My mother used to tell me fantastical stories about how when I was 4 years old, I’d rush home from Kindergarten with WILD stories about my day. Breathless, I could barely get out a syllable, as my mother tried to coach me and talk me down from that high that I’d get fabricating detailed stories about the spider that I saw that scared me to death or the stupid things the kids in class would say. Imagine that big, brown-eyed little girl with wavy pig-tails and skinny, little legs…weaving tales of comedy and tragedy all in the span of a few precious moments.
I always gave each character in the story a voice. Usually, very close to their own authentic voice… You always knew who was talking.
It was around that time that I began my collection of Barbies. I didn’t know it at the time, but we grew up relatively poor. We didn’t have proper jeans or brand name shoes. Anything we wanted - my father or mother would make. Doll houses, Barbie clothes, a swing set like the one in the Sears catalog, etcetera. I would ask for a REAL Barbie for every holiday… until I amassed over a hundred, including a pool, a dog, a couple of horses, a Barbie McDonald’s, an apartment (we never could afford a Dreamhouse) and generations of dolls from Happy Birthday Barbie to Western Ken. I had all of the great ones - because my parent’s really did actually love me.
My sisters would sit and watch me play Barbies. I would make them laugh, I would make them cry, my stories became a part of them. They had first and last names, relatives they couldn’t date, friends from out of town, and all kinds of Telenovela-style storylines that made for a very fun childhood. In fact, I played Barbies’ until I was thirteen years old (is that bad?).
I didn’t know I loved storytelling because I just did it. It was woven within everything I did. One time, for my senior project in High School, I created a Russian Puppet Show for the story “The Snowmaiden” complete with sets, props and puppets I created myself. I filmed it myself. I mixed and mastered it myself (meaning, I played the cassette player with the music while video taping the show… and then paused, rewind, record, etc. they way we used to do it in the 1980’s and 1990’s).
Because I was a practical person, and didn’t want to starve to death, I went into Electrical Engineering like my dad, in college. Little did I know, that I’d continue acting and storytelling my way through my corporate career until I quit my last Engineering job in Manhattan on that fateful day in 2015.
Why do I love storytelling? Because it is a part of me. It’s one of the only things I’ve ever loved, and it’s one of the few things that made my father laugh his face off (may he Rest in Power) and I’m sure, made me his favorite kid.