Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Appreciating My True Friends
The night before I left for BlogHer '12, I went over to my parents' house with a serious case of the crabbies. I was hamster-wheeling about the traveling part of the trip. I couldn't stop myself from worrying about it (I swear I am super intuitive right before Really Stupid Things happen). For weeks, the tension had been building. I wasn't even excited to go anymore.
Pa: Remember -- why are you going again?
Me: To see my friends and spend time with Dorothy?
Pa: Yes, remember that. That is why you are going.
Pa knows how my anxiety and depression problems work. I'm sure he could see it written all over my face and in my awkward, slumpy body language. He was gently reminding me that the conference was about the people -- not the travel. He was right, of course. If you take out all of the travel issues, I had a great time.
I often write on this blog about my difficulties with adult friendships. Farmsville is a nice town, but I stick out like a sore thumb around these parts. One of these things is not like the other... I've had trouble meeting people who are solid, trustworthy, and loyal. I usually can't talk about politics or religion with anyone because I will end up ANGRY. A lot of people I know don't read books. And because the majority of people I know have a bazillion kiddos, getting to spend quality time with the people I care about can be a straight-up scheduling nightmare.
But then I went to BlogHer '12, and suddenly, people were hugging me and smiling and chattering and having a jolly good time. Given, not all of my bloggie friends are exactly like me, but we have enough in common that we truly, deeply appreciate each other.
It's been a long time since someone has been really excited to see me. It was like that Sally Field moment: "You like me! You really, really like me!" I really, really needed that.
To be sure, I didn't get this kind of response from everyone at the conference. Most people didn't know who I was, but I didn't care. I had a core group of people who DID know me and DID like me, and those are the people I sought out. Not for branding, not for monetization, not for swag party invites. I was there to see My People (even brand new ones I'd never read or met) -- and they delivered.
I didn't realize how lonely I'd been feeling until I was around people who know all of my ups and downs and back stories. It's like when you don't realize how cold you are until you put on a sweatshirt and feel so much better. The outpouring of love toward me was a shock to my system. I poured the love right on back, and I adore everyone I spent time with.
I've desperately been in need of these people. People who know if I sneak out of a room and go to my hotel bed or for a walk or something, it's just because I need to detox -- they know it's not personal. I don't need to explain myself. These are the people who aren't offended when I say I'm leaving the table and don't offer to take them with me. People who look into my eyes and give me their full attention -- and who appreciate my attention as I listen back. People who "get" just about everything I say or do because they know me and love me just as I am. It felt so good. So overdue. So necessary.
These people are spread out all over the world. Literally. Even though most of my international readers/bloggie friends weren't there, I still felt them in spirit, and I know in Real Life that they are just a few clicks away.
I was reminded that I started this blog because I was horribly lonely. I am not that lonely anymore -- not even close. But I still have moments where I feel like the tall nail that is always getting hammered. The only one of my kind. That person who doesn't fit in with any of the groups around her. In those moments, I will remind myself of BlogHer '12. I will close my eyes and visualize the sessions, the dancing, the hugs. I am not alone.
Note to Self: Remember that.