Emotions for Sale

Note: names are left out as a courtesy to people who held the event, as I am being brutally honest. All in all I enjoyed the event, but two of the four speakers ended up rubbing me the wrong way. One due to my own lack of courage to say what I wanted, and one because I straight up don’t like them. You did know I’m rather brutal with my feelings, right?

Note two: I didn’t read through this once I was done for fear I would not share. That brutally honest thing does not always extend to facing my own feelings. (You’ll understand if you read the entire thing. Thank you if you do.)

I went to an event tonight to listen to friends read their works. I almost didn’t go. Lately, I’ve been allowing the fact that I live half an hour away from most of the art events I want to attend, stop me. Covid-19 has also stopped me a lot. Tonight, about half an hour before the event started, I told my fiancé that I wasn’t going to go. We were preparing dinner and I knew food would be ready right around 7pm, when the event started. I then also said I might change my mind. In the end, it was my fiancé that told me to go. He knew I wanted to, but I was trying not to go for well, laziness.

I’m glad I went. It was an emotional roller coaster, but I’m glad I went.

When I arrived, the event coordinator was introducing the event, and let us know the event was about trauma and coping… I’ve been going through a lot of emotional stuff lately, even more than I’ve admitted to, to most of you. I post a lot on FB about the shit I’m dealing with, but there are things I just don’t feel comfortable sharing, as it’s either too embarrassing, or too raw. And there I sat, about to hear possibly rough works.

The speaker started his story, and though it brought laughs, it was an intense raw story of his life in an abusive family. His brother was there and when the speaker said something to the effect of, “my family was never there for me,” his brother flipped him off and eventually left the room. It was a small room, there weren’t that many people there, and I sat right behind his brother. The speaker wasn’t directly talking about his brother, but his brother took it very personally.

The story hit me hard. There were a few parallels to my own blood family, and I teared up.

The second speaker was someone I don’t know. She is a spoken word poet, who spoke of God and faith and love. She nearly lost me on the God talk. (It’s not that I don’t believe. God’s existence or non-existence will not drive my desire to treat people well while on this planet.) What got me, is her ‘answer from God’ telling her to reach for love. At the end of the show, I wanted to talk to her and tell her so much more than what I did. I told her what she said was beautiful. She looked at me with a rather blank expression and said, “Thank you for saying that.” I wanted so much more than that, needed more than that, but how do you really say to a stranger, “I’m a widow. Love saved me after my husband died.” I’m sure there are others out there who would have that foresight. I’m not one of them. She was amazing though and I did cry when she spoke.

The third speaker is why I’m not saying names. I don’t like him, and felt most of what he said was inappropriate and out of place. He said a couple things I agree with, but for the most part, he could have been left out of the show and I would have been perfectly happy. But we all deal with trauma differently.

The fourth and last person who spoke is someone I’ve known since college. He read a long story about his mother dying… several times. It was funny and heartfelt. I had heard a few of the stories throughout our friendship, but will admit to forgetting most of it, as that does unfortunately happen. And there were parallels to my late husband’s illness and death that made me pause, and made me want to cry. It was well written and a very good end to the night.

The speaker ended with a poem from his book (which I have and love), but I was lost in memories and didn’t pay enough attention. At the end, I spoke to my longtime friend about his story and about my husband’s death. As we talked, it became obvious that he took care of things when my husband died because he knew I shouldn’t be burdened with a lot of the first day responsibilities.

I’m having a hard time writing more as the emotions are overwhelming, but I’m going to try anyway. I currently have no idea where this is going, but I’m following the path.

I don’t know if I ever thanked him for all he did that day, but I did tonight. I’m not sure I could thank him correctly, but I did what I could.

My friend and I wrapped it up and walked over to the speaker, who I also have known for a long time. I told him I thought the story was wonderful, or some such thing. I really, at that point, was too wrapped up in my own emotions to clearly state all I wanted to say. I eventually said goodbye, then headed over to the second speaker and, well, it went how it went. I was not able to articulate my emotions and she didn’t know there was anything to listen for.

Now, I’m home, fighting with my emotions. I want to say so much more about tonight, and about my own trauma, but I really don’t want to. I’ll sum up me with: the family I have chosen understands me so much more and has shown me far more empathy than my closest blood relatives. I’ll sum up the night with: men should be encouraged to show their emotions. They are just as broad and beautiful a range as women show.

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