The Moth that Never Took Flight

Dec 19:  The best way to figure out what a “typical” moth talk sounds or looks like is to watch them on YouTube, more specifically, the story slam talks since that’s what I’m planning to do on Dec 29.  I watched a story slam an Indian woman gave about a time she had to do a self portrait in elementary school and her white friends colored themselves peach, so she did too.  Her teacher told her that wasn’t her color and made her color it in brown.  I’m realizing everyday stories are exactly what draw people in (no pun intended), but sometimes we’re all trying to find the biggest most dramatic things that ever happened when we try to speak or write.  I’m now rethinking what everyday stories I have that may be intriguing.

Dec 20:  I watched a story slam by Arianna Huffington (editor-in-chief of the Huffington post).  I was drifting between thinking about how I’ve been wanting to get published on the Huffington Post blog and listening to the story she was telling about passing out from exhaustion.  Long story short, she’s an advocate for rest now, even installing nap stations at the Huffington post.

Dec 21:  I watched a story slam by a teacher who talks about feeling ugly and traveling somewhere that will make her feel beautiful.  She falls for a dreamy French (or Italian?) man when she’s overseas and in the end he tells her it’s too bad she’s not prettier.  There was a plastic surgery appointment that I don’t think she followed through on once she received pictures of herself on the trip and found one where she thought she looked beautiful doing what she does best, which is teaching art to students.  She was funny.  I liked her.  I wanted to keep listening to what she had to say.  YouTube started recommending other Moth talks of hers (because YouTube is a real person and has been my BFF this year) and it appeared she had won or progressed through the Moth ranks at a number of venues.  This Moth goal feels right up my alley and I’m silently thanking Angela for introducing me to this Moth world.

Dec 22:  Apparently I have a gender bias on watching Moth talks because I find myself only clicking on the female speakers, specifically those under 7 minutes.  My attention span has shortened as the year has gone on, I guess.  I woke up thinking my talk should probably have a funny slant because most of the videos I’ve watched that had “story slam winner” in the title were humorous.  I watched a talk today by a lady who talked about her first few days in college.  She couldn’t pick a major, she went to a party, got in a car with some guys to get high, they took her to the woods, they had rifles, they all ended up dancing around a bonfire, she made it out alive, she failed a writing test the next day, she had to take a class where she had to write personal essays because of the failed test, this led to her finding her major.  I’m finding most talks start with “I was 17….”  “It was August 2010….”  “So here I was in college…”  The talks aren’t as polished as TED talks which require several coaching sessions and prep.  Moth talks feel more like open mic nights for stand up comedy.  A little more raw and in smaller venues.  The people say “um” a lot and when the stories are really good I find myself not caring.  I mean, essentially, they are an open mic.  You go, you put your name in, you hope you get picked, you speak, you hope you win.  I imagine myself touring the U.S. doing Moth talks at back alley bars and being okay with wearing flannel shirts and ripped jeans on stage.

Dec 23:  I’m starting to doubt that I can pull off this Moth thing within the month and I am hating myself for using the holidays as an excuse.  I’ve done 11 other goals this year with little to no excuses, and now it’s December, 23rd, and I have nothing to show for it.  I tell myself I’ll regroup after Christmas.

Dec 24:  Our wifi went out.  Goals – possibly life itself – cannot continue until it is back up.

Dec 25:  Christmas #1 and #2.  See also:  overeating #1 and #2.  Also reference:  white carb binge.

Dec 26:  Christmas #3.  See also:  Peanut butter caramel whip cream dessert / weight gain. 

Dec 27:  Christmas #4.  After several trips to and from Dayton over the last couple days, and spending what felt like an eternity in the car on rainy drives, Chris and I both realized that we probably wouldn’t be doing a roadtrip on Tuesday for the Moth story slam in either Chicago or Louisville as originally planned.  And by planned I mean I didn’t really know how far they were, I couldn’t remember the venues, and I never even booked hotels.  I was doing a little negative self talk because I knew Chris would actually go if I wanted to even though he was sick of the car too, but I failed to plan and had a stomach ache from the food at Christmas 1, 2, and 3.

Dec 28:  I woke up feeling like a failure on this goal.  The news says flights in several locations are delayed or cancelled due to weather, and I can hear the wind whistling as I type this and want to cry at the thought of getting in the car again and driving somewhere after making the drives to and from Dayton for the holidays.  I accept the fact that I’m not doing a story slam tomorrow and wallow in it for awhile.  I text Chris and he encourages me by saying opting out of the travel is a good idea and that some goals just take longer than 30 days.  I text Angela and she gives similar sentiments.  I tell them both I’ll find a story slam to do in the first couple months of 2016 because now I’m more motivated than ever to actually do it, now that binge eating and four Christmases are behind us.  I’ve wanted to be a speaker forever, and now I have a goal around it, and what am I doing?!  I run through my mental Rolodex of Brene Brown talks and console myself with words like “vulnerability” and “you should only care about the opinions of people who are in the arena with you” and blurbs about learning lessons even in failures.  I have 3 more days to make something of this….