Your stories and mine.
This month (June 24-26, 2011), I’ll be treating myself to a weekend of narrative nudging, friendly faces and inspiration at the sixth annual PAB conference1 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
I hope you will be too!
1 PAB2011 is an annual three day social/new media conference that includes speaking sessions, discussion, JOLTs2, workshops, panel discussions, Saturday lunch and, typically, a boat cruise. The conference has flourished on a reputation of strong content and a welcoming community, attracting participants from as far away as the U. K. and South America. Online registration for the weekend is CDN$160.
2 A Jolt! is a timed 5-minute, slide-free session during which the speaker wakes up the imaginations, brains and collective energy of the PAB community. Jolts are meant to get people thinking, talking, connecting and collaborating.
- I’m Reading at CensorFest (Censored Out Loud)
- Creative Collisions (CreatorCamp Ottawa)
- Mystery Loves Company (Body, Mind, Spirit: The Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s National Conference for Young Women Living with Breast Cancer)
- Contested Irrelevance (PAB)
- Happiness Is.. A Fresh Start (I Can Do It! Toronto)
- Virtually Reconnecting (PodCamp Toronto)
On April 14, 2011, after 25 years of full-time employment and with no new position in the works, I quit my job.
That evening, I tiptoed timidly into the world of dance. Burlesque, unbelievably. Then celebrated with red wine, Mark and our good friend, Laura.
In the six weeks since then, I’ve turned down a full-time systems analyst position, booked our long-dreamed-of cross-Canada train trip, joined the speaker roster for PAB2011, contributed daily to Mark’s new company and endured ten grueling hours of choreographed belly dancing.
Sure, I’ve continued to torture myself with self-doubt, -criticism and -loathing.
But I’m better, stronger, happier than I was.
And I’m evolving.
In October 2009, I was desperate to have both breasts removed.
Thanks to my insistent surgeon, I didn’t.
They’re small. They’re lopsided.
There are scars on both.
But they’re here. And so am I.
The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don’t look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.
— Derek K. Miller (June 30, 1969 – May 3, 2011)
Thank you, Derek, for your strength, your humour, your wisdom and your authenticity.
Thinking of you, Airdrie, Lauren and Marina. Wishing you healing and many years of happiness and good health.