It seems like days turn into weeks very quickly lately. I realized this week that I hadn’t gotten to tell you about something I did earlier in the month.
In the last six or seven years, I have found that I love having an audience with whom to share something I believe is important. I am always nervous before it is my turn. I always go off whatever script or plan I have prepared.
Every Introductory Psychology course I have ever taught was off script with a stomach full of butterflies. In that regard, this day was no different. In many other regards, it was very different.
One thing that was different for me was that I really had no idea how to condense my story into the 5 (10 maximum) minute time slot I had been given. The other difference was that some of the folks who were at the luncheon were also folks who experienced most of my story right alongside me.
I tried to prepare for this speaking opportunity. I wrote out version after version, but they all seemed flat and went well over my time allotment. I printed my final version to carry around with me to my pump refill that was scheduled just before the luncheon.
I ended up having to focus on what I needed to cover with my pump doctor, leaving no time to review my printed version. I chatted with people on the way there and before the luncheon began, so that didn’t leave me time either. I ate my lunch and chatted with people at my table, knowing I had no idea what to say when it was my turn.
I have no idea where I started my story or what I said exactly. I was startled when I was choked up and weepy at one point during my story, but I do not recall what part of it I was telling at the time. I do remember thinking I needed to shift gears to be able to continue.
Afterwards, I was told that I did a great job, I made sense, it sounded organized, and that others were choked up right along with me as I spoke. No one could tell me what I was sharing when I got weepy, but they could tell me what I was sharing when they got weepy (different parts for different people).
Often I minimize how traumatic the experience of losing everything, including my physical functioning and my dogs, was for me back then. Particularly when I share it briefly or in passing, it is easy to gloss over the emotional side of it.
It isn’t so easy when you know the folks in the audience watched you experience it all raw at the time.
I believe it is an honor to share. It was an honor to share at the luncheon and to meet such a diverse group of women dedicated to changing the face of homelessness. Duke and I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to give of ourselves to the current residents at HEP as well.