Guess who got motherfucking fan mail from The motherfucking Moth.
That’s right, kiddies. Susanita here just got herself a little old email directly from the Senior Producer of The Moth telling me what a great job I did at their StorySlam back in March.
I loved it and have thought of it quite often since.
Shut the front door. The story was about one night when I had to wake my mom up to take me to the hospital. It was an emergency situation and a pretty intense, kinda hideous time. Erica shot a video of my performance, but I’ve been hesitant to share it with you guys. Not that I wouldn’t tell you anything I would tell to 300 strangers in the West Village, and I’ve actually told you the same story before, I just was a lot more explicit with the details in the live version so … I’m being weird about it. I don’t know. Anyway. Back to this email.
“Very beautiful and honest, and a POV that we don’t often get to hear. I truly appreciate that you shared it.”
Actually, my Moth fan mail came in yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t even process it. I read it on my phone while I was tutoring at The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, and I am pretty sure I went into shock. It wasn’t until I re-read it today that the twitterpating excitement set in. But I’ll be honest, there was a bit of “you know that’s right” in there as well. (Shout out to Dr. E, my current therapist for helping me work out that self-confidence thing.)
The thing is, I’ve known that something like this was coming for a while.
(Seriously, you guys. If you have not signed up for these emails yet, you have not lived. You also have not lived if you’ve never shelled peas, but that’s another story.)
In the month since I received this email from my pal The Universe, things truly are blowing up. I’ve been working super hard on Tell It: Brooklyn (Last month was SRO, bitches!), I’m writing and performing new stories each month, I’m going to other storytelling events, making local writer pals and harassing nice bloggers on the B69 bus.
"Hey, I follow you on Twitter. Have a Tell It: Brooklyn notebook."
And now, I’ve gotten fan mail from The Moth. But here’s the problem.
There’s a typo in the subject line.
It’s not like the capital O is all I can see, but I definitely took note of it the six or seven times I read through the email. The thing for me was, it reminded me of how when I was a kid, Mom would buy my sister’s and my holiday gifts in pairs. One would be pink (my sister’s), one would be blue (mine) and the blue one would always be flawed. Always.
Whether it was a rip in the teddy bear’s seam or a chip in the porcelain doll’s leg, there was always something wrong with the blue one. So much so that it became a running joke on holidays. It even began to spill into my non-blue gifts. Over the years, I got tons of presents that were marred in one way or another, but I loved them just the same. I mean, I was bummed out that I never got a flawless gift, but I still enjoyed them.
You can tell he's a solo present cause there's no blue.
What his right ear looks like.
What his left ear looks like.
It wasn’t until years later that I thought Mom’s mean ass might have been doing it on purpose. Seriously, what are the odds of years’ worth of blue gifts being damaged AND my other presents too? Come on …
Anyway, the point of all this is that in my excitement about The Moth’s email, I kept getting distracted by the stupid, insignificant typo. When it made me think about mom’s flawed presents, I began to understand that in a way, this fan mail is another one of them.
I thought about all of my stories and realized that my best, most moving, most powerful ones are about my relationship with Mom – my broken, flawed, could-have-been-but-didn’t-quite-make-it, relationship with the person I loved more than anyone else on the planet. In fact, the story I told at The Moth is about one of the toughest experiences she and I ever shared together.
The truth is, if I hadn’t had my broken, flawed, could-have-been-but-didn’t-quite-make-it, relationship with Mom, I would never have been on stage at The Moth in the first place. So, that’s why I’ve decided to embrace the capital O and think of it as a little wink from Mom who I know is a lot more supportive of me from wherever she is now, than she was ever able to be when she was here.
So, I’m dedicating this Moth performance to Mom – who had a pretty hideous experience that night too.
Here’s the video.