Just a few short days ago I was surrounded by nearly 500 women who get me. Women who know what social media is and aren't afraid to use it. Women who blog, and who see their blog as their baby.
I was at Blissdom, a blogging conference for women, and I was at home.
It was my second time at Blissdom, and my third blog conference in all. Now that I have a few of these things under my belt, I'm noticing a consistent progression of feelings that come along with subjecting oneself to a blog conference.
The first feeling is panic. It didn't matter that this was my third time around, or that I'd been looking forward to this since the last Blissdom was over. Once I walked in the doors of Opryland, the panic set in. It's equal parts "I so don't belong here" and "Everyone will finally discover me for the true social reject that I am." I fight every urge to run into my hotel room and spend the rest of the conference there in my pj's, raiding the mini-bar.
The second feeling is relief. I always manage to stumble upon that one person in the room who seems as lost as me. Then they turn out to be wonderful and charming and beyond kind and I wonder where they've been all my life. Last year it was Amy from Outdoor Dogs. This year it was Rebecca from Country Fried Mama. Suddenly I can relax and soak up everything the conference has to offer.
The third feeling is euphoria. Before I know it, I'm immersed in workshops and panels with people who know things and are willing to share. I don't have to google them, or look for a Missing Manual, or wonder aloud to myself. These people are here in real life and speaking a language I understand. And it feels good.
The fourth feeling is overwhelmed. The knowledge pours over me and the next thing I know I'm drowning. I'm drowning in confusion and self-doubt. Everyone seems so assured of themselves and their blog. They know their passions and purpose, and oh God I hate the word so much, but they know their niche. I'm floundering, not knowing which direction to go, what the purpose of my blog is, and why on earth anyone would ever want to read it.
It takes a few days for the last feeling to dissipate, but it always does. I come home and I take a break from blogs, and blogging, and slowly it comes back. My passion for this blog, for my words, for my pictures, for my readers. My purpose slowly becomes clear again and I formulate ways to make this space better – more me, which hopefully translates into a more authentic experience for you.
As I was sitting in one of the panels, this quote from Howard Thurman was shared:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ”
That's the final feeling: alive. New friendships, new ideas, new sights for my lens to find, new words for my fingers to convey: all ready to come alive. To all my Blissdom friends, and to all my readers, thank you for giving me the space to come alive. I hope a little bit of what you get here makes you come alive too.