I won an award and I was too chicken to go claim it. That’s the long and short of it.
The award event was in New York and I convinced myself that I couldn’t go to New York by myself, that my hearing disability made it impossible. I needed an escort. A keeper. I couldn’t maneuver alone. The cab driver might take me to the Bronx instead of to Manhattan, the hotel clerk might overcharge me with my unwitting consent since I wouldn’t know better, so incapacitated am I every single waking minute.
We sat on our porch discussing this, me and my husband. He listened to my complaints for a while, my lament of the lack of a travelling companion, my worries about going all alone to the big girls’ BlogHer conference in great big scary New York City so I could be a Voice of the Year in front of everybody, something that seemed so improbable just a few months ago when I saw the email telling me and burst into tears sitting in my car, parked outside a homeless shelter where I’d just met with the director about something, I can’t remember what.
I should go to New York and get my award. I thought that immediately. I absolutely should go. So I made a reservation.
Then I thought of every reason why I shouldn’t go. A friend of mine told me once, when I was sounding equivocal about whether we would meet or not, “I’m always okay with not doing things.”
I’m like that. There’s almost nothing I don’t like cancelling.
So I said to myself, what’s the big deal? You save a lot of money if you don’t go. Plus you hate events with a lot of people, detest conferences where everyone else seems purposeful and popular, so why not beg off and stay home? You won’t be able to hear a thing, no one, nothing, well, maybe some things, but not all. It will be hard.
Have the wonderful BlogHer people mail their nice award.
“Man up, Jan,” my husband said. In case I missed it, he said it again, “Man up.” “Man up and go to the women’s conference.”
He laughed. He thought this was clever. Man up and go to the women’s conference. Hilarious.
He reminded me that the point of my essay, the one that got me designated as a Voice of the Year in the first place had to do with struggling against the limitations of hearing loss. The essay, Blindsided, ends with this sentence: “It is my job to be stronger than the thing that is crippling me.”
And there I was, sitting in my chair on our porch, finding reasons why I couldn’t show up for an award the BlogHer people were kind enough to give to me because was too afraid to go get it. The essence of crippling is when the crippled buy into the crippling thing.
“Don’t be an old lady, Jan,” he kept at it. Spare in his words but very direct.
“I am an old lady,” I said, wanting my 67 years to buy me a pass to stay in my chair on the porch.
“Fine. but don’t act like one,” he shot back. It seemed sexist and ageist. And true.
So I am going on Thursday to New York by myself, travelling alone like I have a dozen times but rehearsing new phrases, writing addresses on my palm, keeping my phone in my front pocket, wearing my best jeans and my silver cuff bracelet from Arizona and my mezuzah that protects me from all things always, and I’m going to go where I will hear almost nothing except maybe the sound of my name when someone reaches to congratulate me.
The real reason for marriage. The borrowing and lending of courage.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Well, I Never….” “Tell us about something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do.”