I am constantly on the lookout for unique events that will fascinate and maybe teach me a couple things. More and more, these events make a stop in Michigan like this year’s Hello Sunshine X Together Live tour.
A little background information. Hello Sunshine is Reese Witherspoon’s production company. She wants to share women’s stories with the world and I hope one day she will share some of mine. Together Live is a company bringing speaking events like this to the country.
I bought tickets like the moment they went on sale and invited my friend Sharyn to join me. she was just as excited as me, making me even more excited. Basically, we were super jazzed to meet up at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Like The Fillmore, it’s an old theater ornately decorated. It actually has several theaters all in the same venue and is smaller than the Fillmore, particularly in the lobby area.
We had plenty of time to catch up and then the show began promptly. Milck took the stage to open the show with a moving rendition of “Ooh Child.” Like many of the women who were a part of the show, I was unfamiliar with Milck, but I am so glad that changed. This was the first of her three emotional performances that brought a tear to my eye.
Jennifer Randolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor super agent, hosted the event. I wasn’t aware there would be a host, but it made sense and helped structure the evening. As a side note, I will be forever hopeful that somehow Jennifer will come back into my life to work her book magic on me.
Priya Parker spoke at the beginning of each half of the show. She spoke about community and asked probing questions to prove her point. The most thought provoking and focused upon asked whether or not we in the audience had ever wished we had spoken up at a time when we remained silent. I think everyone, most definitely including me, raised our hands.
A lot of the night, directly and indirectly, was about speaking up and standing up for ourselves, and though I went through a huge, twenty plus year phase of staying silent, that’s a habit I have largely outgrown. I am most of the time not afraid to speak up, though there are always moments when the fear about saying exactly the right thing creeps back in.
Following Priya was the group meeting about mantras. This was my favorite part of the evening. I was so inspired by their words, which included listen deeply enough to be changed by what you hear, hold the door open (metaphorically), speak up even if your voice shakes, we can do hard things, calm is the virtue of the strong, write your own screenplay, keep Zen and try again, I am overly ambitious because I can do anything. these are the words that will stick with me long after the night.
Jennifer sat down with Noor Tagouri who spoke about wanting to be a journalist and doing it despite being different from all the journalists she watched on TV. She has an infectious personality that makes you instantly like her. it’s easy to see how she made it despite the odds being against her.
Jillian Mercado chatted with Jennifer next. How she deals so elegantly with her disability is really something to see. She has such a positive attitude that really makes me think when I complain about little things. Like Noor, she defied the odds. Jillian wanted to be a model and so she became one. If that doesn’t make you want to stand up and yell you go girl, I don’t know what will.
Cameron Esposito is one of two of the evening’s guests I was familiar with. I will never again miss an opportunity to see her live as she had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt. To be able to share your story and teach a lesson or five through comedy is a gift. She taught us that it is okay for everyone to be different through a story about guacamole. Enough said.
A thirty minute intermission was a long pause to the action. For a two hour show, that did run a good half an hour over, this felt excessive, though I can’t really complain about having more time to catch up with Sharyn. It was nice that the show flowed naturally and did not end abruptly just because they had met their two hour promise.
After an original song from Milck about not fitting in Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle, married to each other, spoke. I didn’t expect to relate to Glennon as much as I did, but she was my favorite speaker of the night. I related deeply to her words and they, along with the mantras, are the ones I will remember for years to come in times both good and bad.
She spoke about the real meaning of bravery. How it is about standing up for your beliefs especially when you hold an unpopular opinion. She spoke about true love and that we all have something guiding us in our lives like God, intuition, or Sebastian … according to her friend. She spoke of how beginning from a young age, girls are taught to go with the flow, the masses, instead of just saying what they feel.
I think I already live by some of Glennon’s words, even though I had not heard them before. I will be sure to put them to practice in my life even more.
The evening wrapped up with another group meeting about misconceptions each of the ladies held at one time in their lives and how they learned the truth. Most of these had to do with being yourself. I guess that’s a lesson we all learn one way or another at one time or another.
One more song from Milck and a dance party to a P!nk song sent us all off in a great mood.
I loved this event. It was interesting and empowering. I do sometimes wish there were more concrete takeaways. It’s a lot of information that is often easier said than done. Still I am glad I went and would encourage any woman of any age or background to check out this event or a similar one in your area. Girls totally do run the world. And that’s how it should be.
PS Of course I had to wear Draper James … I mean, duh!