Hand Holding. What does it mean to you? Our mindshine guests recently opened up on the topic over dinner and drinks, and was it ever interesting. Check it out.
Originally from Little Chute, Wisconsin, Katy Corey has considered herself a Milwaukeean for 10+ years. She finds joy in gardening, spending time with her husband and four cats, and is loving the creative freedom as Filament's Director of Collaboration.
Formerly involved in raising dollars and building care programs for hospice, Katy focused on the importance of hand holding at the end of life. "To go into the unknown alone, I can't imagine. I understand that not everyone is afraid of death or needs a hand to hold. It's just that, to me, that connection, that last touch, it seems like the most important thing we can do for those who are vulnerable in their final hours of life. It also makes me want to live a little bit more holding hands. To always appreciate that basic, human touch."
Kelly Andrew grew up in a farming community in Janesville, Wisconsin, and is now 17-years strong in Milwaukee. She aims to be a "leader of one’s best expression" and is passionate about growing local businesses. "If Filament is growing, that means other small businesses are growing," she shared.
Kelly revealed that "there was a shift in how she chose to connect" after the death of her grandmother. "I think touch and the words 'I love you' became so much more important."
Katy added, "Yoga has also encouraged you to connect."
"That's true," Kelly replied. "I went on a week-long yoga retreat and, during our goodbye, everyone stood in a circle and held hands. And these were strangers. And they loved me. And they love me now. It's not romantic love - it's a love that says, 'I love who you are in the world and I want to hold your hand because I know you're on a path of purpose.' It changed my life. So, maybe hand holding is love."
"Oh, I think it is..." said Tiffany.
Tiffany Herrera was born and raised in Milwaukee and has been committed to giving a voice to the voiceless, whether it’s animals, women, minorities, etc. She is a mother of two Pitbulls, a volunteer at the Humane Society, and wears a stunning red ruby on her engagement finger. Here's what Tiffany had to say about hand holding.
"Initially, a sense of 'awww' came to mind, but does hand holding have to be warm and fuzzy? I think about games played as a kid. Red Rover. We locked hands. We locked arms. We stood together in defiance. Or, I imagine being at Standing Rock, locking hands, locking arms. Let's hold hands in protest. Let's be defiant for the right reasons. There is a lot of commonality in standing together."
"It's really all about connection," added Kim. "To see the bigger spider web or trampoline..."
Native to Pennsylvania, Kim Hunt thought a Friday Night Fish Fry was a band when she moved to Milwaukee in 2000. It was her love of Harley Davidson that brought her to our great city. Kim is now empowering minds as a teacher and inspirational blogger.
"Flesh on flesh. Electricity. Once you interlock, it can be a head connection. Unfortunately, I think hand holding is reserved for people who have some privileges. I come from a group where it's not necessarily a privilege to hold hands in public. It is a simple gesture, but a huge gesture. It's about finding someone to connect with in this crazy, messed up world. It says, 'look, somebody picked me.'"
Tiffany added, "To those marginalized, holdings hands can also be an act of defiance."
"And a risk," stated Drew.
Drew Douglas is originally from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and has lived in Milwaukee since his college years a UW-Milwaukee. He loves this city. He is also a proud new dad, husband, and Website Creator.
Drew had a number of thoughts on hand holding. "When you first have the opportunity to hold someone's hand - yes - it is a statement to the rest of the world: I belong and I've found a connection. I also thought about having to "hand hold" new employees on the job - how it can be both frustrating and infuriating - and, yet, we do it because we want whatever it is to succeed. And, it makes me think of my teachers. How grateful I am that they held my hand when I didn't know. Someone took their time to walk me through it."
Annie McGinnity grew up in Milwaukee and decided to stay in the city to influence positive change. "We've created a lot systems that have failed the people who need them most. It often requires a lot of hand holding to navigate the system, but there aren't enough hands to hold...and it's becoming incredibly personal." So personal, that within a year and a half of having her son, Annie and her husband Mike opened their home to a family friend with an intellectual disability because his SSI benefits ended after graduating high school. "We've been working to restore his benefits and I'm having a hard time navigating all of the systems. People with mental health issues, disabilities, those living in poverty, he is one of millions trying to get their basic needs met. As a city, we need to find a better way to connect people to the resources they need."
The conversation continued to circle back to the importance of connection - which, in essence, is the point of mindshine. To come together as human beings. To share our brains and voices. To let each other know, "I hear you. I respect you. I care about you."
Thank you to the bright souls who joined us this past February. We look forward to hosting another crew of local fascinators this evening on the topic of: Death, Dying, and Are You Living? Stay Tuned.