Things in Erin’s Head
It’s the recent weather patterns that made me recall this story. Our #Dolphins getting kicked out of the running in Kansas City (I find it cruel and unusual punishment to require humans to run around outside at minus four degrees for any reason, but then, you know how I hate to be cold.). In South Florida the weather has been unseasonably rainy, gloomy, and chilly, when our average temperature is usually about 77 degrees and the only reason NOT to go to the beach is because it’s crowded.
Watching the weather is one of my favorite parts of the morning. We watch Vivian Gonzalez on Channel 7, (in Los Angeles it was Mark Kriski on KTLA, and for the life of me I can’t remember who we watched in San Antonio – but those were wild years, y’all). I love hearing about the weather patterns, seeing how a system blows in from the north, but how a front from the south will block it. Particularly during hurricane season I’m fascinated by how things develop in Africa and blow across the sea, the sheer will of atmospheric pressure, lows and highs, that help a system take it’s shape or crumble into the unknown.
In thinking about weather patterns, my memory travelled back to the sixth grade. Every week Mrs. Petersen had “news teams” that delivered the news. Local news, national news, weather, sports, just like a morning news show and it was a fun way to get tweens tuned into current events. (My second favorite method of engaging students in current events was employed by my High School Civics teacher, Mr. Indra, who would literally read the paper to us. #KidsAreSmart).
When it was my turn to be on the news team, *I* got to be the weather girl. Which really excited me because the research was fun, but I was also completely terrified to stand up in front of the class. My mom helped me prepare – my mom helped me do everything. We crafted what can best be described as an SNL version of a weather report. As I think back on it I laugh because it was my mother who taught me the art of the practical joke, the one who encouraged me to leave anonymous love notes in boys’ lockers, to draw a line in the sand and then hop right over it.
I remember standing in front of the class and beginning my comedy weather routine. Instead of using the pointer, longer than my arm, to dryly recite a list of temperatures, with each region I would take on a new personality, create a voice, do a dance, somehow try to recreate the flavor and diversity of the globe. The class was loving it. The teacher laughed.
And then I got to Arkansas.
You know what happened, don’t you?
I am tempted to just stop here and let y’all guess. But I’m not going to leave you hanging. I will however divert to the unnecessarily complex nature of the English language.
Who in their RIGHT MIND would take a word like ARKANSAS and make everyone pronounce it ARE-CAN-SAW? When there is LITERALLY a state called KANSAS and we do NOT pronounce it CAN-SAW.
Dorothy did not live in KanSAW, she lived in KanSAS. S-A-S. <insert deep clearing of throat here>
So there I was, with my feathered bangs and braces with rubber bands, standing in front of the big ol retractable US map. I’m groovin’ along, people are diggin’ it, and I blurt out, “In Ar-KANSAS this week,” and the room erupts in laughter. It was not the “I’m laughing with you” kind of laughter, it was the evil-tween, laugh AT you kind of laughter.
And I could have died. Just, DIED.
At first I had no idea what I had done, and as my face turned a thousand gradient shades of crimson, my eyes searched out Mrs. Petersen who just gently mouthed, “Go on.” (That woman just ALWAYS had my back). I finished my report. Yes, I got teased after. No, I didn’t literally die, but it felt like a thousand deaths by papercuts.
Speaking in front of people was never my favorite thing so there’s parts of me that find amusement in the fact that it’s a huge part of what I do now (and I crave it and I LOVE it). This past weekend I was speaking to a kidney support group based in Georgia and in the middle of one of my stories I got very emotional. My emotions got stuck in my throat, and I completely lost my train of thought. I did that thing where you shake your head to try to get the fragments of thoughts to coagulate, but it didn’t work. I stared at the group through the screen and said, “I’m sorry. My emotions got the best of me and I have completely lost my train of thought. Give me just one moment.” I closed my eyes and from the depths of virtual space I heard one voice echo out, “It’s okay – now we know you’re not a robot.” In a few seconds I found my place in my notes and I carried on. And no one laughed (either with me, or at me).
Last year I started a program where each quarter I award a gratis speaking event to a non-profit support group. The award for the first quarter of 2024 went to the Piedmont Kidney Support Group and they were truly a lovely and engaging group and who shared stories with me that deeply enhanced my desire to talk to more and more people about Caregiving, and the need to for Caregivers to maintain themselves as a priority. The lessons I learned in this group lead me to share the following with you, today.
First, if you run a non-profit support group and would like to apply for one of my gratis speaking engagements, you can learn more about the requirements and access the application through my website: ErinCopelan.com/Speaking. Second quarter applications are due by Friday, March 15, 2024.
Second, as a VIP member of my email list, you are next to learn about my next endeavor, the Un-support, Support Group. I’m curious – after looking at the information page – please share with me how that name lands with you. The space is being designed as a place for Caregivers to have consistent access to tools and resources to help soften the Caregiving journey. Please add yourself to the waitlist to learn more – and if it feels in alignment, please share with those you love.
Because it’s all about love…
Did you love this week’s Hump Day Newsletter? Near or far, you now have the option to become a supporter at “Buy Me a TACO.” (feel free to add guac). Because it’s all about love. xoxo