So I’m watching a VCR tape I’d forgotten exists. Home movies of me in 1995, in my early twenties.
My son turns to me and says, “…wait, is that YOU?”
Because the woman on the screen is silent. 1995 Sage doesn’t say a word, but today I spent half an hour banging around the apartment packing for our new place, singing the Bee-Gees “How Deep Is Your Love”.
1995 Sage’s voice is a perpetual high pitched whisper, even when she’s talking to people ten feet away, but a week ago I accidentally broke the mic when I moved it before telling a story and no one knew until the next person tried to talk into it.
1995 Sage looks at the floor, the furniture, everything except people’s eyes but now when I finish performing my solo show, the audience literally lines up to hug me, saying, “I know you don’t know me, but I feel like I know YOU now.”
And after beginning every single teaching term by saying to my students, “I am incredibly shy. I’d rather go to a dentist appointment than a party. Ten years ago, my voice was so different that when old friends call on the phone they don’t know who I am,” and every class replying with, “NONSENSE,” I confess that I started to wonder.
Maybe I was – with the best of intentions – exaggerating. Manufacturing memories.
But I watch this woman on the screen and if anything, I’d underestimated her painful timidity. She moves like she’s trying to blend into the walls so no one can see her at all.
And if I could climb into that VCR tape, into that room, I’d hold her by the shoulders and I’d say – “In 21 years, you are still going to be tremendously shy. You will still prefer dentist appointments to parties, and eye contact will still be an effort.
But oh, Sage. You are going to be SO GOOD at faking it.
In fact, you’re going to be good enough that when you tell people you’re shy they won’t believe you. You’re going to be good enough to make up songs on stage, teach classes to strangers, tell stories about your life to audiences.”
And here’s the thing – if I can do it, so can you.
The 7 week course coming up on January 8 is about storytelling, sure.
But it’s also about finding your voice. Standing up strong. Making eye contact. Being the person outside that you are inside.
Only ONE SPOT left.