After my yoga class this past Friday night, one of my students came up to me. At the end of my classes, I always say “let me know if you have any questions.” Expecting a yoga question, I was slightly thrown when she asked me “what did you think of ToldCLE?” And in one of those rare moments of my life, I was speechless.
If you’re not familiar with ToldCLE, Told is a “live storytelling event in Cleveland, Ohio. At each live show, featured storytellers and audience members take the stage to tell a story around the evening’s theme.” (from their website, toldstories.com)
My previous ToldCLE event experience was via the Ohio Blogging Association gathering at Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar in April for our own private blogger event. My blogger gal pal coordinated that meet up with ToldCLE’s founder, Dave Sabol, in order for a fun evening where getting up in front of a room of familiar faces was no big deal.
But then a few months later, Dave reached out to me to see if I was interested in being one of the featured speakers at the August Told public event. I said “yes” before I had a chance to really think about what I just got myself into.
As extroverted as I am, it may be hard to believe that I get incredibly nervous about public speaking in formal settings. Even after years of performing as a child and after earning my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, the stage fright that I developed upon my arrival at Baldwin-Wallace College still slightly lives with me and appears when a podium and microphone are in my future.
Dave would share that the theme of the evening would be “Vindicated” and encouraged all to consider moments of their lives when they either were vindicated — or when they were on the opposite side i.e. “I was wrong.” I had to admit I struggled at first — I’m not one to shove it in someone’s face with a “ah ha, I’m right!” I chewed and chewed on the theme trying to figure out the POV that would give me the inspiration to stand (terrified) in front of that crowd on August 12th at Market Garden Brewery.
And then it came to me: what if my tale was about the exact thing I was trying to overcome by participating in this event? My ToldCLE story of persevering my stage fright took shape quickly. Armed with witty antidotes, a few family and friends as audience members and a healthy amount of nerves, I was as ready as I was going to be.
Much like many things I fret over, my six minutes flew by as the very supportive Told audience smiled, laughed and even applauded as I triumphantly said that Told was giving me another opportunity to take a progression in overcoming my stage fright. And how glad am I that I did!
The rest of the evening was filled with amazing, mostly hilarious, tales of vindication — a school teacher’s encounter with a student, a high schooler auditioning for the Lakewood Rangerettes, a higher education employee having the last laugh over her boss, and fellow feature speaker Jack Ricchiuto’s tale of that time he was robbed at gunpoint, leaving us all with my favorite quote of the night:
That evening, Dave shared that the September ToldCLE gathering would be crossing the Cuyahoga River to head east to Coventry for a FREE workshop and performance double header as they partner with Lake Erie Ink on Friday, September 18th. The free workshop at Lake Erie Ink headquarters will start at 6:30pm with a performance at 8pm at the B Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade. Save the date and be there, CLE!
LONG STORY SHORT: I finally found the words to answer my yoga student that Friday night — Told is incredibly special. We’re lucky to have Dave and friends coordinating such a unique opportunity for Clevelanders to develop the skills around and enjoy an art form like storytelling. This is a “must attend” event (in my opinion) and I highly encourage you check out a Told event soon — you may even find yourself behind the microphone sharing your own story.
Many thanks again to Dave & ToldCLE for this opportunity. Keep up-to-date by following @toldCLE on Twitter and visiting toldstories.com, and RSVP for the September 18th performance here.
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