Last night I went to the VicBears Open Community Forum for R U OK Day. Going into it, I wasn’t 100% sure what I’d make of it, and true to my introvert tendencies I sat, wallflower like, most of the evening, and absorbed what was being said for later processing. The three speakers – Christopher Banks, George Forgan-Smith and Ryan Teuma, all imparted their own wisdom and take on mental health issues, particularly within the gay community, and the number of people who showed up (40+, it seems) showed that a lot of people were keen to hear what they had to say.
As someone prone to quite a bit of introspection, I know I actually got a lot out of the event – but that processing time means that it’ll be percolating in my subconscious for quite a few days, regardless of whether I’m actively thinking about it.
I thought, going into the event, that I’d probably have the rather cathartic points I raised in this blog article echoing around in my head. Funnily enough though, I didn’t – and given one of the key messages was about finding a way to talk and open up, perhaps that’s why – even blogging about it, in a limited way, has been beneficial.
Interestingly though, what was going through my head, almost like a bit of theme music to the event, was The Day you Went Away, by Wendy Matthews. Much as that’s a song about loss and departure, the opening lines seemed highly apropos to the evening:
Hey, does it ever make you wonder
What’s on my mind?
Hey, I was only ever running back to your side
I never cried, I just watched my life go by
It’s just a pack of lies.
(Side note: I did find it ironic that even though I can’t speak French, it was the French version of the song that kept on running through my head. Yes, I’m odd.)
Based on last night, I think the song was relevant for two key reasons:
- When we’re in a “bad place” (for want of a better term) I think most of us want and wish that someone would wonder what we’re thinking.
- It’s easy, when you’re in that place, to look at the rest of life through a filter that makes it seem surreal, or even unreal.
Much as the song is about traditional loss, it could almost be a paean for the loss of equilibrium.
The old saying is “talk is cheap”, but last night particularly highlighted for me that talk may in fact be the richest tool we have available to us.
[Edit – 20110919]
A decision is made – take a crazy ride with me.