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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blissdom, Part I

So I packed up my stuff {including these cuties...with each letter hand stamped, mind you}

...and drove up to Nashville Thursday morning for this...

{{{This post is going to be a long one, so you might as well get a cup of coffee and sit down for a few minutes.  And I am apologizing in advance for the length of this story.  I could sum it up, but I think it's an important story to tell.  So, here's the beginning...}}}

I may have mentioned that I was TERRIFIED about going to Blissdom.  Truly.  I think the older I get the more comfortable I am at home, set in my ways, and just, well, not super excited about making new friends.  The twenty-two year old me would have been psyched about this trip.  The thirty-four old me wanted to back out completely. 

So I had that kind of attitude.  Which is never good.

The drive was actually pretty lovely...and a lot shorter than good ole google maps told me it was going to be. 

When I got to Opryland, I called the hotel from the parking lot to find out which entrance to go in...

Me:  Hi!  I'm here for the Blissdom Conference and need to know which entrance to park at to check in for Blissdom and to sign in at the hotel. 
Operator:  You'll need to park in the Presidential lot.
Me:  So I should go past the lots for Magnolia and Cascades?
Operator:  Yes.

And so, that's what I did. 

And I hauled my 85lb suitcase out of the back of my Pilot, along with my laptop bag and purse.  It was then that I realized just how far I parked away from the entrance and just exactly how heavy my bags were.

When I got to the doors, the area was deserted and there was nowhere to go except down 50 super steep stairs.  With my 85lb suitcase, mind you. 

I was sweating.  Which is never good.

I made my way into the lobby where the Blissdom check in was (a completely smooth transaction) and they gave me an ENORMOUS bag of swag.  Seriously.  It also weighed almost as much as my suitcase.

And then the girl told me that the hotel check in was on the OTHER SIDE of the the building.

I almost died. 

Because not only did I have all my bags with me, but she had just given me another one.

And I had to go UP the 50 steep stairs that I had just finished walking DOWN.  With all of these bags.  Like a mule on a cliff.

I was ready to pass out from heat stoke/exhaustion by the time I made it back to my car.

This little escapade lasted longer than the free 20 minute parking and I had to pay $19.22 to get out of the parking lot.

What, what????

I laid my head on the steering wheel and debated just going home.  Turning the ship around and driving back to Atlanta.  Clearly things were not going my way.

They were also not going my way once I checked in at the hotel and found out that my room was alllll the way back on the other side of the place!  And I didn't get anyone to help me with my bags.


But then I headed down to the handmade market and picked up some goodies from both The Pleated Poppy and Gussy Sews, and I met this cute, cute girl, Alison.

Alison and I spent a fair amount of time together (along with these sweet girls, Andrea, Anne and Virginia) and I was so glad to have her as a friend.

But while I was glad to have Alison and the other girls, I also felt out of place.  I felt awkward and silly introducing myself to people.  I felt terrible having to always text people to see what they were doing and where they were going.  No joke, it was uncomfortable.

But more on that in a minute....

Let me tell you about my "peaceful" hotel room...  Good grief!  I was conveniently located on the 5th floor directly above 3 enormous fountains...

...and the area where the Water's Edge is and boat tours are given.  I could not fall asleep to save my life.  And then once I did, I couldn't stay asleep.  I have to have complete silence.  Chris reminded me that some people buy waterfall CDs to play when they go to sleep.  I am not one of them.  I kept thinking that there could be someone in my room and I would never hear them.  I had to sleep with the pillow over my head and if the pillow fell off my head I would wake up.  No joke.  Awful.  Worst nights' sleep ever.  For three days. 

At one point on Friday I came back to my room to take a nap from my sleepless night, only to find that it was prime boat tour time...which included a woman speaking on a microphone.  Fantastic.

So I was crabby.  And Friday really wasn't my best day to begin with...the sessions felt hit or miss to me, and I wasn't really connecting with people the way I wanted to and well, I was just crabby.

So I ordered room service.  And then took a shower and then got ready {shaved my legs, flat ironed my hair, did all sorts of make up, slid on some spanx} and slipped into my little black dress for the Girls Night Out. 

I took one look at myself in the mirror and decided I wasn't going.

I looked like a librarian going to a funeral.

I didn't feel like myself and really, the evening wasn't something I would normally go for.  I haven't been to a concert in five years.  I haven't had a dressy girls night out since my bachlorette party.  I didn't particularly want to do either of those things and I knew that I was dressed all wrong.

And I didn't want to have a repeat of my cousin's wedding where I felt terrible because I stood out like a sore thumb.

So I cried.

I googled to see if there were any Blissdom horror stories out there to comfort myself with (there weren't) and I checked twitter to see if anyone had tweeted about what they were wearing (they hadn't).

I called Chris.  And I cried to him.  He told me that I could always just come home.

I decided that I was going to check out in the morning and quit blogging.  I was going to close my shop and just go back to being a librarian and a mom and a wife and forget all the rest of it.

See, in the sessions I kept hearing "authentic blogging" and "purpose" and "being present" and so on and so forth.  People always hear what I do {wife, mom, full time job, blogger, jewelry designer} and think that I am some kind of super woman.  But I am here to tell you that I am not.  I do lots of things, but I fear that I am spreading myself thin and not really doing any of them well these days.

So I was going to quit.  And leave Blissdom.  Go home.  Go back to being a librarian and a wife and a mama...and nothing else.

I told Chris that I had made a mistake in coming there.  I made the wrong decision.  I should have spent the money on counseling instead of Blissdom.  Because clearly, while lying in a hotel room, in my bra and spanx, sobbing, cursing about the water fountains and the little black dress, I was in need of some counseling.

I turned out the light at 9pm.  Cried some more.  Got up to take off my spanx (because I definitely couldn't sleep in them...I think I would have broken a rib) and put on jammies.

I had another fitful night of sleep.  Stupid fountains.

But I decided to give it one more try.

I went to breakfast, to the sessions, with intention.  I was determined not to let Blissdom get the best of me.

I had decided to go to Blissdom waaaaaay back in September because I had heard such amazing things about it.  Stories of how it changed people, how wonderful it was, how they had this aha moments there.  I wanted that.  And then I figured that if that wasn't going to happen that I at least wanted to learn something.  To maybe make a friend or two.

I walked to the luncheon alone.  Another girl, also alone, and I began a conversation and as we were herded past tables in the ballroom, an amazing thing happened.

I saw this girl - Zakary - and about fell over.

{stayed tuned for more later!}


Anonymous said... know, I can relate. I've always been more comfortable alone at home or surrounded by those I know and already feel comfortable with. I don't often feel excited to meet new friends, it's hard for me to step outside of the shell. I'm sure I'd feel much of the same. BUT, I'm so glad you stayed, and looking forward to reading part II!
P.S.- thanks SO much for my earrings. They are beyond perfect, and I will be blogging about them soon:)

Zakary said...

This is exactly what happened to me my first conference.

Please be my roommate next year. PLEASE SAY YES.

Angie said...

Nancy - I cannot wait to see the wedding pics! I LOVED your shoes!

Zakary - Roommates. Fo Sho. It has to happen!

LittleGreenThread said...

I wish I would have known that you spent that evening in your room in your jammies! I did the same thing. I went down to the concert with my roomies, but I ended up leaving early and going back to the room. It just wasn't my thing. We could have hung out and been old, tired ladies together :)