So touched to be nominated for Best Storyteller again this year. I love the readers of the Willamette Week! Here's where you can vote for me: http://wweek.secondstreetapp.com/l/BOP-2017/Ballot/ArtsampCulture
Storytelling is something that consistently reminds me of the power I have to be any kind of person I want to be. When I was a Freshman in high school, I had such a paralyzing fear of public speaking that I got a D on an assignment I worked really hard on because not a single word came out of my mouth when I attempted to give my oral presentation to the class. It wasn't until two years later that I finally worked up the courage to join the Speech & Debate team in the hopes that I could somehow just throw myself into the deep end and rid myself of this terrible, irrational phobia. For the first couple months, it was the absolute most mortifying experience of my whole life thus far (I was 16), but....then....somehow.... I got better. I just did. Because if you work really hard at something and it's important to you, it turns out: that's what happens. You get better.
It was an important lesson for me to learn. I didn't do any public speaking after high school until, many years later, post-cancer, I was invited to speak at a charity event called Notes of Hope. And.... well, the rest is history. I remembered, again, how amazing it feels to work hard at something and be able to watch yourself get better at it.
I dunno man. All of this is to say, 16-year-old me still can't believe this is happening. Every time I get on stage, I think of her. I think of that decision I made to force myself to face my fears and genuinely conquer them. And in that moment, without fail, I am reminded that anything is possible.