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You Make Your Own Conference, Bitches

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Lego Super Woman

Image | levork

The whole way home I was thinking about different sage things I needed to write once I dug out Darwin, the laptop.

Then, as I was making my uninterrupted cups of coffee this morning, I had even more amazing things to share. Things that would blow your fucking mind. You would read those things and then just sit back, hit yourself in the forehead and speak aloud, “Yes! This is what I’ve been needing. This is what I’ve been meaning to say!” And then you’d want to give me a fist bump and say, “Good game!” or something.

Even as I was driving to pick up the kids, I fumbled with my phone in hopes of finding the “record memo” function. I never found it but I’m pretty certain it exists.

Instead of all of those things, you get this.

I’ve been to conferences.

I’ve cried at conferences. I’ve been overwhelmed at conferences. I’ve gotten nothing from conferences.

This was the first conference where I felt I obtained something meaningful. Something that I was excited by. Something I was inspired by. Something worth all of the bullshit.

I talked with some amazing women. Inspirational women. Women who humbled me. Women I won’t link to because I’m sure I will leave many out and I’d rather link to none than only link to some.

My own insecurities are the cause of that. I would be crushed if one of these women wrote a post and forgot about me. It would just reinforce my feelings that I don’t matter. That I wasn’t worth being included in these dinners. In these meetings.

I shared incredibly personal things. You shouldn’t be surprised since I routinely vomit personal things here.

Random meetings.

Random amazing meetings of minds. I feel you rolling your eyes. I’m cool with that. I hate that whole existential bullshit. And then I experienced it and I’m a believer. It is possible.

I blame all of this on Heather Solos.

Pick your roommate wisely, folks. They’ll make or break you. Heather made me this year. She kept me from hiding. She listened to me be dumb. She introduced me to her circle of fabulous women. She sat up with me until 0430 and shared Gardettos with me and really horrible Crystal Light and vodka drinks and we talked about personal stuff and cried like idiots and laughed like kids.

You get what you give at conferences.

You get what you chose to get out of conferences. You can either give freely and be vulnerable–to a point–and hope that there’s a bit of reciprocity there or you can clam up and get jack shit.

I got a lot this year.

I talked. I was recognized. People told me they read my blog. They followed me on Twitter and told me so. They had never heard of me. I got funny looks. I felt ignored. I was in control and I was scared.

I sat in my car for twenty minutes and I cried before I finally put my SUV in gear. I called Tucker and spewed nonsense. He listened. He told me to come home. If he judged me, he didn’t tell me.

I came home. I felt empowered. I felt like someone wanted to listen to me and and wanted to work with me and didn’t feel embarrassed to be around me and/or be associated with me.

This was the year I stopped making excuses and started something that could be awesome. Or could suck and fail.

Regardless, I made my own conference.

I owned that shit and I regret nothing.

Comments

  1. I owned my conference too. Before I went, I set up dinners and meetings with people I wanted to meet or network with. I got out of my comfort zone. And I met you. And you were a HUGE part of my having an awesome conference experience. It’s people like you, Heather, and so many others that make me happy I’m in a field that allows me to meet people all over the country…and sad that all my friends are spread out over the country.

  2. I love this.  You said it perfectly.  And?  You do kick ass! xoxo

  3. HeatherSolos says:

    There’s nothing I can say other than, thank you, for all of it, except the Crystal Light. I hate Crystal Light.
     

  4. This might be the best wrap up of Blissdom ever. And it’s what I told myself almost every day I was there. When I wanted to stay in my room and not introduce myself to one more new person who had no idea who I was (and probably didn’t care either way). I’m so glad you were one of the people I got to meet.

  5. Oh hai. I love you. In a squishy kind of way.

  6. Completely awesome! I feel like I fell short on some of the things you took hold of, but you’re right on that you get what you give! It’s my own damned fault for not giving more. 

  7. I freaking adore you.

  8. I felt much the same way about this year’s Blissdom. Although I’m sad we didn’t get a chance to talk more. Someday we must fix that, because I’d love to get to know you even better!

  9. I love this post! Blissdom was my first conference. I was of course nervous. But I tried to go with an open mind and a willingness to stretch myself. And I did. I loved the positive vibe of the whole thing. So glad you had a great experience.

    • BlogHer was my first conference and I had a HORRIBLE time. Like didn’t even go on Saturday. Looking back on it, I realize that it had more to do with me than the conference.
       
      I’m glad you had a good time. Being miserable is no way to be. 

  10. Simon Salt says:

    Just so you know, those feelings – yeah they never stop. I’m heading to SXSW next week – it’s taken me 10 months to decide to go – all because of those emotions. Knowing that there are people I admire who will be there who will have no clue who I am, people who I have no idea who they are telling me they read my stuff, people I want to meet and won’t get the chance, people who I will meet who will change my mind and the way I think about certain things. I will have panic attacks, I will want to simply stay in bed, but I will get my ass out and meet people. 
     
    What is most important about your post is that you made me feel less alone. Its great to know that I’m not a weirdo and that others go through the same range of emotions I do.
     
    Now we just have to engineer a conference we are both at so I can finally meet you and tell you “hey, I read your blog”. :-)

    •  @Simon Salt To hear you feel that way makes me feel better. Wait…that sounds bad, doesn’t it? You know what I mean. 
       
      You’re going to SXSW?! And I can’t wait to “really” meet you. :)

    • Simon Salt says:

       @TheAmyTucker Yep I totally get what you mean – doesn’t sound bad at all. Yes I’m heading down to SXSW after telling myself I wouldn’t go. Are you going to be there?

    •  @Simon Salt NOT going to SXSW. Might be a bit bitter and jealous. :D You’re a lucky, lucky dog and you better have a blast. Or else. 

    • Simon Salt says:

       @TheAmyTucker I shall bombard the usual SN sites with pictures :-)

  11. notasupermom says:

    Love it! I wish I’d know you had to drink Crystal Lite. My roommates and I had cranberry juice.
     
    We insured none of us would get a UTI at Blissdom. 
     
    So jealous of your Heather-time. I think she’s amazing. Hope to be able to talk to you next Blissdom. 

    •  @notasupermom Hey @HeatherSolos someone likes you! hehThe Crystal Light hate was because Heather’s a big baby but I DO love me some cranberry juice. UTIs suck. A bunch. Next time we’ll have to get together for a drink or something. It’ll be lots of fun.  

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  1. [...] (yes, THE Amy Tucker) from Tastes Like Crazy writes how she allowed this conference to BE what she [...]

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