The other night, my friend Adrienne got me out the house. She had tickets to a show called Stoop Stories and our friend Debbie was one of the guest speakers. Grateful for any chance to get out of the house, I jumped at it. Since we moved to Baltimore, I haven't worked, which meant I really didn't have any excuse or reason to leave home. I felt like it was some kind of jail break. Maybe that twitching wasn't from Tourette's after all.
My husband came home a little early. I gave him the summary: who did their homework, who hadn't done their reading, who vacuumed the cat, who stole and ate the entire bag of gummy bears, and ran to change. I had 15 minutes to get ready. What the hell do I wear? I have been living in sweat pants and fleece for months now. Do my clothes even fit? Ever since I decided that sweatpants could be stylish, I haven't felt guilty about not having those stretch jeans slide down to reveal my muffin top that I swear they created in the first place. No muffin-top in sweat pants. None. Why is that? Because sweat pants accept all of you and don't try to squeeze you out. It's just the nature of the sweat pants. I grabbed something purple to honor the Raven's Superbowl victory, prayed it fit, brushed my teeth and got my ass out of there. Adrienne pulled up in my chariot and we were off.
The subject of Stoop Stores that night was stories about parenthood. Great. I was leaving my family to go hear about someone else's. Why don't we just go watch a bunch of Brady bunch re-runs and do shots every time someone says 'Marsha'? Debbie had assured me it would be a great night, but even without the show, it was destined to be good, because I wasn't home. I was out and breathing without anyone, anywhere, calling me mom. No one was climbing, pulling or whining at me. And then, Adrienne put a glass of wine in my hand. I love her. The drinkable wine. My wine of preference.
Stoop stories features eight different speakers talking about different personal stories. Some sad, some funny, some touching. At intermission, they encouraged those who wished to speak for three minutes to place their name in the bag and they would randomly pick three people. Adreienne and Debbie encouraged me to put my name in, so I did. Talking in front of peope is something I have been doing for 20 years. I have been telling my stories to my various fitness classes over the years. I've been asked countless times after I have taught an aerobic class or subbed someone's class if I wasn't a comedian posing as an aerbicocs instructor. Unafraid, I put my name in and left it to fate.
When they called my name, we weren't suprised. Now I had to think of some material. What story could I talk about in 3 minutes? Who really keeps track at how long a story takes? I know that some stories lasted the entire squat series or some were good during the arms and chest exercises, but had no clue about time. I was the last of the three volunteers to go. When it was my turn, I did what anyone would do when they are in the spotlight with 500 people lookling at them, I had fun and enjoyed the moment.
"I'm out of my house", I said. And then talked about how great it was just to be out. You really wouldn't think it was a big deal, but for me, it was. It was nice to talk to people over 3 feet tall. It was nice to see adults other than the parents at your kid's school during pick-up. It was nice to talk to people and not tell them what to do. It was nice to ask people questions that don't involve inquires of personal hygiene maintenance. It was great to take a potty break without an audience or interruption. It was great to wear real clothes. It was great to be in a whine free environment for a while. It felt great to feel a wee bit like myself BC(before children). I had a pep in my step and a smile on my face.
I don't remember a lot of what I talked about, I had three minutes. But what I do remember, is hearing the laughter that I caused because of my story. From the time I started to the time they applauded, they laughed and that felt good.
When you have little kids or children on the spectrum, they require so much energy. As parents, we feel it's our job to give, provide, guide and help until it is no longer required. 18 or so, years later we may get a break, if then. I realized that I needed to take more breaks from my house, more often, because it's nice to drink with other people once in a while. The kids always finding me hiding in the closet anyway. So my new goal is to get out of the house and stop twitching because I think I just saw my BC picture on a milk carton.
To hear the MP3 of my stage experience, go to:
For more information about Stoop Stories: www.stoopstorytelling.com