Friday, November 20, 2015

Leaving Welcome

Image result for building fences cartoon
Photo description: A wooden fence held together by nails at the top and bottom of the individual planks.
Today is the last day of the NADD conference, which I have enjoyed immensely. I typically don't go to the conferences that I speak at, because of time constraints. But with this one two of my team are presenting and I wanted to be here with them to support them and to celebrate the work that they are doing. So, I've been attending sessions, enjoying chatting with people at breaks and last night I attended the wine and cheese gathering.

I was able to talk to a lot of different people, hear a lot of wonderful ideas, laugh at some really good stories. It was wonderfully social, wonderfully welcoming and wonderfully engaging. In short, I had a good time. Joe, too, was welcome and engaged. I was often rolling off one way while he went another. I could hear his laugh, which is uniquely his, across a crowded room. It was nice.

When last night was over and we came back up to the room. I felt a sense of real melancholy. I know after today's sessions, I will be with Joe as we pack the car and head to another hotel. We aren't flying home until Sunday, and this hotel is out of our budget, We are going to crash tonight and then hit the town a bit tomorrow.

Here's the thing.

I have to transition from this world, the world of the conference where I am known, as a speaker yes, but as a person too. I get treated as if I belong there, and respected there, and as if I would be missed had I not shown. Joe, too, gets treated as if our relationship matters and his support of me is appreciated.

Now I have to go into the real world.

And it shouldn't, but that saddens me.

I like just being part of a social unit rather than a thing to be stared at, laughed at and mocked.

But, I need to put up my defences, reconstruct them again - they've been down for a couple of days, and I'll be fine.

But I want more than fine.

Just a little more than ... fine.  

5 comments:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

We need to make you a LOT more famous - so people everywhere know who you are and what you are doing.

Andrea S. said...

I think it would be totally awesome if everyone knew who Dave was and understood his work and believed in his messages.

But what would be even more awesome is if there weren't so many people around who choose to bully or exclude people just because they're fat, or use a wheelchair, or are gay. And I'm guessing that's what Dave would prefer too.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone in this feeling. I taught, wrote curriculum, won awards, had 3 jobs at once and was well respected. People sought my opinions. Knew me as a problem solver. Was sought at colleges all over the province. Yet, in the "real world" I can approach a clerk in a store and be treated with scorn or ask for information at a customer service desk and be looked at, up and down, with distain and judgement. The real world does not treat me with the respect I earned. Sometimes you feel like handing out sheets that say this is who I am and what I have done, what I enjoy, the long term loving friends I have. I am not what I look like, that is just the coating on the nutty, sweet and delicious me inside. It does give one pause. The real world is not very real at times, just cruel.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dave, I met you at the conference the other day (I was the one who cried like a geek and told you about my girlfriend) but I wanted to say that it was a pleasure meeting you and Joe and to be able to hear your speeches. It was a breath of fresh air because it was real and from the heart. It didn't have that detached clinical edge that we tend to see in this field. Your words were moving. I feel frustrated that you have to return to the "real world" time and time again. But I learned, from you, that I am frustrated because I care. I hope that our paths can cross again.

Also, congratulations on your well-earned award!

-Heath

Anonymous said...

Dave, I love your blog, and I love how you work hard to make it accessible to a large number of readers, whether it's through picture descriptions, or simple straightforward language.

So, I figured you'd want to know that as someone with some vision issues, but not enough vision issues to use a screen reader, the current color scheme is challenging. You've got a blue background, which is quite pretty, and then on top of it the white that's translucent, which looks neat, but then you've chosen a light blue font on what is essentially a light blue background, and it's really hard to read.

Could you think about choosing another color for the headings, and titles and such?