When I tell this story, it feels like ACTUAL Time Travel

Sitting in the packed room, I was trembling with nerves – and excitement. I’d been daydreaming about doing this for almost a year – and now it was actually happening!

After obsessively listening to every Moth story I could get my hands on, I’d spent months wondering what my story would be, if I ever told one on stage. At the time, this seemed like some kind of magical dream that might never happen – after all, The Moth was a show in New York; I lived in London. But I love a daydream, and so I continued to wonder. And figured it would most likely be something to do with my (very eccentric, mostly Russian) family.

I then discovered True Stories Told Live – a London show, inspired by the Moth, that had offshoots in other cities. I was a monthly attendee and massive fan and, after they’d seen me at every show, they’d ask me to tell my own story onstage.

There I was, about to finally do it. And when I did – telling the story you’re about to hear – I had the strangest feeling…

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You’re supposed to use it for your bum. Not for THIS.

“Perfect timing!” my mum cried, as I climbed back in the car, and shook my head at her.

We’d just spent 10 days in Thailand, babysitting my tiny niece, while my brother and his wife were away. I was leaving a few days before they got back, and had just checked in my bags at the airport. An airport, which is very close to a beach.

My mum – ever the maximiser, and the rule-breaker – had suggested that, having dropped off my suitcase, we jump back in the car, drive to the sea, and I have a quick, last swim, before I get on the plane.

I really like airports, and LOVE sitting around by myself, reading while waiting for a plane. But… once my mum gets what she thinks is a great idea in her head for something fun to do, if you don’t have a really good reason, it’s hard to dissuade her. So I was going for a quick, last swim, before I got on the plane.

Pulling up at the beach, I grabbed a towel, kicked off my flip-flops and, with my swimmers on underneath, pulled off my dress. Leaving my niece with my mum on the sand, as I clambered into the waves and shouted over my shoulder, “I’ll just plough up and down for five minutes!”

It wasn’t very deep, but the water was rough, so I stayed in the shallows. I figured I’d do a bit of breast-stroke, in one direction and then back, and keep my hair relatively dry before I got on the air conditioned plane for the 15 hour journey back to London. Just as I was thinking of wading back out –
THUNK-SWSH!

– a huge wave picked me up, and chucked me under the water.

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I met my hero. My hair looked like a wig. It did not start well.

“You don’t. Understand.”

I was using that gritted-teeth, quiet but solid tone of voice. The kind you use when you really, really want to scream your words out, but know that you can’t. In this case, I couldn’t because:

(1) I understood that she was just being nice and trying to help, and
(2) on some level, deep below the surface, I knew I was being wildly unreasonable.

It was Saturday night, and I was getting ready to meet my hero…

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What happened when I – a skeptic – did Horse Therapy

Sometimes, you’re in so much pain that you seem to push right through to the other side. It’s like your pain went 360 degrees around, and the wholeness feels almost as satisfying as it does wretched.

It was March and the coldest day of the year so far. The sun was shining fiercely, one of these perfect, crisp, Winter days we get in Ontario. My friend Jenn and I were driving through the countryside to her farm.

She’s a business buddy, a former therapist who now does Equine Therapy – therapy for people, using horses. I’d been curious about it ever since I read (one of my heroes) Martha Beck talk about it. But also, I was secretly a bit skeptical. I mean, it’s a horse. What can it do for me?

A few weeks before, I’d been telling Jenn that i…

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This small tweak makes people feel amazing (and is more fun for you!)

“Even as you’re telling me that everybody does this, I’m thinking, ‘Not me, I’m different’ – and that’s an example of me doing the exact thing you’re talking about!” I wailed.

“I know,” he said. “We all do it. It’s really hard not to.
“But if you can move beyond it, to level two – that’s when you can make a difference. So many people spend their whole lives talking at or with people but without ever really just being heard, so to connect at level two is to give a gift and fill a fundamental craving we all have.”

My friend Aaron was teaching me something new, and I was flipping out.
One of my FAVOURITE…

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Want (your dream) people to become obsessed with what you’re doing? Here’s how to make them care.

I have a crush, a fierce one. And I can’t say anything to the person who I have a crush on. And it’s killing me.

(no pun intended)

By “can’t”, I don’t mean what’s ordinarily meant in this situation, “I don’t want to”. I mean I literally can’t.

Because the crush I have is not…

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What I Learned from being a Zombie Nun Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance

I bit my lip, and hit “reply” to the text message.

‘That sounds exciting and scary’, I wrote. ‘Can I think about it and let you know?’

My friend Erin had just asked whether I would join her to be a Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance.

Queer Slow Dance is a regular night in Toronto (and Montreal) that pretty much does what it says on the tin. And my job as a Designated Dancer would be to spend two hours asking strangers to slow dance with me, gently easing the wallflowers from their seats and helping them to feel included.

It sounded terrifying.

Partly because of the concept. Slow dancing isn’t really a thing we DO in the UK. My only experience was once, at my summer camp, when a Much Older Boy asked me if I’d slow dance with him. I remember finding it awkward and a bit too grown up to be comfortable.
But I was most scared of having to walk up to strangers and ask them to dance.

What if they say no?

What if EVERYONE says no?…

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What I Learned From Trying To Make Friends In A New City

They were perfect. Both of them. Exactly what I was looking for.

I sat, pretending to work on my computer. Listening to what they were saying. Trying not to laugh out loud at their jokes. Stealing glances when I could.

The two girls seemed to have known each other a while. As far as I could gather, one was some sort of designer or artist. The other worked for a non-profit. They were lefties, like me. They both dressed really well.

Picking up my mug to sip, I daydreamed. Imagine if I was brave enough to do what I really wanted to? I’d get up from my rustic chair, stroll across the cafe to their table, and stand above them.

“Excuse me”, I’d smile. “Sorry to interupt. I’ve been over there, listening to bits of your conversation. You both seem great. I love your clothes and you’re both really funny. Would either of you like to hang out sometime? I don’t mind which one. I’m new in town and looking for friends. Do you fancy being one of mine?”.

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