I am still exhausted.
Last weekend was full. Overflowing even. It was spent at the Time Out for Women event in Salt Lake City. This was my second year volunteering. I spent two days taking pictures, wandering around the Salt Palace, taking notes and catching up with a friend.
Those two days are full of stories. I hope to tell you some of them and I hope you don't get tired of me.
First, let me tell you about my stint as photographer. I was a bit intimidated. I have a DSLR and I love taking pictures of my children, but I wouldn't presume to call myself a photographer, especially inside. But still, they asked and I said yes. I went Friday afternoon my stomach full of butterflies. In the planning of an event for 5000 women, small things like the details tend to be forgotten and the fact that I was the photographer was the extent of my knowledge.
I was quickly informed that I would be in charge of video as well. Not of the event, thank heaven, but of the women attending the event. I was given a list to guide my pictures
*women in big groups
*women waiting at the door
*how long the line is before the event (longer than a picture can ever capture)
and a list to guide the video as well
*women waving at the camera
*women saying "We love Time Out for Women!"
*women answering questions
That last requirement was the hardest. By definition, I am an introvert and walking up to strangers and asking them to be filmed is not my idea of a good time. But, I did it. And I am so glad I did.
I met a woman who had received a scholarship to come to the event and the only word that she could muster was grattitude.
I met teenage girls who came to feel the spirit. Teenage girls. I know!
I met women who came looking for answers and I met women who received them.
And I met one woman, lying on a cot at the end of an aisle surrounded by her friends. An empty wheelchair sat close by for transportation. I almost didn't approach her, but something pushed me towards her and I asked her why she had come to Time Out for Women that weekend. She had recently had a pacemaker put in and was still recovering from that surgery. On top of other health issues, she hadn't left her home for the past four months. Oh, how she wanted to come, and rather than commiserate, her friends took it upon themselves to make it happen. They made the arrangements, they took care of her, they brought the cot and a sleeping bag and they got her there. She said, for the first time in months, she felt like herself again.
As I write this, I can feel my throat tighten and I wish that every woman had friends as proactive as hers. And that maybe sometime, I can be that friend.