Now that my post-Blissdom fog has cleared, I have realized a few things about myself.
I had lunch last week with a new friend made at Blissdom, and something she said really made me think. When I commented about how going to Bliss was way outside of my comfort zone, she looked at me like I had two heads.
“Are you kidding me?? You were so confident!!”
“Fake it til you make it!” I responded, laughing, until it hit me.
I hadn’t been faking it. Yes, there was always those few seconds of insecurity before heading into a packed room alone, but for the first time ever I really was among my people: writers, bloggers, influencers; the kinds of people I don’t get to mingle with every day, the group that understand exactly what I mean when I say traffic, algorythms, numbers, organic growth.
It’s not every day that I get to speak to someone who’s eyes don’t glaze over when I talk about demographics and analytics.
I was feeling apprehensive, but eager to hear what everyone else had to share. I was there to learn, and learning requires three things: open ears, open eyes, and an open mind. Those three things also squash insecurity, in me anyway, because those three things allowed the letting go of my ego at the entrance to Blue Mountain.
I know a thing or two about crippling insecurity. It has stopped me from experiencing many things, because my ego would not allow me to serve myself up for what I believed to be assured humiliation. I kept to myself out of fear that no one would want to talk to me, no one would want to engage, and I would be shunned and alone.
With all of that in my mind, every time I walked into a room that weekend I made damn sure that not one single person was going to feel that way from ME.
I met so many amazingly talented and creative women, many of whom breathed a sigh of relief when I saw them standing alone and walked over to strike up a conversation. It’s terrifying to walk into a room full of people when you are acquainted with only a few of them, and I wanted to be a port in a storm for people who had the same deer-in-the-headlights look that I would normally have.
I didn’t go there with that intention. I went there fully expecting to be the deer in the headlights, the fully shunned and alone girl in the corner. I am not entirely sure what changed things around for me – maybe it was the text message from my best friend that I took a screenshot of and looked at more than once for backup over the weekend. Maybe it was the realization that if *I* felt that way, I bet other people did too….and that hurt my heart, because that is such a shitty way to feel when surrounded by your peers.
Blissdom changed my life. Not just by what I learned in all the sessions I went to, or the conversations I had with mentors, or the handouts and cheatsheets that I will refer to forever.
It made me realize that confidence does not come only in the form of a great outfit (which doesn’t hurt, either!), or even from a fantastic sense of self-worth – it also comes from empathy for others, and an ability to reach out to people.
It turns out I am not so bad at those things, not that wearing sassy boots didn’t help.