I hope you see you again soon. Meanwhile,
1. Do you have a story you want to share about any actions or changes that resulted from you wearing your Walking Gallery jacket in public?
2. I am creating Pinterest board to make our stories easier to find, so I will be linking your blog posts about your jackets there…
When I look back at my almost 5 years of being part of the Walking Gallery (I have two jackets, you can read about them here: My Walking Gallery Jackets, #147 (2012) and #11 (2011)) I realize that I wear them to empower others, and empower myself when needed.
The photograph at the top of this post was taken on November 22, 2013 on a day I needed a little extra courage, because I was going to introduce a room full of colleagues to people that medicine has had difficulty learning about and caring for. I took a deep breath, put on the jacket, and let the people tell their own stories, which they did beautifully.
In 2015, I wore my jacket as the first man (barely) at 2015’s XXinHealth (see: And I was the man (barely): XX in Health 2015).
When Robin Strongin (@disruptivewomen) asked me to explain what the jacket meant to the women there, I hurriedly captured this snapshot of the jacket and my story to explain it to the audience. One thing I have learned – when wearing the jacket, have the story handy, you will be asked to share it.
I guess, then, the actions and changes happen when I’m wearing the jacket – I reinforce to myself and the people around me who I am and the people/ideals I am doing things for.
If I forget, I’m reminded by a co-worker, a friend, a stranger, who tap me on the shoulder while I’m wearing the jacket. Each tap is a reminder that as much as we think people aren’t engaged (in health, life, the world around them), they are, in the kindest way.
I generate at least one, if not several referrals to Regina from every “wear event.” And I see that Robin herself just recently received her very own jacket 🙂 . The Walking Gallery is a very contagious innovation.
I once got to show the namesake of my first jacket, Regina Benjamin, MD, the jacket itself, which was exciting.
The jackets have also introduced me to a wonderful community of people who believe everything is possible, because it is. I willingly signed up in 2012 for jacket #2 (to me, #147 to The Walking Gallery) knowing that it would be the story of me versus the story of someone else. I was ready then, and I’m ready now, to bring all of myself to to the times where it’s helpful to show that people matter and the human spirit is limitless.
Such a magical thing that some fabric, paint, and a brilliant artist can make happen…