Hard Truths, Day 34: Remembering Why

Today’s another time where I wrote an entire post and hit delete. It was good, I guess. You would have read it. Or not.

But I woke up this morning with something eating at my soul.

Fifteen (ugh) years ago, I took my wasband (then-husband) out to dinner and to a touring live show for our anniversary. The show was STOMP. It was in the seats that night that I realized that I wanted to be up on that stage — making people feel things and giving them a physical and emotional experience like no other. Last night, I went to go see STOMP again as it came through Chicago.

Because I wanted to remember WHY.

I wanted to revisit what made me fall so completely and utterly in love and find that feeling again.

And frankly, I found myself wondering if it — that feeling — would still be there.

Today’s Hard Truth is about your WHY.

Well, maybe it’s about my WHY.

Fifteen years ago, I remember trying to hide tears from my husband sitting next to me in those seats. Halfway through the show, the tears just started leaking out of my eyes and I was so completely embarassed. There’s nothing about STOMP that is in any way emotionally devastating to the point of inducing a face-leak-fest. But I was so full.

So inspired.

So moved.

So energized.

So surprised…

That crying was my body’s only response to being so completely overwhelmed with gratitude.

Gratitude for this show unfolding in front of me that unlocked what I wanted to be a part of. What I wanted to create. Discover. Offer. Share.

What a word — share.

And fifteen years flowed by in my life between a stage in San Diego, CA and one in Chicago, IL, yet I was still able to sit there and bask in my WHY.

From nosebleed-level seats, I witnessed a cast of eight people so entirely tuned into one another that I couldn’t not pay attention. I saw them having fun and connected and joking and because they were so connected to one another I couldn’t help it but to be connected to them. If one person on that stage had, at any moment, unplugged from another, the entire show would have come to a screeching halt.

And I got it — WHY I do all of these things I do — from live storytelling to branding work to this blog to speaking to my deep dive back into the world of performing.

Sharing.

That’s my WHY.

Hard Truths why

Sharing.

I think more than a fair number of people go through life as either Givers or Takers and find comfort in one of those roles. Givers are notoriously horrific Takers and vice versa. When I witness sharing, I can’t help it but to be completely mezmerized.

I’m brought out of my selfish reverie and sucked into another world — one where I’m included and a part of and depended upon and affected by. Which is why I do what I do — I want to live life as a Share-er.

Think for a moment about the last time you truly shared something with someone. And I don’t mean a cookie.

What did it feel like?

Did you become hyper-aware of the world around you while seeing everything about the person in front of you?

Did you do something unexpected or worse (I know) feel something you didn’t plan to feel?

And when you shared, were you surprised? Did you find tears where there should have been a smile and an arm wrapped around you where there should have been just the holding of hands?

Did you lose yourself for just a moment and find yourself a part of something more powerful that refused to be ignored?

Well, did you?

Because if you didn’t or haven’t…you’re a Taker or a Giver.

I know because my weakness if to fall back into the role of Giver (and the associated weakness of being a super shitty Receiver/Taker).

Last night, I was reminded that my WHY is sharing.

Opening up, going for the ride.

Putting the lap bar down, tucking in my tank top so it doesn’t fly up over my tits (much), raising my hands, and riding the roller coaster.

When I share, there’s nothing impossible. Everything in those moments becomes even more possible that I could have ever imagined.

Sharing for me is about giving no fucks so someone might see a bit of their story in mine and give fewer fucks to the things undeserving of that limited supply of fucks and in the process, realizing what he actually gives a fuck about.

So today, I’m glad to remember WHY.

With life as short as it is and the days only being filled with 24 sweet hours, I know I’ve had more than my fair share of head-up-ass moments and the limited world view that comes with such a position. But as I sat there last night, I saw eight people share so thoroughly and completely that a house filled with 500-some-odd theatre-goers got to share as well.

When life sucks

When you’re a bit lost

When he’s mad at you and she gets on your last nerve

When you’re broken and beat

When you’re overwhelmed or not whelmed at all

When you’re out of fucks and can’t find one under the sofa to save your life…

Go back to WHY.

When we forget our WHY, we’re trapped into living a lie. And the only one we’re lying to is our own damn selves.

WHY. Three letters. How do we make it so complicated when it’s only three fucking letters?

It’s funny how I found everything I’ll ever need in so short a word. Especially when it just took me 900 or so to tell you about it 🙂

 

8 replies
  1. JoshStAubin
    JoshStAubin says:

    WHY might be the three letters that, when combined, are the most mysterious and complex in the english language. It’s always the simplest things that we make so damn complicated, isn’t it? And yet it seems like we never learn.

    Reply
  2. elizabethallbright
    elizabethallbright says:

    I think all of us share the common WHY of sharing.  It gets distorted into Taking and Giving by nurture and life experiences and consistently choosing the wrong folks to share with.  My WHY is also SHARE, it’s my HOW that gets confused.

    Reply
  3. cabocalla
    cabocalla says:

    “Sharing for me is about giving no fucks so someone might see a bit of their story in mine and give fewer fucks to the things undeserving of that limited supply of fucks and in the process, realizing what he actually gives a fuck about.”

    Yeah. That.

    Reply
  4. Sassy_Nicey27
    Sassy_Nicey27 says:

    First of all Erika, FUCK YEA!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had the ability to place emojis in this comment because wires just don’t seem to cut it. Talk about a lyricist,
    ” Sharing for me is about giving no fucks so someone might see a bit of their story in mine and give fewer fucks to the things undeserving of that limited supply of fucks and in the process, realizing what he actually gives a fuck about.” Damn, that’s some deep shit. I mean that woke up the message in this letter for me. You should put that on a fucking poster and sell it because that’s classic. I mean that’s some Lil Wayne worthy, off the dome, freestyle type shit g. I’m like in awe right now because now I need a “wake up and find why” moment. You’re so spot on its ridiculous….thanks for sharing honey! Seriously, that shit was dope! You’re officially my half-Jamaican sister from another mister. (SN: you’ve just been given your black card. Hell you earned it!)

    Reply
  5. EvoletYvaine
    EvoletYvaine says:

    I love that show STOMP, too! Amazing and talented people. I also like that quote: “Forgetting your why, means living a lie.” In my journey of starting a nonprofit creative writing center for youth, there are moment where I did–and do–forget the why. And then, as if the universe knew how I was feeling, I would get a sign. A little reminder that would make me say, “Ok. Yeah. THAT’S why I’m doing this.”

    Reply
  6. RyanKBiddulph
    RyanKBiddulph says:

    Amen Erika! My WHY has been – for a minute now – to free me and to free my audience. All leading to that freeing flows to me; or, I just do freeing stuff and free my audience too. Re-visiting your WHY through seeing Stomp makes for a creative analogy too. Way to drill that point home. Keep on inspiring Erika!
    Ryan

    Reply

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