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7/23/06

Dear Kim:

I emceed a concert to benefit Ovarian Cancer `Awareness at The Sheldon tonight. It was a great bill of fare. And the cause aside, a great entertainment value.

Four different female musical groups including the Laclede String Quartet and the River Blenders, the area's largest Sweet Adeline group.

There was free gourmet gelato and pastries at intermission.

All told, over 150 performers—all women—donated their time for the concert which weighed in at a sweet fifteen dollars. I had a great time emceeing and it was a fun and upbeat event.

I emailed a lot of folks. Almost everyone I invited had a warm and cordial reason why they could not go, including you.

My friend Jane deLynn called me earlier in the day to suggest a movie. When I told her I was emceeing this concert, she did not suggest going to that instead.

My sister asked if my friends had turned out to support the event and thus, in a connected way, me and us. Ovarian cancer has touched out lives this year and we will never be the same.

I had been trying to figure out how I feel about the fact that very few people I invited came. Including a woman I am contemplating dating.

This is where I have arrived.

I told Laurel that few of my friends come to events with which I am involved these days. That it might be a function of several things. I tend to do a lot. I have emceed a lot, have directed a lot. Perhaps it is no longer a sufficiently unique occasion to warrant their attention.

If she were to emcee an event, her friends would show. But then, she never does such things.

She also has a different capacity for friendship than I do. I am content to see or talk to most of my friends every few weeks. I am just not a daily or even weekly kind of girl.

In the pursuit of time to read and write and think, of time to increasingly attend to myself physically, something has to give and for me, it is usually some aspects of socializing. So maybe, if I am honest, my social ties are just not that strong.

I don't know.

I know I am well liked and in many instances, beloved. But how that translates, I am not sure.

Laurel asked if I was disappointed by the lack of support. I said I was more concerned about whether people would really be there for me if I needed them in a more serious way. Like, if I were sick or perhaps had just had surgery.

A lot of people have checked in with me before and after my hysterectomy. A lot of people have offered help if I need it.

That is probably more important to me.

I also realized that if people had not shown up several years ago, it would have affected me much differently. I am sure I would have felt hurt.

I told Laurel that I choose to reframe it. That I did not want you to come if you were too tired. That I wanted the potential new woman in my life to do what she felt she needed to do. And if that meant honoring her previous commitment to her softball team, that is what she should do.

Laurel said, do you really not mind? And in her question, I could hear the hurt little girl who never has felt seen or heard by my parents. The grown woman who is now very much seen and heard by them but who carries such vestiges of childhood wounding, that it doesn't matter.

It is partly a Buddhist thing, I told her. I can choose to reframe it. Or I can suffer from disappointment, There is no singular reality about this. It depends upon which lens you use.

Kim: So many issues here. Email, how do we spend time, what does it mean to be a friend, how do we feel about illness, etc.

Email is not a good way to get people to come to things. We get too many emails and it is so easy to ignore them. Email and a phone call might do wonders. "I know you'd really enjoy this evening, and I'm sending you an email with the particulars."

I've been thinking about my time more and more now that I'm entering a phase of my life where I'm going to be the master of my time and it can either be used well or wasted. But to some extent, noone feels that they have enough time so they need to be convinced why they should spend their time in a particular way. More information about the group. More information about ovarian cancer, and what will be done because of the benefit.

When we do things for friends just because they are our friend we start to resent the friendship. Maybe it is a matter of "added value" where you say, please do this for me, and also, it will be a lot of fun for you.

Some people don't want to be near illness, or anything about illness. They believe all illness is contagious. The solution is to highlight the concert and diminish the cause.

It seems the Buddhist perspective is that though you created this, because "you" are part of everything then part of "you" did not come to that which you created. Anger becomes irrelevant, because this was not about you but about everyone, including you.

So often I would create events as a teacher that many students did not attend. And so often I was disappointed.

Later,

Joan
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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