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Tell Your Story

by Kate on June 19, 2017

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It’s hard to believe that we have produced SIX DC Listen to Your Mother shows. And it’s hard to believe that’s it. Over those six years, we’ve given 80+ stories a microphone. And what we’ve been given in return isn’t possible to measure. It’s too big.

There have been many unofficial show themes….Mother Warrior…Crazy Love…You’ve Got This… But the last one was kind of all encompassing: Tell Your Story. It’s the flip side of what most audience members take away from the show. We always hear about people finding themselves looking at the stranger sitting next to them and wondering what story they could tell. If you’ve experienced LTYM, you’ve most likely noticed that you’ve stopped assuming and started wondering…and when given the opportunity, listening. We hope that everyone takes that a step further, recognizing that THEIR story is also one that should be heard.

You don’t have to write it or publish it or perform it. You just have to tell it. Whenever and however you want.

The show may be over, but the storytelling hasn’t ended. So tell your story. We will always listen.

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We are so incredibly proud of this year’s show! And we’d love to share it with everyone who couldn’t be there with us. We’ll be sharing the pieces that were read here (in show order) – which is about as close as we could get!  Our twelth reader was Director, Stephanie Stearns Dulli with The Giving Tree. And our final reader was Lottie Joiner…

We are more than our Sister’s Keeper

On February 14, 2017, I fainted in SunTrust Bank on Capitol Hill.

I was rushed to Howard University Hospital where it was determined that my blood pressure had dropped too low and I was dehydrated.

I posted my status on Facebook and within minutes the calls started coming.

First it was Kendra, who was glad I fainted in the bank and not home alone.

Then it was Benita. “Do I need to come up there?” she asked.

Well, Gladys had already text me. She would be coming to pick me up when she got off work in Rockville.

And the calls kept coming: Brucetta, Christine and later Hazel who asked:

“Do you have food at your house? Can I bring you something?”

The calls continued the next day with Syrinda and Barbra checking in and later Joann.

The amount of support and concern warmed me – and overwhelmed me.

On the day the nation celebrated love, I never felt so loved.

These are my single girlfriends. We live away from our families and for the most part we are all that each other have.

There are no husbands or children or boyfriends or significant others.

We are more than our Sister’s Keeper. We are each other’s Mothers.

A Mother is more than someone who just gives birth.

She nurtures – like when Gladys brought me soup, crackers and ginger ale when I had a terrible bout of food poisoning and then insisted that I not stay home alone, bringing me to her home.

A mother encourages, inspires, enlightens – like Brucetta, who always asks when I’m going to finish that book, and reminds me that I could be making so much more money with my talent.

A mother is sunshine  – like Christine, who dances to her own beat and has me dancing with her whenever there’s music or sound.

And a Mother, well, she will surely tell you about yourself – Straight, No Chaser – like Benita, who complimented me on my beautiful wonderfully made dress then asked me why I had on those pantyhose that were clearly not my shade of brown.

A Mother loves you NO MATTER WHAT:

My girlfriends have been with me through breakups, weight loss (and gain), job loss, new opportunities. When I had braids, cornrows, Senegelese twists, two-strand twists, a bob, – yes, a boy – and the big chop.

We do Easter brunch and birthdays and plays and museums.

We gather together on Thanksgiving and make our mothers’ Southern recipes: collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cornbread dressing, candied yams and potato salad. We’d have a Honey-Baked Ham on our table and of course what’s a Southern meal without Sweet Tea?

My own mother died of Lupus when I was just 10 years old.

At the time, she was 35 – brilliant and beautiful.

She was a dynamite – petite, but feisty and powerful.

She was a church woman, who wore big wide-brimmed hats and gloves on small petite hands.

She loved gospel music and Nell Carter from the 80s sitcom Gimme a Break.

She had 10 brothers and sisters who all looked up to her for guidance.

In her short lifetime, my mother made sure my sister Stephanie and I grew up better than she did.

And though my mother was in and out of the hospital a lot because of her illness, I always felt loved.

She was reassuring and comforting, supportive of my ability.

She saw my light and gave me hope.

On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, I sat in Howard University Hospital with an IV in my arm. And though my own mother was not there, I felt comforted and supported, nurtured and protected. MOTHERED.

It gives me hope.

We are more than our Sister’s Keeper. We are each other’s Mothers.

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Jessica Claire Haney: Words to Live By

May 12, 2017

We are so incredibly proud of this year’s show! And we’d love to share it with everyone who couldn’t be there with us. We’ll be sharing the pieces that were read here (in show order) – which is about as close as we could get!  Our eleventh reader was Jessica Claire Haney… Words to Live By I’ve decided that all mothers have some phrase, some collection of words, some precept that guides our parenting. Yours might be something common in your community, shared by others. Or it might be unique to you, still jagged around the edges. Maybe yours is so clear – even cute – that you’ve put it in a frame or on a vision board. Maybe it’s something you heard from your grandmother or you read in a book of poems in college. Maybe it’s something you’ve shared widely, garnering laughs or emojis on social media, or maybe it’s something so […]

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Hannah Grieco: Light

May 11, 2017

We are so incredibly proud of this year’s show! And we’d love to share it with everyone who couldn’t be there with us. We’ll be sharing the pieces that were read here (in show order) – which is about as close as we could get!  Our tenth reader was Hannah Grieco… Light I stand over you, my hand on your back. Filled with something like gratitude, or maybe just exhausted relief, that you are finally asleep. The bare room, empty and cold, the white walls, the single gurney with one pillow and a see-through sheet covering the thin mattress. I am standing, because there is no chair here. Earlier I sat on the floor with you in the corner, holding you firmly against my chest. In the room next to us there is a teenage girl who is groaning and occasionally screaming. She is fine. She wants to go home. NOBODY CAN KEEP HER […]

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Lou-Ann Wattley Belk: The Lady

May 11, 2017

We are so incredibly proud of this year’s show! And we’d love to share it with everyone who couldn’t be there with us. We’ll be sharing the pieces that were read here (in show order) – which is about as close as we could get!  Our ninth reader was Lou-Ann Wattley Belk… The Lady “Jay-sun? Could you ahhsk deh lay-dee to give me sum juice?” I had just arrived in Brooklyn. I was about 3 years old. My older brother was the only familiar face in this new place and he was visibly frustrated by his failed attempts to explain that “deh lay-dee” was our mother. But he had the benefit of memory and age. This lady’s face, her voice, her smile and even her scent likely connected him to a mother he’d already bonded with by the time he was my age. For him it was a reunion. For me it was an […]

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