Things My Parents Never Told Me – The Understory

Here is the beautiful summary of the stories told at March’s Tenx9 by co-host Cary Gibson. Our theme was “Things My Parents Never Told Me.”

 

Our thanks to tonight’s storytellers: Miriam Mimms, Ben Sawyer, Suha Ahmad, Kari Hoffman, Kate Gazaway, Joshua Hurley, Zach Swann, Sawyer Wallace & Kristen Chapman Gibbons.

In a world of increasing digital connection, there’s something precious about the experience of hearing real stories in real time, face to face. Tonight, the stories once again ran the full emotional spectrum. They called to mind, as Tenx9 Nashville stories often do, one of my favorite poems, “On Joy & Sorrow” by Kahlil Gibran,

Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”

And he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

 

Tonight your stories of Things My Parents Never Told Me drew once again from that deep human well:

My parents never told me how my mother, the writer, killed Ralph, my pet rat, out of her love for me. Nor did they come right out and tell me that my father was gay. I’d figured that out on my own. And that was just fine. They never told me how to bring up children amidst the confusing & scary mythical narratives of multicultural America without traumatizing us all into family therapy. I had to learn for myself that wanting something you might not get & having the persistence to achieve it anyway is a really good thing to want & do. My parents never told me that my businessman father was once a nomadic, hippie cowboy who was afraid of disappointing his parents & didn’t have it altogether & that I don’t need to know where I am headed either. My mother never told me of the strength it took to stand in the reality of my death and not lose faith that I would live. At 6, my parents never mentioned that alongside taxes, the one guarantee in life was death, even if I did become a video game testing pirate. Nor that my dad’s obsessive fear for his kids was born of silent grieving for my baby brother to be who never came & who I still don’t know how to grieve myself. My parents never told they’d not been to the theatre until I was on the stage, nor how to be out in the world & also of it, living without certainty.

These are your stories. Thank you for sharing them. It’s a privilege to hear & bear witness to them.

Cary.

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