I try to clear my mind as we drive. I never know what to expect when I walk into a room of others like me. I am sharing my Lucia, sharing my walk through hell. There is always so much more that I want to say, and also nothing left to say except I am here. I can't say I feel nervous. I only ever need to be me, but I still have those old vestiges of anxiety to shed. I used to be terrified to speak in front of others. My voice quavered. I tear up. I once broke out in hives every night for a full month before being in front of people. I took public speaking courses. I still cried every time I spoke aloud. And then, something changed after Lucia died. I stopped being afraid. I stopped worrying about that part of me. I speak in front of people all the time now. I volunteer for it. It suits me, I think.
I have attended a number of readings from the book They Were Still Born, the book where my essay "Mothering Grief" appears, and I always feel such a deep soul-satisfaction doing that. Thank you for everyone who turned out for the reading and to share their stories with us. Jennell Paris also read, shared her story and her cards and art with us. And of course, Janel Atlas. She spent the day in the area, speaking at different places. I feel fortunate to share this journey with so many amazing women and men, truly.
I have heard others from the collection read their words before. There is something so different about that--hearing intention, breaths, emotions. I find myself so drawn into a story I have read twice, three times. And conversely, I think others hear something else in my piece when I read it aloud. You hear the humor. Janel said that, "Your piece is funny." And I retorted, "Yes, I meant it to be hilarious." And I really did.
It had been nine months since I read my piece in front of an audience, a piece written at one year out. It caught me up in places I hadn't expected. I was in so much pain. I don't know. It was so visceral. I could feel that agony written into every sentence. I write because I can dissect that pain, remove it from my heart a little and play with words, rather than tears. Writing separates me from the ache, while connecting me deeply with it. Could you hear it when it was read in your head? The other strange sensation this time was that I was so...little. That is what it feels like. Like I reading something by someone so young. Two years ago, I was so different, so lost. I have forgiven myself for that.
All this is to say, that it inspired me to start another project in this community. This last reading makes me want to hear blog posts out loud. Can we do that? Can we organize a blog round-up where writers read a blog post aloud, post it on their site? Either via camera, or mp3. Let's pick posts that you feel would be helped by being spoken, words meant to be connected to with a voice. Let me know what you think about that project. I can post a Mr. Linky, and we can connect that way. I can pick a date that is a few weeks from now to give every one time to choose a post and record it. Please please let me know if this sounds cool. I'd love to hear you read a post of yours aloud.
In other news of the Philadelphia area, Saturday is the MISS Foundation Kindness Walk. Please please come out to walk with other families in the area. It is being held at Ridley Creek State Park. Registration starts at 9am. And then the walk starts at 10 am. The Kindness Project starts at 11a. Everything goes to support the amazing work of the MISS Foundation, a group that helps supports families after the death of one or more of their children. As you know, I am a HOPE Mentor. I'll be saying just a few words (It's not a speech, just a quick word about MISS.) So, please catch me after to talk, if you are going. I'm hoping this identifies me a little. I am also donating a painting for the raffle, which includes a number of other items including gift certificates and other amazing treats.
|This is the exact painting I am donating. |
9" x12" watercolor on canvas.
So, come, win a mizuko jizo painting, walk, remember our babies, do a kindness and connect. You won't regret it, I promise. I would love to meet you. If you are unable to make it, please consider supporting Team Lucia. We are so close to our goal. We just need a little push.