore. Like having to be the smartest person in the room, and wearing makeup. meh.

In the last four months or so, I have spoken in public to small and large crowds at least six times. The butterflies and shaking and sweating that have always joined me on stage have vanished (except for the occasional hot flash that is usually related to too much caffeine or sugar).

Also, my storytelling gene has finally kicked in. I am officially the older, wiser woman in the room with interesting stories to share. Also, I am officially a grumpy mom according to my teen daughter's friends. Yay!

It seemed like just yesterday that it was 1980 and I was running around the neighborhood barefoot and pretending to be a Bugaloo and getting my friends to act out the story in my head. I was the cute girl with wings, of course. And I needed rescuing.

The storytelling — and the need for rescuing — continued for many years until one day I grew actual wings.

Now I am a fully realized storyteller. No excuses. I tell stories to help people connect, celebrate and inform. I help people who are not storytellers share their stories. And I share stories with my kids to help them sprout wings sooner.

Maybe it wasn't just the pneumonia that cleaned up my lungs and reconnected my heart to who I really am, but it was perfect timing for the next stage of life.

Here is a great article I found through the creative site 99U that offers tips on storytelling. Enjoy!