I feel that in order to properly express “post show” feelings we have to know “pre show” feelings. 

Leading up to this historic event that my facility has graciously allowed and championed has been extremely stressful. Making history isn’t easy or stress less. It’s full of sleepless nights and high tempers. I was no different. 

Afterwards though, well, we are in a much different space. As the event ended we all realized how tired we were, how emotionally taxed we were. Myself, I cried. Its all I can do at the moment to express myself. Cry and write and write and cry (and watch Botched!). The walk back to our living spaces was one that felt like victory, finally, we had been heard. 

So many organizations heard us (here I go again, I’m crying!) for the first time. For the first time we felt like we were apart of a community that loves us, that embraces us. This sense of belonging challenges me as a human being to live up to my end of the bargain to be a good person, after all, now I have a family to love me back.

We are all in such a state of turmoil, unrest, and insecurity that it is times like “post event” where this sigh of relief is more like letting the world rest on the ground while I catch my breath. The next time I pick it up, I know there’s an entire community to take a piece. I will not fail to hold my end. 

Funny though, the whole time I was speaking, the people that I thought about the most surprised me in retrospect. It wasn’t the people in front of me, it was the ones who call me friend when nobody else will…I love you guys.

With Love
Jeff Utnage