I go through the Starbucks drive-thru every single morning after I drop my kids off at school. And while I am feeding my green-straw addiction, I’m having a conversation with my best friend, Kari. It is our morning check in with each other, and something is off with the rest of my day if we don’t get a chance to talk. Occasionally these conversations are heartfelt and bring on the tears. Sometimes they are so full of laughter that either one of us can hardly breathe. But one thing remains the same.
At some point, I will interrupt Kari with to place my Starbucks order.
“Trenta, Very Berry with no water and medium ice” . . . . .
“No, not light ice. MEDIUM ICE.”
It always happens when SHE is talking, not me, potentially sharing something deep or profound or just in the middle of a thought. Yes, I am publicly acknowledging that I am rude as hell five mornings a week to my best friend. She doesn’t see it that way, and we always laugh. But I’m acknowledging it anyway.
As typical of most of our conversations, there is a slightly schizophrenic pace when it comes to topics. Between juggling my Starbucks addiction and the demanding needs of her six-year old, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time! During one such morning, we talked about single parenting, how crappy other mothers made us feel, and the 2014 Listen To Your Mother show. The LTYM call for submissions had been open for a few days, and I was wracked with panic. I was in the midst of the worst writers block ever and struggling for something decent to come out of my brain. After the raw and emotional piece I submitted last year, I had decided that I didn’t want to head in that direction. But the free-form writing I’d been doing for a week wasn’t yielding anything I loved. Kari had decided, after going with me last year and seeing what LTYM was all about, to jump in to the scary end of the pool and challenge herself by submitting a piece (which she had already done).
Our morning conversation sparked something and later that night, I was finally able to write something that I was excited about. I pressed the SEND button on my email before I thought twice. If I hesitate and give myself time to over-think the scary things in life, I find that I don’t do them.
Both of us made it through the first cuts, and were asked to audition our pieces. Our time slots were very close and we ended up at the auditions together. I was slated to go first and was almost sick with nervousness. As I got up to go in, Kari looked at me and started reciting the lines from “The Help” . . . .
you is kind . . . you is good . . . .
And I started laughing. Uncontrolably. Hysterical, tears-streaming-down-my-face-laughter that transitioned in to a coughing fit where I sound like a barking seal. Which just caused more laughter.
It was awesome. And exactly what I needed.
I finished, she auditioned (with me doing a crazy dance as she walked in to calm her nerves) and then we were done. The waiting game would now begin.
Kari and I had several conversations over the next couple of days. We would both cry, scared of what was coming next. Both of us wanted the other person to be cast over ourselves. That’s what being a best friend is really all about. Putting the other person before yourself.
When Kari was cast and I wasn’t, I breathed a sigh of relief. You see, I second guessed my piece about ten minutes before my audition and had a full-fledged panic attack in the parking lot. Something I didn’t entirely let on to Kari because I didn’t want to throw her off. I had an instinctual feeling which I can’t explain that I wasn’t going to make the cast this year. All I prayed silently for was that Kari would be cast. Her piece is amazing (don’t panic, Melisa, I’m not saying a thing!) and she will be INCREDIBLE!
At some point I’ll share the piece I wrote. But that’s for another day.
Today I want to say that I am HONORED Kari calls me her best friend. We are a perfect blend of neurotic, ridiculous, wackiness that support each other during the good, the bad and the scary. I can’t wait to sit in the audience of the Anthenaeum Theatre on May 4th and cheer like a goon for her and the rest of the amazing cast. Melisa Wells and Tracey Becker, the producers of LTYM Chicago, are the bomb diggity. My feelings for them and the incredibly difficult job they have casting this show have only magnified times a thousand since last years gushing. They rock, plain and simple.
Come join me to watch these brave women share their stories. And maybe . . . just maybe . . . . it’ll be me up there next year.