I know you all know that already.
Anyone who has known me longer than about 5 minutes can ascertain that pretty quickly. But I have only recently claimed that title and begun to own it. I haven’t always borne the title of ‘storyteller’ with the confidence that you read in my words online, and see live in action if you see me on the daily. There are a few factors that led to my confidence in this life that I lead (I’m looking at you, Roblyer), but I’m going to focus on 1 in particular.
If you too are a storyteller (or even someone who just loves stories!), and haven’t discovered the 88 Cups of Tea podcast… run, don’t walk, and subscribe. Yin Chang started this podcast 4 years ago, and it has become so much more than just something to listen to every other Thursday.
If you tuned in to the 100th episode 2 years ago, you’ve already heard this story, but I’m going to tell it again anyway.
2 years and 4ish months ago, I walked out of a ballet rehearsal, got into my little yellow car, and promptly began bawling.
My artistic life felt like a mess, and I was so.tired. of grinding for everyone around me. My students loved me (and I adore each of them to this day and I always will!), but I didn’t have enough of me to give to them due to just how much I was teaching to make ends meet at home. I had a place in a professional theatre company, but I was so worn out from teaching and being a mom that I couldn’t give my roles the devotion they deserved. I wanted SO BADLY to write a novel and be just like my dad (cause duh, he’s the best!), but between dance recitals and preparing for summer camp season, I had nothing left. There was no creative juice for ME; I just kept pouring and pouring, making the dreams of everyone around me a reality while (mostly) setting aside my own aspirations.
My mother-in-law was in town that day, watching Eli so that I could go watch the ballet dancers work through ‘Don Quixote’. She’s a gracious woman, but arriving home in the state that I was in wasn’t a good idea for anyone, so I decided to head to the gym and hop on an elliptical until I was too tired to cry anymore. I knew that if I was going to shake it off, I needed to listen to something other than my angsty work out music, so I decided to search for my favorite author in the podcast section of Spotify (Sarah J Maas). 88 Cups of Tea popped up first. I hit ‘play’ and hopped onto the exercise machine.
I stayed on that elliptical for the entire hour and 23 minutes of Sarah’s episode. I was hooked! Yin was so warm, and my favorite author? She… was… NORMAL! Being an author someday started seeming like less and less of a pipe dream, and started shaping into a hope that could fit into my reality. By the time I left the gym, I felt like my own cup of creativity was less empty.
That was the night that things started to change. I began to shift my focus from teaching and performing (although I still do both of those things, and love them!). I didn’t dive headlong into writing a novel, although I do have one started that I will finish. No, my path has led me somewhere that surprised me.
Remember how I’ve been making noises about my copywriting business? That wouldn’t exist without 88 Cups of Tea. Between listening to Yin’s interviews with authors, agents, and a whole host of storytellers in the industry, somehow I stumbled upon copywriting. Here it was; my niche. The thing I excelled at. I did not see that coming at all, but here I am! Telling stories on the daily, and loving every minute of it.
I owe so much to this amazing community of storytellers, and Yin; our loving “camp counselor” of a sort. 88 Cups of Tea has become a part of my life in ways I don’t fully know how to describe. The podcast itself is precious to me, yes. But the community it has birthed is a gem that I never want to be without ever again. We are friends, confidants, cheerleaders, counselors, and a whole host of other roles for one another. I made it through the early days of Zelda’s life by communicating with my fellow storytellers while trapped under a sleeping infant. They kept me sane, and helped me stay connected to the outside world while still bonding with the littlest Curly.
Anyhow, happy birthday 88 Cups of Tea! I love you (Yin <3), and I hope you continue to thrive for many more birthdays to come!