Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Sum of Us

Where to begin? You meet so many wonderful characters online through blogging and twitter, it's amazing!  All seemingly like-minded souls, friendly, witty, engaging, and some very endearing.  There are days I wonder how much of our real personalities shine through in our online persona?  Yes, I know many writers set out to market themselves as their own brands, so what 'you see', -is not necessary what you would get in real life.  Does this make sense?  I hope so, stay with me on this one...

Recently, I had promised to keep two different appointments on the same evening, and subconsciously I felt a tug of conflict, as if parts of myself were at war with each other.  Let me explain why.  The first was a private event for a very special guest speaker, which I was fortunate enough to be involved with the organising of, and I also had the small bit part as the MC, oh yes, don't laugh, in a parallel universe, sometimes I do stand in front of people for a few minutes of public speaking.  Is that really me?  I don't know, -it's a very small part of me.

So, in this universe outside of my writing world, I found myself face to face with a wonderful humanitarian, -Mrs Eva Schloss, a lovely lady with a strong handshake, a survivor of the Holocaust of WWII, she is also step-sister to Anne Frank.  Eva's story is just as powerful as Anne's. It is one thing to read about a young girl who lived in those days, it is quite another experience to actually hear a survivor speak about it, in person.  Humbling doesn't quite cover it. There were tears when I heard the stories of the school children who were marched on buses never to return, there were more tears when Eva explained as a matter of fact, how families were sorted out on arrival at the death camp, and the gas showers...  Words fail me.  I bought her book but I'm not ready to read it, -for now, her own voice still resonates deep within. 

And, the second appointment of the evening? I actually went on to meet friends for cocktails, I can't explain that part, maybe it seems at odds with the first event, but if I say it was a necessary evil, perhaps even a release, I hope you understand.  This is what I mean; there are many sums that make up the total of us.  At the end of the night when I finally sat in the back of my taxi, I cried all the way home, I didn't know if I was crying for the god-awful experience that Eva had to endure, or if it was the effect of all martinis afterwards, quite frankly though I felt better, and I was extremely grateful to the discreet English Cabbie, clearly used to slightly intoxicated teary eyed females, he barely batted an eyelid, and he was awfully kind when he dropped me off at my front gates.  I could've hugged him for not judging me, but I didn't...

A/N: Eva's book is available online, please do stop by her website.  Myself, I've come to terms with my internal conflict of attending such different events on the same night, you can't be everything to everyone.  At the end of the day we are all made of different parts and it is the whole of you that matters really.  How about you?  Do you feel parts of yourself at conflict in certain situations?

14 comments:

  1. We are not only made up of different parts, but we behaive differently towards different people or situations. It's the nature of the beast. And...there is always some part of ourselves we keep to ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh absolutely. In fact, I sometimes get so overwhelmed from going to church that I go watch a movie after.

    Sometimes it is just necessary on a level I can't begin te explain.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an incredible experience it must have been to hear her speak. I would need to be surrounded by friends after that, too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bish, you're right and I think its good to keep something to ourselves. ;-)

    Misha, I love that. Totally agree, necessary on a level that I couldn't explain either!

    Meredith, it was a rare opportunity, am grateful to have met her, and listened to her story.And definitely, sometimes we need a release right? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I do have conflicting parts. I think it mostly comes from the real Tracy wanting to shirk out of something that the Catholic-guilt Tracy knows we shouldn't. The real me wants to be free to do whatever the hell I like, but the angel on my shoulder tries to remind us to think of others first, more often than not.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Absolutely I have conflicting parts. Sometimes I love to be in a crowd of people - as long as I feel comfortable around them. If I don't, and they're smarmy, judgmental type, then I'm out of the door as fast as possible.

    I'm so glad you had the chance to see Eva speak. I've been fortunate to hear a few Holocaust survivors speak and it is indeed a humbling experience. I don't fault you at all for going for cocktails afterwards. Her talk was extremely emotional and you needed something lighter to help you work through it - thus the time with friends.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tracy, totally understand. I used to have Catholic guilt but I think that few years living in Japan pretty much extinguished it for me.

    Melissa M, I'm so glad you understand. I wondered if you'd spoken with survivors as part of your WWII writing. It was a great evening, everyone seemed to enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah, but such is life. One life ends, another begins ... and the sweet only tastes sweet after the bitter. How very fortunate you got to hear Ms. Eva speak and tell her tale. Amazing. You can't really shake hearing something like that... you know, you can't brush it off and move on. Those things dig down deep within us and make us grieve for our fellow humans. So you tried to have a lighter evening with friends and it didn't quite cut it, but that's okay. Cuz life goes on. And your empathy for Eva's tale was more powerful than you expected.
    I know just what you mean when you say the face we show the blogoshere is just one little part. I think on this often, actually. There have been times when I've been a little sad inside, and my posts are nothing even close to sad. In a way it feels false. But then, I don't think posting everything is necessary. After all, this is for fun, and I'd never wanna be a buzzkill. But even tho we're nothing more than words and little floating heads to each other, we're still humans... and it's so baffling and wonderful to have all these friends that I adore and will probably never meet.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi PK, thank you for your lovely comments. I waited almost 2 weeks to work out how to write a post about Eva because if I'd written it in the wee hours of that morning, it would have been too emotional.
    I guess we all choose what we want to blog about and how much of ourselves we reveal. For me though, blogging is fun definitely, it's an outlet for my thoughts and to help me find my 'own' voice for writing. I love meeting all the lovely floating heads and the support within the writerly community is amazing. Some days, like yesterday, for me - I just had to get this off my chest. Maybe it was the whole Middle East turmoil and the earthquake in NZ, and I couldn't focus on my MS. I feel better now. See- blogging is also therapeutic. ;D I do hope to meet some of my blogging buddies one day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I used to just spill whatever I felt onto my blog-- (well mostly, not everything personal got there) back when I didn't have anyone to read it. It was just for me to look at mostly and didn't hold back a whole lot. As more people float through, I hold back because you simply can't pour everything out there raw and pure-- you have to sit back and think about it for a while so that you can write about it effectively if your a writer. Otherwise you sound like a school kid writing a journal. I think what you've written here is perfect because it catches the quandary we all find ourselves in all the time in life--- we see a homeless person on the street and we feel helpless and angry yet then we go on to our jobs and forget about them. Or perhaps we don't but we're not quite sure what to DO. OR we know what to do but it just seems so hard to get it done (that's where I am with those issues). So we cry and let it out and perhaps write about it, but we have to write about it well or it will never be heard properly. So well done!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Danette, I quite like reading some of the blogs which are styled as journals, as long as I feel some kind of connection with the voice. I agree, you can't pour everything out there, as writers we edit as best we can and you are right, you want to ensure your writing is effective in line with whatever message you would like to convey to your readers. My musings as essentially that, musings. They're part of this writing journey, and I love sharing them with everyone.
    Thank you so much for your lovely comments too my dear! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Living through those times most have been so horrific. My mother recently took care of a man who lived in a concentration camp for years. He had terrible flashbacks and needed special care, but his stories that he told that my mom then passed on to me, were beautiful and heartbreaking.

    Sometimes to get over hearing such things, we have to share them with others to dissolve the pain and sadness.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Definitely. Especially since I have a pen name. Sometimes I feel very schizolophrenic.

    ReplyDelete