I’ve been reluctant to share the video here and elsewhere for various reasons.
There’s that thing where you’re looking down and reading something and you end up with approximately eleven chins even though you don’t have eleven chins. You know this on a logical basis; you know this on an “it doesn’t matter how many chins I have” basis. But still, you look and you see chins. And you listen and you hear your tiny little child voice and think, “Why didn’t my voice age with me?” And your hair keeps falling in your eyes. And your posture is kind of off, and you know your Grandfather would look at you and yell, “Pull those shoulders back, Wren!” And your lips are a little pursed, but that’s just because you’re working really hard to keep the tears behind the eyes. You practiced so hard, so many days and nights and in front of the people who matter most to you, to not cry, so dag-nab-it, you’re not going to cry now.
And then you take a deep breath and glimpse at the words sitting next to your desk in your office, placed there to remind you to come back from the space that is any space, and you realize none of those things matter. Not the green dress. Not the jewelry. Not the alleged chins or the childlike voice or anything other than the words.
Here’s my piece, “The Bridge That Is Any Bridge,” read aloud at BlogHer ’14 at the Voices and Photos of the Year Community Keynote.
I’m always more comfortable writing my words than reading them. But as I arrived at the Grand Ballroom that afternoon, deer-in-the-headlights nervous, Elisa Camahort Page reminded me that my words needed to be read aloud as they were written, for someone else to hear as someone else needed to read.
I received an email from a beautiful soul since BlogHer ’14. She shared the piece with her daughter, and her daughter shared something about a friend. Together they reached out to the other girl. If that one young girl knows that she is not alone on her figurative or literal bridge, I’ll take all the chins in the world.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for receiving. Thank you.
Please check out the other video from the conference, which includes Keynotes, 10×10 Presentations, and Voices and Photos of the Year. All are amazing and worthy of a watch.