As I’ve arrived in middle age, I’ve come to the realization that I’m no longer much of a public speaker.
Maybe it’s because I’m in the spotlight so much in my professional life, I just don’t want to feel that way in my personal life. I just want to relax, be myself, “turn off” – and not have to perform.
Unfortunately, middle age also seems to be the time of a familial changing of the guard; a time when life seems to be thrusting me into a “performance role” more than ever. As “big life things” happen, I feel expectant eyes on me, but that old performer within – a younger, much different woman – just doesn’t want to step into the spotlight.
If someone had told me ten years ago that I would decline to speak at both my beloved grandmother’s and grandfather’s funerals, I wouldn’t have believed it. But alas, that’s in fact what I’ve done. And shockingly, I feel totally okay with it.
Because I just don’t express myself that way any more. I’ve lived quite a lot of life in my now almost-40 years, and I’ve come to understand my emotions a little better. My happiness, pain, love, grief – they are things I don’t necessarily want to give away (save for an occasional blog, which I find myself struggling to write more and more). I mostly want them for myself these days: to study them inside me, to know them intimately, to live with them and grow older and stronger with them in private.
And for that reason, I decided to keep my emotions to myself once again, as we said goodbye to my grandfather this past weekend.
I did, however, put together a short video for his memorial. It’s his story, as I’ve always seen it in my mind’s eye, since I was a little girl, and it was the only way I felt I could communicate and contribute right now.
It’s not my story I wanted to tell, after all; it’s his.
That’s who I am now; now here’s who he was…