Every now and then kittens, I sit and ponder, is what I am doing currently reaching those who need to hear that they are not alone? There are famous voices, media personalities, instant name recognition, well-known advocates, and when they speak they draw a big audience. I could always go and do something else, write about other things, look for new interests. It’s never fun when I’m in my head and talking to myself!
Then, I am reminded of past experiences. I shared a few of these stories with treasured friends recently, and I won’t go into as much detail here as I did with them, but these are those lives that mattered. One was a young person who I mentored for a few years to help get a pet project off the ground and grow the audience for it. He asked me once, “Why me? Of all the people you meet, what was it about me that had you invest that much time?” I’m familiar with such questions. I told him, “Because Honey, when I met you, I saw myself. I saw myself at that age and knew the struggles you had been through. I knew you before I met you, that’s why.” He is still doing the most amazing things, has really come into his true self, and for a young person so wracked by anxiety from years of constant vile and vicious bullying in all forms, had me crying tears of joy the day he stood in an arena and told his story to 7,000 people. I will be eternally proud of him and all that he does, including his work as an ambassador for a kids assistance organization. One of my many “kids”.
Or another, who speaking to a packed room of 400 people at a feature event, told them her story. I’ve shared pieces of it in my lectures before, but have never told all of it, it’s been her story to tell first, and I would not say a word of this until she had publicly. Well, this was her night to do just that. I was seated with other media, I was covering the event for a magazine I wrote for, and you could have heard a pin drop as she spoke. She told the story of how we met, and how if things were not busy, and we were not each rushing off to do something else, we would spend a bit of time and chat. Again, I knew her before she realized it. I had sensed (that Empath thing!) where she was at and what was going on and was picking up on her language/choice of words. She had questions, I knew, and I had the answers, and I encouraged her to not be shy, but to ask anything she wanted, and I would do my best to answer it as fully as I could. And then came the very revealing piece, she told the audience that she had been in a very dark place at that time, and was on the verge of suicide, and had entertained the idea more than a few times… but our chats were what showed her that she was not alone, she wasn’t the only one, there are more of us than she thought. By this time, my best friend’s wife is squeezing the life out of my left hand, and a friend behind me has her hand on my shoulder, and then the final line came, “Christine took an interest in me, and she saved my life. Thank you.” The room erupted in applause, I’m on the verge of tears and fighting hard not to let it show, I’m getting hugs from all sides, and I had to fight the urge to go and give her a hug in front of 400 people. I get a tweet from my best friend and work partner Danielle, who was at the back of the room, “that’s why you have such an important voice”. People came up after the event concluded, and to a person all of them started with the same words, “I never knew…” to which I replied, “You wouldn’t know, I don’t talk about these things, I just do them.” She is another of my “kids” (I have hundreds from over the years). One more life still with us. It is why I do what I do.
And then this afternoon, I received this note, and I’ve been smiling away to myself ever since. Shared this with my kid sister Natalie, and a few treasured friends:
Hey Christine, just wanted to let you know about a little gathering I have started about PTSD as well as other mental health issues. The reason you got an invite? You know your shit when it comes to mental health lol! Well done you 🙂 If you decide to have a look at our little after party, I would be honoured if you would please post as much of your message as you feel conformable with. Just so you know, I’m already a HUGE fan of your work. 🙂 Once again, thank you so much for all you do for people. My only hope is more people find your message. Stay classy.
Any time I have spent recently wondering, is anybody listening, is that person who needs to hear/read this getting it – doubts erased! It is amazing what can happen when somebody reaches out and says thank you for what you do.
In the words of my correspondent, Stay classy! And don’t forget kittens, to LOVE each other INTENSELY.