By Rachel Harrison, momondays mo-host & emcee
I remember one of the first times I had the opportunity to be on stage. Like myself, you may have been forced to perform in front of your friends and family as part of the traditional school Christmas concert. When I was nine, I had a leading role as the Ghost of Christmas present. Which means, I had a microphone and roughly four lines to sing.
I remember the first three lines (and they went well). My beautiful voice tiptoed out into the night, until I sang, “Decrease the population, let the beggars STARVE!!!” On the word starve, my voice became that of crazed banshee cackling out into the cold night air, making the crowd visibly wince in pain. This happened over 30 years and I still remember it like yesterday. I honestly don’t remember the rest of the song.
As you can well imagine, I didn’t go to a school of performing arts to become a singer. In fact, I have avoided the stage, television, radio, and can’t bare to hear recordings of myself.
So, what am I doing on February 12th for my 44th birthday? I’m relaunching and emceeing momondays Halifax. So that means showing up, on stage, talking into a microphone, and throwing myself out of my comfort zone. Why?! Why would I do this?! Yes, I know that’s where the magic is suppose to happen! But really, WHY?!
I’m doing it for me. And I’m doing it for you.
I’m doing it for me because pushing your boundaries is the only way to grow. New ideas, experiences and opportunities don’t show up from places of security. There is no learning without some difficulty, and getting a little (or a lot) messy. By taking a risk and stepping outside what is familiar and certain, I am opening myself up to the great unknown. And it is in this space of uncertainty where I will fumble, create and discover. Am I scared? Yes! Do the little voices in my head tell me to stay comfortable and stop? Yes! Do I keep going: Yes.
When you meet me, you might see an extrovert, full of energy, who smiles, and is confident. I looked up the definition of confidence, “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” I’m not confident in my abilities on the stage, but I am confident that – whatever happens – I will come out stronger. I’m not confident that I won’t stutter, spit or say something inappropriate (because that’s guaranteed), but I am confident that I will show up as my authentic self. And I’m not confident that everyone will love the show – or me – but I will be confident that I did everything within my power, to create the best evening and experience for speakers and patrons.
And what about “doing it for you?” If I really wanted to just be on stage, I could have joined an acting troupe or slammed some poetry. You are the answer to the question: Why? I want people to have the opportunity to show up as themselves: to be heard and to be seen. We no longer sit around the fire at night and share stories. I now know that every person has a story inside him or her that needs to be told, and this is your opportunity. I want momondays to be that fireside in Halifax, so that we can share our stories, have some fun, and connect with others.
Do you feel like joining me on stage? Do you want to support others when they tell their story? Or do you just want to see someone create a little magic while stepping outside their comfort zone? Come check out momondays on Monday, February 12th and say, “Happy Birthday!” You don’t have to bring a gift, just listen or tell a story.