In about 36 hours I’m going to be standing behind a podium and talking to people about what it feels like to be me. The audience is going to be a mixture of teenagers and adults who are choosing to listen to me lecture not about economics or even anything remotely pleasant. They’re going to pile into seats to listen to me talk about loss and how it effects people. I’m nervous because I’ve needed to write the entire thing down so that I don’t deviate in any manner. Picking and deleting words before they can come out of my mouth. Did I say I’m nervous?
Within a circle of people I’m renown for going overly intellectual when we get to a point where my emotions are taking the lead and I’m not capable of talking without my voice cracking. That stupid facade of Dr. Lary coming down like a bulldozer leveling a brick wall. Only in this case, I know that if I don’t speak “from the heart”, no one is going to listen. That my words are going to echo through silence and my voice will not be heard by anyone.
Some of the teenagers are going to laugh at me. I might have done the same thing when I was their age. We’re delving into an area that makes most people very uncomfortable. Some might not even have experienced a death close to them. The adults might also be uncomfortable because they know how easily it could be them wearing my size 14 shoes! There’s no blame in their feelings, just an awkward acknowledgment that they exist.
I’m not only going to have to talk about my daughter, but about my own impending death. And you can’t be clinical about that. Have we covered that I’m nervous? Someone’s going to ask why I have no negative feelings about the ex and I’m going to have to reply with the truth, love sometimes makes you do horribly stupid things. Even when it is gone, you still do stupid things to protect a memory.
All of that emotion is going to be laid bare for people I don’t know to see. I can’t even show that to my family, yet I’m voluntarily going to be on a stage doing my one man show. Dr. Lary’s Meltdown – A play in one act! [see I’m already hiding my emotions behind my education, defensive moves complete.] I only hope that my message of “don’t give up like I have” comes through.
I saw a program the other day where one of the participants kept reminding another that walking away was the absolute worst thing he ever did. Not knowing how the next chapter picks up meant he just put down the book for fear of knowing the ending. [back when Dallas was a big deal in the 1980’s, they put out a book positing the murder of Jock Ewing but the final two chapters were not included, you had to send away for them. I never got around to sending in the self-addressed envelop, so I don’t know how the story ended. Silly me!] That same message needs to come across. When I gave up on the phone ever ringing, I also gave up on myself.
It’s a hard lesson for any person to learn. About themselves or any other person they care about. My niece is going to be in the audience and she is going to see a side of me that we don’t talk about. She knows all of the details of my life, we sit and talk about life whenever she wants. But when her friends are going to hear some of this, they are going to look at her differently. She’s prepared since she asked me to do this. I remember being her age when her aunt died and not having anywhere near the capacity she has. But then she’s had time to absorb things, ask questions that I didn’t have back then.
So while I’m going to be sitting in a chair for some of this, standing in one spot for a period of time is just not possible anymore; my heart is going to not only be on my sleeve but most likely crawling up others people’s sleeves hoping for some understanding. Nervous? Maybe we should call this scared of what I might actually say if I deviate from the script.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singin’ in the Rain.”