I realized years ago that my stories often touch people in a profound way, even the insane ones that may seem like they’re just pure entertainment. People, especially women, have been coming up to me after shows for years now, saying “I do that too!” or “Thank you for making me realize I’m not crazy.” But when my hour-long domestic violence story on Risk! blew up, I couldn’t deny the true impact of story. I started getting emails and tweets and comments on this blog from men and women I’ve never met, all telling me how much my story educated them, comforted them, inspired them, or sometimes even lit a fire under their asses, leading them to make pretty drastic changes in their lives. That’s when I knew I should probably change gears here. I know I’m funny. Jokes are easy for me. And entertaining people with my dark humor is what I’ve done for over a decade professionally, and much longer for fun.
But something was missing. A more profound purpose for it all.
While I feed off the energy of audiences when I’m on stage, I’d been wishing for awhile that I could have an open dialogue with the people out there. Having spent most of my 20’s teaching and mentoring adolescents in the outdoors and guiding people of all ages on adventures through the wilderness, I missed having a more personal connection with the people I’m possibly influencing. Surely there was a way to combine 7 years of outdoor leadership with my ten years of comedy and storytelling.
Indeed, there is. Public speaking.
So I’m taking these skills out into different settings now. Public speaking has given me a way to combine the light-hearted, fun spirit of storytelling, humor, and sarcasm with profound, thought-provoking insights and take aways. If the event is small enough, I can even engage in open dialogue, group participation, and questions. Having been such a self-destructive adolescent and young woman myself, I thoroughly enjoy helping men, women, and teenagers navigate the scary, sometimes dangerous world of dating, relationships, and hookup culture. It took me decades to unlearn old stories and forge new ones based on respecting myself and, therefore, demanding the respect of others. It’s such a stupid cliche, but totally true—you can’t love others or contribute much to society if you’re too busy hating your own guts and imploding.
After a lot of masochism and hard work, I finally learned how to trust my intuition and treat myself with respect. I try to help others figure out how to do that too.
If you want to book me for a speaking event or as a guest lecturer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest lecturer at NY Film Academy in LA.
Professional speaker at Northeastern University, Boston