Welcome to #LTYM Raleigh-Durham!

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Just a Little Love Letter

by KeAnne on May 5, 2017

This post is going to say that KeAnne wrote it because I don’t even know my login for our website here. She does all of that. She writes the posts, gets them web ready, adds the photos, goes after all the press and media – all of the things that people just see happening? Don’t happen magically. They happen because of KeAnne. By the way, it’s actually me, Marty, writing here.


Five years ago, I put on this show with a woman I barely knew. We had come together, both determined that Raleigh was in need of a show like Listen to Your Mother. It’s probably true that we became partners because neither of us backed down when the other said, “I want to do this.” We are both capable and determined women. We would have jumped in alone. Instead, we said, “What the hell,” and jumped in together.

Five years later, I am putting on this show with one of my best friends. A woman I could call in the middle of the night and know that she would probably ignore me but get back to me as soon as she got to work the next day. Kidding. She would totally be that friend who would show up at 2:00 AM if I needed her. The hold your hair back and wait to mock you until later friend. The best kind. And she always brings the water bottles. Which means she’s the better person in this partnership. Because let’s be serious, who wants to carry those cases of water anywhere? Not me. But KeAnne does it every single time.

Of course we didn’t do this alone. We did this with dozens of women across the entire state of North Carolina. We did this with their family members both here and gone.

With Eliza, Hudson, Gregory, and Emma.

With our mothers.

With our children.

With Mamaw Bonnie who got her last perm and then left this world on Tuesday this week. I never see a gumball without thinking of you.

This Mother’s Day, with our very last Listen to Your Mother show behind us, I will celebrate every last one of you who told me your story – whether it made it onto the stage or not. It has been the greatest honor to hear every word.

And I will celebrate KeAnne who has put up with my quirks, my inability to accurately read a calendar and record dates, my need for approval, my sometimes constant bitching, and my SHOWDAYFACE which is apparently incredibly serious and kind of scary. She gets me, and I’m grateful.

So thank you, KeAnne, and thank all of you for this amazing ride. It’s not over yet, we are just changing stations.

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LTYM:RDU Alums Speak

by KeAnne on May 4, 2017


Since this is the grand finale season for Listen to Your Mother, Marty and I thought it would be appropriate to have members of prior casts share what being part of a Listen to Your Mother:Raleigh-Durham cast has meant to them.  Our 5th and final Listen to Your Mother:Raleigh-Durham show is Friday, and I can’t think of a better love letter to the show, our casts and the experience.

Ronnie Bower, ’13:

I’d always thought of myself as a writer, but LTYM was the first time I presented myself to the world as a writer. It scared the sh*t out of me but was one of the most vulnerable and authentic things I’ve ever done. I showed the world the person–the writer–I knew I was. That I know I am.

Betsy Martin, ’14:

To claim my voice, my story and to be stubborn enough to shout I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY is a crucible experience and I came out morphed into someone who lived life with fewer apologies for the space I take up in this world. I claimed my truth and then I committed myself to owning my response to the world, even though I still can’t control the situations that confront me (&!$@ if only I could!). Life is challenging, but since LTYM I do remind myself to live mine in a way that if I have to stand on stage and tell it, I would be proud.

Ann Conlon-Smith, ’15:

The validation of sharing my story, being listened to, and feeling the shared empathy was one of the most empowering things I’d done in my lifetime. I felt like an audience larger than my family and friends now knew my son and what it was like to lose him along with my heart. 

Caroline Maclaga, ’16:

I saw the world with new eyes after my daughter died. At first I had so much I wanted to share about this reality. After reading the books and blogs of other loss moms it felt like my voice wouldn’t add much to the conversation. Just the act of auditioning for LTYM helped me to believe my voice matters. We all have spheres of influence. Whether our platforms are a stage, writing books, Instagram posts, or conversations with a friend over coffee, when we tell our stories we grant other people permission to tell theirs.

Lindsay Onofrio, ’13 and ’16:

LTYM has changed so much about me. I had the honor of participating in the first show for Raleigh/Durham. I was so intimidated being a simple stay at home mom/wanna be writer. I could barely make conversation with adults yet I found myself surrounded by all these accomplished wonderful people. The experience showed me that every one has a voice and that I had more talent with words than I had given myself credit for. My second experience last year was even better. Gone were the feelings of mediocrity and comparing myself to the others. I was excited to see the other women experience the thrill, the nerves, the pure rush of connecting with each other and with every person in the audience. I am still working on being a writer and not a wanna be and I tear up every time I think about this being the last year of the show. LTYM has a permanent place in my heart, my soul and my life.

Katie Gailes, ’16:

As a member of the 2016 cast, I was able to tell a story that honors the two most important women in my life; my mother and my daughter. The relationship that I enjoy with my daughter is the most important gift that I received from my mother. LTYM allowed me thank her out loud and pass the gift on to my daughter. I will never forget my LTYM experience.

Erin Lindquist, ’15:

 It gave me a way to share my cancer story with a public yet supportive community, and bring humor to my sorrow. My confidence and skill in story writing and telling grew exponentially through the experience as well.


I spent twelve years in an emotionally abusive marriage. My ex did a lot of really hurtful things–things that eventually meant the court intervened and provided me with a domestic violence protective order for two years after he left. Although writing has always been my passion, it was one of many things I wasn’t allowed to indulge in while I was married. (Yes, not allowed.) In fact, although it’s not one that would make much of a difference in court, one particularly emotionally destructive episode I remember was when I confided in my then-husband, about a year after the death of our daughter, that I wanted to finally write the book that dozens of people had been encouraging me to write for years. His response: “You can’t even keep the house clean or keep the laundry done. You need to learn to do those things before you can write.”

Several years later, he had left me–alone with a traumatized seven year old and a newborn–and I saw a post about LTYM on Facebook. I was working and raising my kids and dealing with legal custody battles and I had no time for something so frivolous. But I submitted something I wrote anyhow. And I was selected as one of the inaugural cast members. It was the first thing I had truly done on my own, for myself–something he would never have allowed me to do. And it was the first time I really considered myself a writer.
Thank you for your words, your stories, your participation, yourselves.  Each cast, each show had its own flavor and flare, and it has been our honor to meet you and work with you.  Keep speaking your truth and being brave, you wonderful, amazing women.
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Our Cause: Women’s Center of Wake County

May 2, 2017

Storytelling reveals pieces of us that were hidden. Maybe it’s a feeling you had when you brought your baby home for the first time. Maybe it is the emptiness of packing your mother’s room and leaving the nursing home for the last time. Maybe it’s just an event, small or large, that you are sharing. So many times, I’ve told people that what matters to me about Listen to Your Mother is the community it connects. The “me too” moments that happen with people with whom you never knew you could share a bond. KeAnne and I are beyond excited to share our charity partner from 2016 is joining us again for 2017. Women’s Center of Wake County is tucked quietly behind Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, just off Hillsborough Street. They provide basic needs like food, clothing, personal hygiene needs. They provide a place for women to be safe and store their belongings […]

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Photographer Traci Huffman, Local Sponsor

May 1, 2017

When KeAnne and I sent out the email inviting 13 women to join the final cast of Listen to Your Mother:Raleigh-Durham, there was a name on the list we struggled to include. Jess Rotenberg, our show’s photographer had crossed over to the other side of the podium to tell her story with words this year instead of film. Her story is one that is part of our show this year, and we only struggled because we knew her photography shoes would be hard to fill. Enter the amazing Traci Huffman. Traci’s work reflects the love between couples. The love between mother and daughter. Father and son. Families. Her mission is to capture moments in time that will one day serve as reminders of how much love is shared between those she photographs. Traci is one of those rare birds who grew up in Raleigh. She flew away to Wilmington for school at Cape […]

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Davis Family Chiropractic, Local Sponsor

April 28, 2017

My boys ask for two things after a fall – a bandaid and to go see Dr. Davis. They know how much better they feel after a visit to Davis Family Chiropractic. People talk a lot about wellness these days. For Davis Family Chiropractic though, wellness isn’t a new trend. Alisha Davis has followed in her father’s footsteps of providing amazing care to the whole family. From pregnant mamas, to newborn babies, to little boys who tumble off their scooters on a regular basis, Dr. Davis works to keep bodies in alignment and at the peak of their health. I met Dr. Davis when I was a pregnant mama. She helped prepare me for a natural birth. Then she helped my newborn be in alignment for breastfeeding success. Then, when I thought she couldn’t endear herself to me more? She explained the mechanics of ear infections, started adjusting my two year old who was […]

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