Last night was a huge deal for me. After spending the better part of a year as a part-time recluse, I attended a massive networking event. I have actively avoided networking events because I know that healing from trauma messes with my vibe. Some days are good and others are, well, overwhelming.
In order to process my pain, I have had to keep myself in an emotional state as much as possible. My ‘flow’ is that the world is magical. This is essentially true but this mindset is also what kept me in abusive cycles. For decades, I refused to see things as they were. I only focused on the silver lining and embodied love. Pure love. Embodying love is a choice. It takes an incredible amount of effort to get into this state of being and a fair bit of work to stay in it. I’ve said before that my heart is an unparalleled superpower.
So last night was interesting for a few reasons. Rather than just attend this massive networking event, I opted to volunteer. At first, I didn’t know why I reached out to the organisers to see if they needed help. Being an event person, was I just curious to see how people in Chicago ‘handled their business’? Was I sabotaging myself from networking by hiding behind self-imposed responsibilities? Perhaps I wanted a safe(ish) place to profile the attendees one-at-a-time? (I was the welcome wagon… reception). Was I nervous? A bit. But this was old hat. I have been organising events for the better part of 20 years. I’ve been attending events even longer. My sweet spot is to just be. Just be present. Be open to the magic but not available. My friends in Hong Kong used to tease me because they said that I mastered the ability to appear to be single but never available. It was like seeing a Unicorn. Magical but very rare. (My friends in Asia are the best and have a very funny perspective of how everything is a dating opportunity).
The event was with the Asian community… mostly young professionals. The vibe was 50% predatorial. Many people were on a clear mission. It was entertaining in so many ways… After I completed my volunteer duties, I jumped head first into the pool of sharks. Mind you, I was on an unofficial date of sorts. Romantic or not, there was only one person that I trusted in the entire room (outside of myself and others knew this). This person has been consistent in helping me protect my heart. He fully understands my intention for my healing journey. Perhaps he doesn’t understand the weight of certain components but he’s been present and adding value in so many ways. He often brings me into situations that remind me of my magic and this event was no different.
I do not try to understand if men can smell fresh blood or if my smile was sincerely that captivating. Was it my dry sense of humour at the door? My sarcasm was thick with certain people. My compliments were heavy with others. I fully understand that the city is huge but the social circles run small. Business cards were flying and one guy even wrote me a love note saying “You’re gorgeous. Let’s grab dinner”. He made sure to ask my name and if one of the guys was my boyfriend. I’ll give him credit for asking. It’s not like anyone actually knew anything about me so he could not have asked others for insights. He also commented how he had been trying to grab my attention all night but there were too many guys with the same agenda. It was an interesting observation (and very true to be honest). Parts of the night, I felt like I was the only female in the room. Other parts of the night, I was just so tickled to see my dear friend. I always enjoy time with a pure heart.
Time wise, I arrived at the location around 450pm. My official volunteering duties started at 530. Doors opened to VIPs at 6. The main bunch arrived from 7. I was part of a 3-person team at reception. We manned the front of the house until 9. I dipped out at 1215 to catch the last train out of the city.
I was more-or-less the person to hand out the VIP wristbands so I guess that was another reason for people to be nice to me. Maybe. But the really interesting part of the entire night was the approaches. I forgot what it felt like to be in the wild. To garner attention in the most comical ways. When I was running global events for a commodities trading company, I would often have people jumping through hoops to get my attention. I was focused on my career so knew it was because of what I had access to, not because they were trying to date me. But again, being single but never available was part of the role I played. I had to make people feel comfortable to approach me but have fierce boundaries with a smile…
Presence is one of the most powerful attributes of a person. My experience is that most do not even know what to do with a fully present person. Especially nowadays, distractions are in abundance making it very rare to be with people willing to get lost in the moment.
I met people in government positions. Small business owners. Professional networkers. Club promoters. A bouncer. Invited to join a dragonboat team. Some mental wellness people (a therapist working with autism and brain injury and then also a PhD level therapist that focuses on case studies of trauma victims). The last was NOT entertained by me being an advocate of mental wellness despite domestic violence. She promotes the need for family involvement as part of the healing process. I challenge her that domestic violence is typically family that is causing the trauma… Perhaps a conflict of interest because I do not support the concept of seeking support from the same people causing harm. My workshop is called #BeYourOwnHero for a reason. My interest is based on personal experience of overcoming extensive trauma. I offered to collaborate in some way but she was dismissive of other viewpoints. Theory vs experience. I get it. It’s such an unnecessary barrier of forward movement and a missed opportunity for me to learn something. I understand though because clinical therapists have a rather bad reputation amongst the many online support groups that I’m a part of. One can only truly understand narcissists or psychopaths from first-hand experience. One can watch all the youtube videos and read all the books in the world but until you have first-hand experience with one, in your heart space… (sigh) It’s a losing battle of recovery and advocacy.
Every survivor is a PhD in navigating (and overcoming) gross dysfunction but not every PhD truly understands their topic of expertise. (I accept that I’m being unfairly judgemental but it’s based on my experience and also the opinions of others in support groups that seem to emphasize that support groups are for SURVIVORS, not PRACTITIONERS).
In a sea of sharks… I was able to swim safely. I was able to observe people in a way that I haven’t been able to do for quite some time. The journey home was with someone that had been abandoned by his family. His father died at a young age and his mother and siblings made a decision and my new friend had to adjust to some pretty hard realities. I admire his strength and the kindness in his heart. Abandonment is a form of abuse. It’s probably one of the harshest forms of emotional abuse out there… and trying to explain the grieving process of people gaslighting me was not only a challenge, but also shed light on an area that I still need to work on with my own my personal healing.
Everything happens for a reason. I’m exactly where I need to be. Another layer revealed… The journey continues…
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