photo of Darren Rowse from the official WDS photos by Joshua Seaman
When I went to WDS earlier this month, I didn't expect to have a "dreams come true" moment. Actually, I thought I would have a good time because I loved listening to the speakers last year and I thought they would be inspiring again, but I had already decided I probably wouldn't want to go back again because, wow, 3000 people was going to feel like a lot, probably too much.
It is so good to be wrong sometimes.
Instead, this group of almost 3000 people felt like one of the most open-hearted, real, delightful, truly amazing group of people I've ever been around.
And I'm not kidding.
Now on to the dream part.
Darren Rowse was the second speaker on Saturday. Wisdom + vulnerability + real stories of when things weren't going so great and how that brought him to this place of living his dreams were just the right blend of, well, awesome that I needed to hear.
The topic of living your dreams can run the risk of being "cheesy" (even though I believe cheesy is often an access point to vulnerability). Too much about "living your dreams" can just not apply to your audience because sometimes stories of dreams coming true are filled with "luck" and "the people you know" instead of actual examples of working hard and staying open even when it seems impossible and so on.
Darren's talk had me laughing and tearing up and feeling my heart crack open even more when it comes to a few big dreams I've been holding close and talking around for a long time. And when he asked us to turn to the person next to us and share a dream we have, I turned to Lori and these words tumbled out, "I want to give speeches in front of audiences of 3000 people." And quietly, to myself, I added, "I want to remind them that they aren't alone as they find their way."
I remember Lori said something like, "I really believe you are on your way to living that dream Liz."
Then Claire Bowditch came on stage and sang, "Amazing Life," and I couldn't stop the tears (guessing I wasn't alone.)
About 30 minutes later, we were back in our seats after a break when Chris shared we would be seeing the trailers for the two movies that would play during breakout sessions at WDS.
My body stilled completely for a second as I processed this. The Indie Kindred trailer would be playing. On the huge screen. In front of 3000 people. Right now.
As in I was about to tell 3000 people that they will feel less alone when they open themselves up and tell their stories.
Somehow I had missed this on the schedule.
so that's my little family on the big screen at WDS. yep.
And there I was alongside the other amazing women in the film...walking with my family to our favorite bakery...sharing my secret dream of having t-shirts with "poet" on them so we can recognize one another...and talking about the magic that happens when you share your story through your art, your music, your words...how that will help you feel less alone.
So that was something.
Dream come true. Check.
But here's the best part of the story. As I was tearing up and having this moment, my husband was sending me two texts.
The edited version reads like this:
Transitions are ******* hard today.
But she's using the big potty again.
Because this is what life is: beautiful and real. There is the beauty and the shit. There are big dreams coming true alongside real lives being lived. We are all human doing our human thing. We are all finding our way.
So big dreams are coming true over here. Ellie is learning and using the big potty. I am continuing to find different ways to tell my story and create space for others to do the same. And really, we are all finding our way together.
Gosh I love this life.
Director of Indie Kindred and my dear friend Jen is currently on the road in an awesome blend of beauty and real as she takes her two girls with her on a trip to show the film in cities around the US. Check here to see if there is a showing near you.
And WDS really was that great. As in I'm already signed up to go again next year. There are lots of other stories from attendees that can you read here. Next wave of signups will be this fall. You should come.