6.29 Dear Stories We Don't Tell
Dear Stories We Don't Tell: When I was a kid, my mother always taught (or forced) me to sit down and write thank you notes to people that did good things for me. This is a habit that I'm glad my mother instilled in me. So, Stories We Don't Tell, after celebrating your first year at last week's event, I wanted to write to you and thank you for all you have given me.
After being a big fan of stand up comedy for a few years and hearing in numerous interviews with comedians about how rewarding it was, I developed a secret desire to try my hand at performing. But, a stand up comedian I was not. Although I do like to inject humour into my work, I was more interested in not having the pressure of a punchline. After discovering the storytelling community in Toronto, I still thought I wasn't ready to get up in front of people and share some of my most intimate thoughts.
You were born out of this, Stories We Don't Tell, as you know. The organizers wanted to create a space where the comedic story could live alongside the vulnerable story. I remember being so nervous at that first event. Would people come? Would they engage with the stories? Would it work? Well, people came and they continue to come. With that first story, I felt empowered, present and in control - feelings that I wish I could bring into my day-to-day life more. Something else happened. A main feature of that story, if you remember, revolved around a dildo. Afterwards, one of the audience members came up to me and said, "Can I share my dildo story with you?" Maybe not the question that everyone wants to hear, but I was floored and continue to be overwhelmed by how much the audience engages with all of your storytellers.
When I moved back downtown over a year ago, I wanted to find more communities in addition to the one I found at the Centre for Social Innovation. I was hungry to be around people, curious about what was happening. Thank you, Stories We Don't Tell, for introducing me to the storytelling community of Toronto. I've now performed at other events around the city and feel I can walk through the door to any one of these events and know people. It's quite the eclectic scene with some amazing artists and performers.
You must agree with me, Stories We Don't Tell, that the audience who show up every month are the best audience around. They come prepared to work, engage with the storytellers and share their own stories. I know this sounds strange, but you can feel the audience, the emotion in the room becomes palpable. They are not only supportive of all the storytellers, but they listen, I mean really listen. And no matter how heavy an event gets, everyone is always smiling afterwards because all of us - you, the storytellers, the audience - all went on this journey together.
And those storytellers, Stories We Don't Tell! Over the course of a year, there's been over seventy stories told by a number of people. They come and want to share something of themselves, and it never fails to astound me how vulnerable and open and generous people are with their time and their hearts.
So, thank you, Stories We Don't Tell, and happy anniversary! You've given me a space every month where I can perform my art, and experiment with funny stories and serious stories. It's a time every month where I've gotten more comfortable talking about myself, but more importantly, look forward to sharing stories in an attempt to connect to other people and hopefully make us all feel a little less alone. Every month we gather at a different apartment or house, all enter into an agreement with each other to reveal something vulnerable about ourselves and go off into the night feeling more like a human being. I raise my glass to you, Stories We Don't Tell, to the last year and many more to come.
PS: If you would like to hear stories, we've posted a lot of them on my podcast. Just check out the EPISODE GUIDE and you'll see'em. Stories We Don't Tell has also just started its own podcast, which you can find here: thereapers.org. If you're interested in seeing the event live, join the FACEBOOK group for information on the next event.