My friend Jackée Harry (from 227) got married tonight.
I don’t know the real Jackée but out of respect I should probably change the bride’s name. (It’s Erin)
Three years ago I was invited by someone I knew in A.A. (I’m an alcoholic – thankfully sober) who was starting a group called The Experiment. The structure was very simple. Meet in a room once a week and tell the truth about what’s really going on in your life. The good and the bad. This is a safe place to bring your shit.
Participating in this group for nearly four years has taught me two things:
- The hardest yet most important thing when I have shame is to talk about it to others who love me.
- When feelings come up, pay attention and get curious. Then, stay with them and try not to judge them as “good” or “bad.” Also, don’t run.
I’ve learned that telling the hard truths about myself in life connects me to others who do the same. Even though I didn’t know these people when I started, I now have been present for the most important parts of them.
I remember when Jackée Harry went on her first date with the future husband. At the time she had been struggling with finding a boyfriend. She didn’t feel that she was worthy of a great man in her life. It always shocks me to hear people talk about how little they think of themselves, when the people that love them think the opposite.
Quick suggestion – If all the people around you love you and you think you’re a piece of shit, you’re wrong. Stop listening to yourself and surrender to their judgement.
When Jackée and her now-husband started to develop a relationship she cried in group because he left the house early one morning, drove over to her apartment and brought her coffee. She couldn’t believe a man would do that for her. I was there and witnessed this vulnerable admission.
The day my wife called me up (pretty much out of the blue) and announced she had filed for divorce I jumped on my bike and head to The Experiment. I have cried in there, accessed anger, talked about shame, pushed through fear, and assisted others. They’ve been there for me during my toughest moments.
To watch Jackée and Lester (the only other 227 cast member I could remember) take their vows tonight was an honor. If I hadn’t showed up three years ago to some weird group, I wouldn’t have been there tonight to see her happiest moment. Such a great reminder that it’s never too late to make lifelong friends. The trick is to have the courage to tell the truth with people who want to do the same. You will be bonded through these intimate moments.
I need to remember that I cannot do much by myself. Well, farting. I can do that.