Today I was invited to speak to Ms. Mackoff’s class at Roosevelt High School. Driving up there, I remembered how I felt after seeing Nora Ephron speak at my school…23 years ago!
At the time, she was working on When Harry Met Sally, and shared stories about how challenging it was to penetrate the billy crystal/rob reiner/bruno kirby show (a/k/a “the boys’ club.”) Ephron spoke about her career, her life choices, her passion for writing and film with so much honesty and humor, I was transfixed, transported, transformed.
I don’t have a whole film career to reflect on. But I now have something to show for my last 8 years, and a rather unlikely story of how I got here.
with Dustin Kaspar (SIFF Educational Programs Director) at Roosevelt HS
So today was my first opportunity to reflect on this experience with a younger audience. While talking to Ms. Mackoff’s class, I recalled my darkest hour. Six years in, Eric and I realized that the only way to do justice to our story was for me to assume the role of storyteller.
This prospect terrified me. Not so much because of what I might be called upon to share. But because I was consumed with self-doubt. If we centerred the story around my experience, would people be able to relate?
As a queer identified, mixed-race, First generation American woman of color living in the Pacific NW at this particular moment in time…would my story matter?
I had to overcome this paralyzing fear. For months, the only thing I listened to was This American Life. Ira Glass reminded me that nothing compels us more than connecting to others through the power of story.
So I had to find my own way to Show up. Pay attention. Speak my truth. Then let go of the consequences. If that was all I did, it would be enough. And if my story impacted even one person as much as my Aunts’ (and Nora and Ira) had affected me, this whole journey would have been worthwhile.