“Each of us is full of too many wheels, screws and valves to permit us to judge one another on a first impression or by two or three external signs.”
– Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
Just one month ago, I “met” the cast of Listen to Your Mother through a blog post. Shortly thereafter, we connected through a Facebook group and most of my knowledge of my castmates came in the form of what they posted and a picture the size of my pinkie nail. I began to catch up on their blogs, “introduce” myself through comments on posts, and find a way to connect with these women through a computer. Some of them I knew in real life, but most of them I didn’t. Then, I had the privilege of hearing all about them through their own words and slightly larger pictures.
As rehearsal neared, I met one or two more in person, but still had only faint first impressions based on what had been shared on websites. I found butterflies growing and realized it had little to do with performing and more to do with “what would they think of me? Would I like them?!” It’s easy to create a persona online, but it’s much more difficult to be genuine to who you are in person. I then realized that we would all be sharing these intimate stories of motherhood – some sharing things they had never told anyone – and the weight of just what I was a part of began to settle on me.
The nervous laughter, the “Hi, I’m so and so” conversations, and the pointed questions about show logistics. With little time to for chit-chat, we began our first rehearsal. In each three to five minute piece, I finally “met” these women again and was instantly blown away. Gone were the first impressions based on a few Facebook likes and shared Internet memes. Gone were my perceptions of who would fall into the serious and funny categories. Gone were my ideas about what each person may talk about (especially those women I know in real life). What I experienced in that room was nothing short of motherhood in the raw. A natural grouping of people experiencing motherhood and daughterhood in their own unique way. Laughter, tears, and all of it beautiful.
First impressions are just that. An instant idea about someone’s past, present, and future. My experience with motherhood is just that – a first impression. Come experience motherhood again and again through fresh eyes and new hearts seeing it in a light you never thought possible.