Truth needs to be jumpstarted, so let’s start here.
I’m terrible at lying. Every part of my body signals when I am not being true to myself or others. I can’t deny it. It’s a discomfort in my face, a flinch in my cheek or a blink in my eye. Like many of us I’ve lied to myself about many things – if I’m good enough, capable, or ready to do the very thing that propels my career, relationships and self. My imposter shows up and I must do the relentless process of slaying my ego (again) to get back on track to do what I truly want to do with my life – grow, prosper, transform and live fully. Sound familiar?
If you’re reading this, or better yet, if we’ve worked together, I’m sure you know that I live to push myself and others harder to get to the dirty, nasty, beautiful truth of why we are here. Truth is our best and perhaps the only viable weapon we can use for our personal growth that gives us the best clues for our purpose. Truth beckons us to take hold of our life, harness our experiences and use them for our greatest work – and when you do, there’s no stopping you. Let me repeat that…there is no stopping you when you remember and utilize YOUR TRUTH.
Here’s a story from a TEDx event on how I “found my voice” and discovered one of my greatest truths.
So what holds us back and has us move ever so cautiously? What makes the pursuit of our authentic self and “finding our true voice” challenging?
Fear. Yes, I said the f-word. We all know what it is and have experienced it. Truth hides, reveals, and shows it’s beautiful, ugly head in every corner only to get ignored, dismissed and doubted. Our imposter (fear of what others think, tell us or your personal tape replays in your head) becomes the loudest voice instead of your authentic voice. This self imposed doubt can manifest in our bodies, heads, relationships and even environments. It can also get eliminated in an instant by one simple creative action. A choice to do something differently.
My choice revealed itself in writing. I’ve always written journals since I was a little girl, a teenager, a young woman in a cell, and a mother with two children in my journal pictured above on this blog page.
The best portal I have found to connect to your inner most knowing, your creative fire and “authentic” voice is from picking up pen (your creative sword), or fingers on keys to begin the daunting, and revealing process of listening to your words. Writing your words is a conduit to your truth. What you bring to the world is your unique DNA and truth that is original, incomparable and priceless. You must believe this. I do.
3 Tips for Remembering Your Truth
1. When in doubt, write. Write at will, create and improvise the rest. As scary or intimidating as it sounds when the creative tank is on empty, this is the elusive, dark place, and door we want to enter and pass through. This idea of facing our fear with courage when “on empty” is what I teach in my writing and improv workshops and endlessly remind myself – to face the uncertainty, blank page and mysterious unknown with a commitment and priority to NOT know anything – not a damn thing. It is an arduous process of beginning, restarting and continuing to stay committed that is not an easy one, filled with lots of noise and distraction. The loudest interruption is you simply getting in your own way.
2. Everyone has it – a voice, a unique point of view, story and perspective. Trust your voice and commit to using it daily by believing that you have a unique story that is waiting to heard. I’ve witnessed transformation firsthand in my two decades performing, developing, teaching and producing talent in comedy. I believe the quietest voice inside of us becomes louder when we make a discovery that takes us off guard. Something unexpected happens, you are devastated, surprised or given a furlough that arrests you for a moment to pay attention, settle in a new space and make a new choice. That’s what happened to me and finally brought me to writing this blog – honoring and listening to my truth. I’ll remind you what I tell countless artists and professionals; no one can tell your story except you. You must be your own cheerleader.
3. Ask yourself the tough questions and embrace the uncomfortable. The first time I arrived at “my truth” it was the hard way –sitting on the floor of a jail cell in my twenties, searching the crevices for tiny bugs that would crawl on me if I fell asleep without one eye open. Isolation was incredibly tough especially for a long period of time visiting four women’s minimum security camps(yes, we’ll dive more in to that later.). I thought I might be going stir crazy playing detective or too many psychology classes from college coming into play as I contemplated my young adult choices, tracking each past encounter, intimate relationship as a brain puzzle on how did I end up in the worst predicament of my life. Questions would surface and suddenly disappear. My biggest and most startling question? What do I do now and how will I survive? Everything important in my life depended on this simple question. The difference between now and then (the young girl sitting on the jail floor putting the pieces of her life together vs. the mother of two with a career in comedy)? In the past, I was clueless on how to navigate unknown territory, but somehow (through a lot physical, emotional and spiritual soul searching) I stuck it out and survived. Today, I know that the sweet reward lives in the unknown if we kick fear in the face and tough it out. Writing my truth on pad and paper was and still is a ritual of kicking fear in the face. Truth will certainly, undoubtedly set you free (as corny as it may sound). This is the truth mantra that a mother of two repeats over and over: “this too shall pass…and you are bigger than your obstacle.” This is what I want to share with you. Heck, I want to shout it and yell it in your face in hopes you hear this truth and face the power what it really means to be uncomfortable. Make sense?
TRUTH IS CALLING YOU....
The blog you are reading is my unraveling of those questions from the past to my future now that I’m sharing with you – my truth telling discoveries and musings I made from the stage, classroom, boardroom, and many uncomfortable spaces including jail. This blog is my attempt to shackle my “WHY” in comedy, inclusion and this adventurous journey that has taken me to heaven, hell and back. You’ll also read excerpts from my memoir (the one I’m currently writing) that has haunted and followed me for years (Spoiler alert: I’ve included a sample below) and take a delicious peek at my process of writing, creating, producing truth in comedy. I’ve worked with a multitude of talented and funny artists (maybe some of you reading this) during different stages of their journey. You’ll meet some of them here to mix things up. They’ll share their truth with you!
May the writing, interviews and stories inspire YOU to dig deep, embrace your creative and innate power and never lose sight of it. May it fuel your curiosity to take a class or mentor session with me, ask a question, or remind you to keep running for the gold on your creative journey. There’s one thing for certain; it’s calling you, just as mine calls me every single day. You must listen to it and act boldly. You are heroines and heroes who must battle in this lifetime and rise to your next adventure. Now is your time. Let’s adjust those bootstraps, eh? Tighten and loosen.
The clock is ticking and “it ain’t mine to keep” (so I’ve been told). Keep reading and pick up your mother-f-ing sword.
If you’d like to explore ways to harness using your voice and “Telling Your Truth”, JOIN ME at my upcoming online Story Studio Chicago class this fall beginning October 5th. Details can be found here.
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Sunday, September 8, 1996Today, I spent my birthday in jail. No plans to make in jail. I just want it to be peaceful and happy. The girls sang Happy B-day. Yvette slid me an extra danish for breakfast under my cell door and Katherine and Graciella sang their wishes in Spanish. Despite my surroundings, I feel good. Of course there are a million other places I’ve love to be celebrating, but that time will come. I have much to look forward to. Today, I’m thankful that I am alive, healthy, stronger and wiser. I’ve prayed to God to make me the person I was born to be.
Wednesday, October 2, 1996 – Sentence DayI woke up about twenty minutes before the deputy flicked on the light. I feel excited and calm. Excited that I’m going to see all of my friends and family; calm, that something good will go in my favor. I’m not going to receive the maximum time for this drug conspiracy. I feel it in my heart.
6:15am: I’m escorted to the bull pen with a few other women going to court. There’s about 13 of us jammed into a small space.
7:30am: I’m transferred to an elevator downstairs for our clothing exchange. It feels amazing to have my personal clothes back on – skirt, blouse, shoes, and nylons on instead of green uniforms.
8:15am: Marshalls shackled us around the belly, wrists and ankles. Uncomfortable, but bearable.
10:00am: Chris, my attorney comes to talk to me about the sentencing procedure.
11:00am: I enter an elevator to head upstairs to Honorable Friedman’s courtroom.
To my surprise, an overwhelming amount of supporters filled up the entire courtroom – my Second City cast, family, friends, my beau Jeff. There is a gallery of love. Amazing. My cast mate, Angela is doing the running man dance in her seat to keep me smiling and not crying. It’s working.
Sunday, November 6, 19968 glasses of water today
300 crunches, leg squats and exercises
Meditation – focus on the present circumstance to achieve future goals. Visualize success.
Worked on song, ” One of these days…”
One of these days, I ‘m gonna be free
One of these days, I’m gonna do just like I want to
One of these days, I’m gonna be free
Fight on just a little while longer
Pray on just a little while longer
Hold on just a little while longer
Everything’s gonna be alright
Grabbing a snack…I’ll be back with more writing. ~DGI