Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Week in Which the Internet Becomes Reality

Heather shares her awesome eye of newt recipe with Bianca, Alex, and Jennie!

I nearly poked her in the face to make sure she was real.

But I didn't. I behaved *pretty* normally when I ran into one of my most long-term "internet relationships" at the thrift store the other day. I was looking down, trying to tame my outrageously overgrown Elvis pompadour with some spit and a prayer, when I heard my name. I turned to see her standing there next to the tie rack, adorable and uncertain. The chaos of the thrift store fell away and I approached as if in a dream. We held hands and spun around in a field somehow and then we braided each other's hair.

No, silly. We didn't do that! We chatted about Mexican blankets for a few minutes like normal thrift store ladies, and then said goodbye.

She was smaller and skinnier in real life, just like celebrities are. Joel McHale was on our flight to Kauai last week and he couldn't have been more than 120 pounds. Seriously, he was EMACIATED (and p.s. he totally initiated a conversation with my husband but I was like, hey this book I'm reading upside-down is way more interesting and I'm not even listening to you!)

This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend, because on Saturday I was invited to a gathering of bloggers/small business owners, some of whom I've "known" for quite some time without ever meeting.

I drove with Erin and although we've never met in person, it was as if we were picking up the thread of a conversation that had just been briefly interrupted. I love, LOVE Erin's thoughtful, academic writing style and wish I could be as clear-thinking, direct, and simple in my approach to blogging as she is.

We parked down the street and downed a few shots from my hip flask of Bach Rescue Remedy (I'm just kidding, only I did this) which proved completely useless against my most special talent, social anxiety. I spent the rest of the evening willing myself NOT TO SAY ANYTHING SUPER INAPPROPRIATE, which must have worked because some of the ladies are still talking to me!

There are two major things I took away from the evening:

1) If you want to grow your blog or business or change anything about your life, make yourself uncomfortable and put yourself out there. Go take a class or host an event yourself. You can only go so far in life alone in a room with a computer screen. We are social creatures and we need the creative stimulation of others in order to move forward. Alone with our thoughts, we just get stuck!

2) Women are super heroes . Guys are ok for some things, but ladies are awesome. We get a bad rap for being "catty" or jealous or whatever (gee, I wonder who's responsible for that stereotype!), but in my experience we thrive on helping one another succeed and will even put aside our own interests to do this. The organizers, Alexis and Jules (who came and set up despite having food poisoning!), testify to this.

Attending this event reminded me of how starved I am for some good female energy in my "all-dude-all-the-time" life! So many generous women came up to me or contacted me via email later to discuss certain aspects of what I had said, give advice and feedback, or just be generally encouraging and supportive.

I felt the love, ladies. I felt the love, and I want you to feel it too. But not in a gross way.

20 comments:

  1. Such a great summary. It was nice to meet you and I cant wait for the next gathering!
    Xo,
    Greta

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    1. Thanks Greta, skate on you crazy diamond!

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  2. I'm so incredibly to have missed the night. If nothing else than to meet YOU! You sound like a hoot and a half. I even loved getting your "apology" email (think I was just on the mass email list) My first thought was "thank GOODNESS there's someone else who feels like they don't say the perfect things at the perfect times (or all the time in my case.) I'll have to absolutely make the next meet-up!
    Cheers! Melissa

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    1. Yeah, I'm like, Woody Allen-level neurotic!
      Oh blurgh, you got that email too...embarrassing! Let's meet soon.

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  3. Well, I love your humor. I love nothing more than to meet a fellow woman who can make me laugh (where's the like button?) ;)
    Like you, I struggled with the same anxiety that night (and all the time), but we were in good company. It was a pretty great evening brimming with talent and support, and I'm still thinking about it. Although briefly, it was great meeting you and hope we all get to do it again soon.

    PS~In reply to your IG comment, here is a interesting comment that Nichole of Little Brown Pen wrote on a post written by Uncle Beefy (did you get that?) about the whole blogging thing (Nichole's is the first comment) - http://thebedlamofbeefy.blogspot.com/2012/04/into-woods_04.html

    Interesting...

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    Replies
    1. Theresa, thank you so much for your thoughtful response, and for connecting me with the blog post and comment from Nichole of Little Brown Pen. When someone else articulates exactly what you're thinking, it just helps to clarify the issue. Things change so fast these days...the constant challenge is to continue to be relevant and meaningful, and keep your priorities straight, and it's no easy task!

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  4. I thought you swore not to divulge the flask!

    I'm glad we braved the event together- it was definitely great and it's nice to try something new and scary from time to time. I've had some wonderful emails this week, too :)

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  5. I too needed the extra push to get out of my comfort zone. .....although I shamelessly take pride in my ability to shock others with my freedom of speech and embarrassing myself comes so naturally.
    It was great meeting you and I'm sure we will cross paths again. ;)
    Thank you for writing this post so I don't have to. As you see, my blog is still on sebatical. Karin

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    1. Karin, what the heck? You do furniture, Etsy vintage, Etsy handmade jewelry, chickens, and kids??
      Let's cross paths SOOOOOON!

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  6. Like I said in my email - Summer you make me laugh. Yes Theresa, I too love a funny lady. I think we all had social anxiety. I was only able to get the beginning of my 'goal' out before I cut myself off by saying "that's all" when really there was so much more - perhaps it will have to wait for the next time we gather.

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    1. Jennie, send it to the group in an email? It's so much easier for me to get my thoughts together in writing. I for one would LOVE to know what's going on in the pretty head of yours!

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  7. You might have been the highlight of the evening for me, Summer. Funny goes a long way. Your realness is what I love about blogging :)

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    1. You would be surprised at how totally serious I am! Honey, you wore sweatpants in my honor, to a fancy blogger meet-up, and so you are my hero. My craftee, jam-making hero!

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  8. Well done. It sounds as though you pulled it off! My comfort zone is somewhere in a unibomber cabin off the grid in the middle of nowhere, so social anxiety is something I can relate to!

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    1. YES. Except that I LOVE people. I am just SO AFRAID of them. Next time, you're coming!

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  9. I still want to punch myself for missing last weekend. The only bright side was that I lost like 5 pounds. So there's that. Anyway, I can't wait until we do this again in Palm Springs or something exotic like that. In the meantime, I will settle for a Mexican Food date with you (so I can regain those 5 pounds in one sitting).

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    1. where did you say you got that food poisoning from again?? ;)
      I know, I was bereft without you. I wanted to leave! I was like, no Jules, no dice! But so glad I stayed. You went so far beyond the call of duty in planning this. How can I repay you? Burritos?

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  10. silly. you have seen my IRL before. except you just stalked morgan and i and didn't say hi and then blogged about it. but it's cool.

    and thank you for refraining from rubbing what i am sure was some insane purchase after i departed in my face.

    and the run on sentence award goes to..........

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