listen to your mother and watch what she does

I have come to realize that I am truly an exact mix of my two parents. There are so many things that I see come from my father and so many things that I see come from my mother. I have even had the ongoing experience (especially while growing up, while people are wont to declare who you most look like, for some reason), of being told equally that I look JUST like my father and that I look JUST like my mother. I have no doubt that when their DNA mixed, the genes expressed themselves in a perfect 50/50 split, and in the true Piscean way, as the sensitive, psychic sponge that I am, I absorbed their two personalities equally — for the good and the lesser.

One of the things I picked up from my mom was the habit of really cleaning the house when guests were expected, especially when we were going to have a party. Our house was never dirty or filthy, but we definitely had some piles of clutter going here and there. I am supremely grateful for this, as it has given me a high tolerance for the day-to-day workings of life. In all the ways I can OCD, neat freaking is *not* one of them, and I’d rather it that way than the other.

But when company was expected, the cleaning was kicked into high gear. It was time to grab dusting cloths and find places for those things that had been floating around, aimless. It was not a time to be caught reading a book.

My sister was always Mom’s eager helper, and I was always tagged the lazy gadabout, preferring the aforementioned book or some compelling piece of Saturday morning Smurifitude. Why this mad rush? These people came to our house all the time. They were our friends. They weren’t going to check to see if we dusted. The only chore I truly could get behind, literally and figuratively, was vacuuming, which gave me a satisfaction I couldn’t quite explain.

But somewhere, this practice of purposeful party cleaning, and many others, got embedded in my “this is how you do things” file. I learned that one of the best ways to get my whole house completely clean was to throw a party. Suddenly, the piles of clutter found homes, the bathroom got a much-needed scrub down, dishes were done, and a broom/vacuum/mop were employed throughout the entire apartment. Magic!

I may not have listened to my mother then, but somewhere I saw what she did and filed it away for future reference.

Listen To Your Mother is a nationally produced show that happens around Mother’s Day. You submit a piece, you audition, and you get cast. And by you, I mean, me. Really, I can’t quite believe it. I heard about it last year, and I thought, “How great is that?” And as I am known to do, I just sort of left it there, in the ether. I just found out it sold out in a week, so now I feel a little less badly about not getting a ticket.

This year, when I heard that submissions were coming due, I decided that YES, I was really going to send one in.  Why not? I’m always watching my fellow co-workers at Second City directing and acting and auditioning and DOING things. Being wildly successful. Kicking some major ass. And when I’m sitting on the sidelines just *knowing* I am or could be as good as they are, there is that dual small voice in my head that whispers …

One is the still, small voice that I know is the “God voice.” The “higher power voice.” The “universe voice.” The “soul voice.” The “essence of Jocelyn voice.” Call it what you will. It wants what’s best for me. It says, “You are as good as they are. You just need to take some action.” It says this without judgment and with kindness and love. It encourages me and wants me to be happy and have good things. It knows that I have value regardless if I am on a stage or if I am smiling at a customer through a box office. Intrinsically, I am good.

The other is a small, petty voice. It is my ego. It is Jocelyn with a CAPITAL J.  It embodies the always tossed around phrase “egomaniac with an inferiority complex.” And it says, “You’re too old to do anything. All these young kids have their whole lives ahead of them. Why bother trying to catch up to them? What are you trying to prove? No one will ever believe that you have talent anyway …” The fact that that voice rambles on and on and on and never shuts up is a good indicator of which voice it is. It is a sign to mentally walk away and DO something rather than stay in my head.

So I did. I stayed true to my promise and I took the action and I sent in a submission. And I was called to audition. And despite the fact that I have been VERY sick, I managed to work all that sort of audition business out and I have been chosen as a cast member for this year’s Listen To Your Mother Chicago.  We are performing Sunday, May 5, at 2:00 p.m.

I will let you know when tickets go on sale. Although the theater is much bigger than last year, we are going to sell this one out, too. So, I hope to see you all there. I think. Backing away from the voices, now …


5 thoughts on “listen to your mother and watch what she does

  1. You had me at “Saturday morning Smurfitude”.

    Keep listening to your “God voice”. Can’t wait to see you read to a packed theater!

  2. Read this while watching The Smurfs movie with my daughter 🙂 So glad that you listened to your “God voice” and so happy that you could overcome the germs to audition. Looking forward to meeting you at the first rehearsal!

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