Robyn Hussa of Normal in Schools asked to videotape me while attending this year's BEDA conference. It felt like we filmed for an hour, although I honestly cannot say how long for sure. Recently, she sent me a whittled-down 15-minute clip of our time together.
I watched it with my husband Tom which actually added to my embarrassment (when I am kicked back into old thinking patterns I process what's happening much quicker when alone). My initial desire was to write Robyn and beg her to please not ever show this video to anyone. In composing the first draft of my email (one that Robyn never saw), I was able to temper myself a bit and instead shared my dismay and asked that it be cut down to no more than 5 minutes. I read it to Tom and he encouraged me to save it as a draft and not hit "send" until I'd had a bit of time to think as well as to share the video with a few others whose opinions I trusted. Good advice. I followed it...
I sent the link to two dear friends who happen to share the same first name--one of whom is also my daughter. The first, Joslyn, a young woman who went to college with Andrea and had been in the room during the taping, kindly viewed the video and provided some great suggestions on how it could be tweaked so that its purpose was more evident. She, too agreed that it was a bit long.
And the second, Jocelyn, our daughter, who generously watched it and felt it was just fine. In her simple yet beautiful response to my plea she wisely asked me to step back a bit and to...
... Try not to think about it as YOU saying it. Think about it as if someone just emailed you a Ted. Then you won’t be as embarrassed. Or worry that you weren’t humble enough. ... Think about that lecture from the lady [Jill Bolte-Taylor's Stroke of Insight] who had the stroke... She had a similar message. Remember? Maybe re-watch [her Ted] and then you’ll feel better.
... When you and Dad ask, “who is this person,” I think the answer is that she is someone who lost a child. And when you ask, “why am I listening to her,” I think it’s because she’s been through something horrible which none of us ever wants to go through, but she was able to make something good out of it so let’s hear what that something is.
Jocelyn followed up with a phone call the next morning and helped me see my judgment of the video through different eyes. She also suggested a few spots that could be cut to tighten it up a bit and that's when I finally re-wrote my email to Robyn.
Robyn was terrific. She instituted the suggestions I offered, and although still not as short as I would have preferred, she posted it on YouTube a few days ago. I watched the new link and no longer felt the initial shame or embarrassment. More importantly, I could now accept my appearance for what it was--an accurate representation of how I looked on the day it was filmed without the reactive, derogatory labels. To turn that thinking around, I simply imagined myself re-watching the video at the age of 95. It was easy to see my beauty from that perspective.
What a silly roller-coaster ride...yet such a fine reminder of how often we (or maybe only I) must relearn the simple truths of our lives. I share with you here the video:
Sending blessings until next time,