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Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Mar 17, 2015

Nica Williams: The High School Slam

by Nica Williams

RISK! If I had to think of one word to describe how I felt when signing my name on the paper to join the after school moth program, it would be risk. The thought of telling a story in front my schoolmates who I’ll be seeing the next day was risky. I wasn’t too sure if I was going to be judged or people would even listen. But I took a risk and signed away because this was a chance to unfold a different side of me.

First two weeks was very exciting and fun. Our Moth instructors, Catherine and Micaela welcomed us with their uplifting spirit. The chips, cookies and healthy snacks they surprised us with weekly or 5 minutes of WOOSH along with other silly warm-up games brought comfort in the atmosphere. By then, we were all comfortable to trust each other with our stories. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” ……Moth translation “What’s being said in this room, stays in this room unless you ask the person for permission” was a promise we all kept amongst ourselves.

Within the third week, nerves came falling in because by then we all had our story. The story EVERYONE would hear. The story we were inviting about 100 ears to keep. I personally didn’t have as much nerves as everyone else because I made a choice of telling a story that wasn’t too personal. But others didn’t feel as confident as I did. “I got your back” followed with a gentle tap on the back by the whole team was a gesture that traced us back to being relaxed whenever we felt too nervous.

On show day, it was different from most shows. We didn’t have anything to practice because our stories aren’t made to be memorized or to be perfect. We were ready for the stage as long as we followed the story arch we were given in rehearsal. However notes from Catherine and Micaela shuffled in my head. “Remember to mention.” “Speak more of…” “Giver he/she a name.” “Make that part more clear…” Keeping our notes in mind and having our first and last line couldn’t prepare us any better for show time.

My favorite part of it all was being called up to tell my story. My name was called as if I was on “The price is right” followed by a bunch of cheers and support from the audience. As I got up on stage and positioned my microphone it was an ease to know that looking out into the crowd, my slam mates sitting in the front was only visible. Everyone else was drowned in the lights. By the time I said my first line, I was already dazed into the story as if I was in the moment, reliving the memory. The silence, laughter and awe of the audience followed my story until my last line. I was relieved. Not because it was all over but a relief that I got my story out and people listened.

The whole experience was thrilling and very memorable. It was a story to tell itself. I didn’t question the fact of doing it all over again. This time I didn’t take a risk when writing my name down on the paper. I took an opportunity. The thought of telling my story in front my schoolmates was an opportunity. Everyone has a story to tell and we tell stories each and every day but not everyone gets a chance to listen to our stories. There’s an acceptance and understanding when others listen to what you have to say. It feels as if I made them understand the person I was before and accept the person I am today. So that’s exactly how I would define The Moth High School Slam, as a opportunity to have others listen to a piece of you.


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