The Artidote LIVE: Being In The Moment
On Wednesday February 21st, 2018, I hosted the first ever Artidote Moment. I didn’t want to call these things “sessions” or “events” because each of those terms carried implications that were not fitting. I wanted to create a new type of experience. In the end, the term “Moment” felt natural and objectively free from any weird, unnecessary associations.
Despite not having a set structure for this very first iteration of The Artidote LIVE, I intuitively knew what I wanted to create. Over a period of 3hrs, I would attempt to open up a space where people felt free to feel. Sounds simple, right? But feeling, openly and in public, is sometimes very difficult. Beyond feeling, I also wanted people to share those feelings and their stories. I dreamt of creating an enclosed environment in which, in a room made up of mostly strangers, people felt free to both laugh out loud and cry. It’s very difficult to find spaces, in other people or in the outside world, where that freedom is given to us without somebody placing a limit on what and how to feel what we’re feeling. This was my humble attempt.
Tears Under My Eyes When I think About That Day
There were two Moments that day: one between 9:30am—12:30pm and another one between 5pm-8pm. Each Moment was and felt different. Understandably, since each space brought together 130+ souls and unique stories that came together to share a moment in time.
Every time I think back on how I personally felt at the end of that day, tears form under my eyes. Nostalgic tears. It was a beautiful experience, personally, to both open up about my own life to a room full of Artidotees and to listen and feel their own presence. My favorite part was when I felt the collective transition into comfort. At this point, people began to fall into the courage of the moment and begin sharing the vulnerably honest part of themselves with all of us present. The energy felt in the room was unmistakable; how we were all there together to sustain ourselves in those moments. These are some of their stories.
On Processing the Reality of Death
A young girl whose beloved grandfather passed the night before, came to the event. Unable to still process the reality of death and put words to her feelings, something drew her to be in that Moment with us. She is one of the strongest people I’ve ever felt in my life — a powerhouse of nurturing — I felt it in the hug we shared at the end of the Moment. May she find her peace through the grief in the healing process.
On the Importance of Parenting
A 14 year old girl came with her mother. It was such a special Moment to have a parent present; I cannot stress enough the importance parenting has on our Mental Health, especially with the challenge of today’s generation gap. I was proud of the Artidotee for convincing her mother to come with her and inspired by the parent for listening to the passionate interests of her child.
On Living and Healing After Sexual Abuse
A young woman, on her way to the venue, accidentally ran into me on the street and recognized me. She froze in awe and amazement. We exchanged smiles, took a selfie, gifted me a handwritten letter and, after a hug, she continued on her way to the venue, jumping with excitement after our chance encounter. Later on, in a room full of 200 Artidotees, she felt comfortable to ask for the microphone. In that moment, she shared with us that she still carries the trauma of being sexually abused when she was younger.
You never know what the stranger next to you has been through. We all deserve a safe space where to share our stories, be actively listened to and be allowed to feel our feelings.
I will never forget her; she’s such a courageous ray of sunshine.
On Speaking Out Despite Social Anxiety
An Artidotee with a history of social anxiety asked for the microphone. Subtly shaking, she admitted that she could distinctly hear her heart pounding as she began to speak. She would go on to deliver a passionate account of her life, personal struggles and how she’s overcoming them. Her vulnerably honest thoughts were followed by all of us clapping at her and her courage to speak her mind.
On Reminding Ourselves To BREATHE
An Artidotee who suffered a panic attack the night before shared her story. She said that, in her panic, she felt enough stored up energy in her body to… do the unthinkable. But in the midst of it all, she remembered to B R E A T H E. And kept reminding herself to breathe throughout. And she wanted to be with us in that shared Moment to thank The Artidote community for being there. I felt so very thankful to have her there with us as well.
Moments To Never Forget
Someone that has never heard of The Artidote until that Moment (told about it by a friend) stopped by. He asked for the microphone near the end to share how much he appreciated having had experienced what just happened during the last three hours. And how appreciative he was of finding this community and having shared the last 3hrs of his life with all of us.
These are Moments I will personally never forget.
The Artidote is still a passion project running on love for the past 3 years by a team of one. But I’ve finally let go of my fear of asking for help, which I need more than ever to sustain the amount of work it requires today; consider helping me keep this dream alive by contributing to its financial sustainability <3