Last Saturday I gave a talk at TEDxEncinitas about this LoveYou2.org journey. What a gift the last few months preparing for this incredible experience. I’m ever grateful to the speaker coach and many friends who reviewed my talk who encouraged: tell us more, tell more stories, say exactly why you do this. The thing is, I give talks all the time for my HIV work……if I had been standing on that red circle talking to you about sex and HIV, perhaps I would have been less nervous. Perhaps I would have prepared less. Perhaps I would have accepted less support.
Being on this “get love. give love.” journey has taught me the value of not knowing, of never knowing enough, always valuing the opportunity in the unknown.
Imagine, then, what this “get love. give love.” experience had to offer back? A panel of four, including my daughter, who sat as the staged audience in my living room and offered feedback. Home Exchangers who offered up an unbelievably gorgeous home for our stay. My neighborhood hairdresser who comp’d my haircut and said, “This is my gift to you. Show Glen Park proud.” And our besties, the neighbors who posted this sign “Good Luck Shweb. We love you 2” in their kitchen window the day we headed out.
Friday before the TEDx event, each speaker is provided a half hour of practice time on the stage. I went with my youngest brother, Boyce, who offered to tape my talk and help me covertly install the 150 LoveYou2.org love notes I had written for each TEDx participant. I stood on a partially put together stage and gave my talk to a sea of blank chairs, until this gem walked in. I recognized her from the TEDxEncinitas promo materials as one of the other speakers. But she was not there to practice her speech….she came forward to sit in the second row of chairs. As I talked, she began weeping and without regard for anyone else in the room (4 people, including my brother and the sound technician) she simply wiped her face and kept on crying while I talked. Occasionally she nodded her head. Once she said aloud, “Yes!” and at the end of my talk she clapped, she stood, she walked forward and said “Thank you.”
Given my fascination with this practice of witnessing and being witnessed (I mention this in the TEDx talk, though I forget one of the lines), I marvel at what is it is like to be seen by such a dialed in, loving creature as Skyler McCurine. I can’t help but love her shirt (see above) and we snap a quick photo in front of the famous TED X for posterity. She is the last speaker on actual TEDx day. She is, of course, beyond amazing. Post of her talk forthcoming….
Sadly, I have no photo of my brother Boyce who stayed with me as the ultimate plus one during this event. He came to the practice day, to the green room and made sure the two mics were taped on properly. He retrieved me from the bathroom when it was my turn, where I was talking to the wall with the fans on….coping mechanisms in full swing. But here is a snap of the me + 3 on stage…..ever grateful they could attend to learn, grow, and connect.
Here’s the view of the stage from my kids’ and parents’ row. I think I may be saying, “The kind of love that fills up so much space, there is no more room for hate.” That’s the kind of love I think a lot about.
There were completely amazing speakers and audience at this event. So many stories. So much love. Thank you to TEDxEncinitas for inviting me, for including my family, for sharing the love. (Video of the talk to be posted as soon as it is live.)