TELLING MY TRUTH OUT LOUD by Cara Jones

Knees shaking. Heart pounding. “What are you doing?!” my thoughts spin as I sit in the back row at a MOTH Story Slam. I just put my name in a hat to tell my most personal story in public. Like maybe two-hundred-people public.

My name is called to a microphone on an empty stage. The story I’ve been working on for five years in writing, speaking, and filming is calling. All of it unexpressed. Just. Like. Me. Until this moment.

I have five minutes.

My legs wobble as I walk up on stage. With hands clenched behind my back and a shaky voice, I begin to tell my story.

“It’s the summer of 1995 and I’m standing in the Seoul Olympic Stadium holding the hand of a man I met just a month before, and am about to marry,” I hear my voice trembling through the microphone.

I was always the shy girl growing up. Waited to be asked questions. Never raised my hand. Never talked back. Never wanted to make anyone uncomfortable. But this story was about to make me and others, including my family, just that.

I can barely breathe as I continue explaining my upbringing in the Unification Church, including my participation in a mass wedding and arranged marriage when I was 20. How there, on the Astro Turf floor of the Seoul Olympic Stadium, I committed to marrying a man I’d met just a month before. How Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church I was raised in, officiated the wedding and had matched me and my then-husband using 8×10 photographs. How I ultimately left the marriage and broke from my parents and the church.

This story was one that, in the past, I could only tell in dark corners of bars.

“Stay quiet, stay small, stay perfect,” I’d tell the story.

“Speak it, get it out of you, TELL YOUR F&^&@# STORY” it would yell back.

It took me years of pillow bashing and talk therapy and countless storytelling workshops to become the woman who could finally stand in its truth.

The ripple effect of excavating and telling this story resulted in the documentary film Blessed Child (premiering two years later at DOC NYC in 2019) and inspired my current story coaching business.

I believe a powerful story is determined not by how dramatic it is, but by how much truth it holds inside. I now support others in excavating and sharing these truths and untethering their voices. The writing, businesses, projects, awareness, and healing born out of this truth telling has taken my breath away.

As I exited the Moth stage that night, I felt as if I had left a five ton burden on it. My story was no longer mine. It was everyone’s. The feeling I felt on my way home that night wasn’t elation, but something I hadn’t felt in all those years of holding my story back.

Hello, freedom.

Cara Jones is a former Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, founder of Storytellers for Good and story coach. Her current story coaching work was born out of a seven year journey of telling her own story through the documentary film, Blessed Child. Cara now helps entrepreneurs untether their voices through the telling of their deepest personal stories, wisdom and truth. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Huff Post, The Moth and Boston Globe.

 

FULL CIRCLE by Terri Lyne Carrington

Teri Lyne Carrington

A story about being a jazz drumming protege in a male-dominated music world . . .

Read her personal story, and many more, in the new book.
Released in August, 2022
Dare to be Fabulous: Follow the journeys
of daring women on the path to finding their true north 

“This book holds together the power women find when they are honest and courageous and truthful. Some of these stories moved me to tears, others made me believe in humanity again, many I could identify with. This book brought me tremendous joy, insight and brought me back to believe in the human spirit.”

~ JULIANNA MARGULIES, multiple award-winning actor and author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

ABOUT TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON 

Terri Lyne Carrington was given her first set of drums at the age of seven. By the age of 11, she received a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She has toured with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Al Jarreau and others. She is also a three-time GRAMMY award-winning artist and producer. She is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.

MRS. SPOOK, SPAIN, 1965 by Lillian McCloy

Lillian McCloy

A story about assisting her husband, a CIA officer, by trailing a suspected Russian spy . . .

Read her personal story, and many more, in the new book.
Released in August, 2022
Dare to be Fabulous: Follow the journeys
of daring women on the path to finding their true north 

“This book holds together the power women find when they are honest and courageous and truthful. Some of these stories moved me to tears, others made me believe in humanity again, many I could identify with. This book brought me tremendous joy, insight and brought me back to believe in the human spirit.”

~ JULIANNA MARGULIES, multiple award-winning actor and author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

ABOUT LILLIAN MCCLOY

Lillian McCloy was the wife of a deep undercover CIA officer during the Cold War. This story is an excerpt from her memoir, Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant, which was published shortly after she turned 90 years old. John le Carré describes the book as “a charming and unusual portrait of the secret life.” Her memoir averages 4.5-stars from nearly 100 reader ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. 

WHY I BECAME A BUDDHIST by Pema Chödrön (a story told on video)

In this six-minute clip, Pema Chödrön candidly and humorously shares the story of her broken marriage and how it ultimately led her on the path to becoming a Buddhist nun. 

Note: This is the only Dare to be Fabulous story that was featured on video. It remains on the website while the book is prepared for publication in Summer, 2022.

Good Medicine by Pema Chödrön. Copyright © 1999 Pema Chödrön. All rights reserved. Used with permission from Sounds True, Inc., Boulder, CO

ABOUT PEMA CHÖDRÖN

Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936 in New York City. She began studying Buddhism in her mid-thirties and became a novice nun in 1974. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full bikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong. Since 1984, Chödrön has been the director of Gampo Abbey, a Tibetan monastery for Western monks and nuns in Nova Scotia. She is also the author of many popular books, including The Wisdom of No Escape, When Things Fall Apart, and The Things that Scare You. 

GO WITH THE FLOW by Karen Wolf-Schneider

Go with the Flow

A story about leaving city life to live in a sailboat on international waters . . .

Read her personal story, and many more, in the new book.
Released in August, 2022
Dare to be Fabulous: Follow the journeys
of daring women on the path to finding their true north 

“This book holds together the power women find when they are honest and courageous and truthful. Some of these stories moved me to tears, others made me believe in humanity again, many I could identify with. This book brought me tremendous joy, insight and brought me back to believe in the human spirit.”

~ JULIANNA MARGULIES, multiple award-winning actor and author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

ABOUT KAREN WOLF-SCHNEIDER

The sailing life has taken Karen halfway around the world and back again. She spent a decade in the “Middle Earth,” where she found a community of friends and family in New Zealand who would have remained strangers had she not decided to “go with the flow.” She and Horst are now back in California and exploring the States in a land yacht.

HOW DOES A FLOWER DARE TO BLOOM by Ilse Noir

How does a flower dare to bloom

A story about a summer day, a muddy lake in Montana, and facing up to personal fears  . . .

Read her personal story, and many more, in the new book.
Released in August, 2022
Dare to be Fabulous: Follow the journeys
of daring women on the path to finding their true north 

“This book holds together the power women find when they are honest and courageous and truthful. Some of these stories moved me to tears, others made me believe in humanity again, many I could identify with. This book brought me tremendous joy, insight and brought me back to believe in the human spirit.”

~ JULIANNA MARGULIES, multiple award-winning actor and author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

ABOUT ILSE NOIR 

Ilse Noir grew up in a small town in the American Southwest where there were “always more stars than people.” She has since lived in Los Angeles and London, and now happily resides with her husband on a hill alongside a river in Europe.

FEAR CITY by Penny Ross Burk

Fear City

A story about white-knuckling through the personal fear of driving into the heart of NYC  . . .

Read her personal story, and many more, in the new book.
Released in August, 2022
Dare to be Fabulous: Follow the journeys
of daring women on the path to finding their true north 

“This book holds together the power women find when they are honest and courageous and truthful. Some of these stories moved me to tears, others made me believe in humanity again, many I could identify with. This book brought me tremendous joy, insight and brought me back to believe in the human spirit.”

~ JULIANNA MARGULIES, multiple award-winning actor and author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

ABOUT PENNY ROSS BURK

Penny Ross Burk is an artist/writer living in the Northern Virginia area. She has worked for many years in the film and TV industry, which serves to keep her art alive.