Confession: I had a breakdown at Blissdom as the Gaylord Opryland Hotel staff was breaking down the ballroom (coincidence? who knows.). The same ballroom where I’d finally let loose, practiced my Jillian Michaels planking skills, and danced til I wet my pants only half an hour before. I’d been partying with Gigi, Natalie H, Frelle, Shell, Ashley, Nicole, Carri, Julie, Angela, Natalie C and soooo many others.
Long swaths of material came cascading down, tables walked out as if on their own legs, and comfy Oprah-like sofas marched away every minute. Blissdom was over.
Danielle Smith caught me as I was leaving.
“You walked away from me earlier,” she said, looking me right in the eye.
That was true. I’d asked her to sign a copy of her book while she had bright lights and a camera waiting on her. It was bad timing, but I worried I wouldn’t get another chance. I apologized for intruding and said I could come back later, but she was warm and kind and insisted on signing it right then. Not with just her name, but with a sweet message that made me teary.
As we talked I felt I was keeping her from her work. I kept saying, “I should let you go,” and though I didn’t want to, I began backing away. She even reprimanded me as I left her standing there, but I knew she had things to do. I always have to be the first to cut myself off.
This is what I do. I belittle myself, shame myself into thinking I’m LESS. I assume I’m annoying and bothersome. In my warped brain, there are two categories of people: (1) me; and (2) everyone else—automatically better and infinitely more interesting than I.
Danielle talked to me, questioned me, drew me out. I cried for many things: for her kindness; for my own feelings of unworthiness; for Blissdom’s end and the return of my fears. I was relieved only the three of them saw me wipe tears, mascara, and snot with my shirt sleeve.
Do you want to know what I’m afraid of?
I’m afraid I’ll always be small and ordinary. I’m afraid I’ll never be extraordinary. I dream of being up on a fancy stage or at a podium talking to people about writing. I’m scared it will never happen.
I put everyone else up on high shelves where they are kept clean, pristine and shiny because they are beautiful and special and I want to admire them always. And I shove myself in a corner.
But Danielle made me see (thank you, sweets!). She pointed out that I can’t compare my beginning to someone else’s middle or end. I am thousands of miles behind someone like her in my journey to becoming myself. To finding myself.
So it begins. I’ll go to more conferences, network and keep digging down to my roots. And you will do it with me on Fridays. Email me if you are interested in writing about your roots here.
Lastly, read these inspirational pieces:
Crayon Wrangler’s Writing Dangerously.
**Since I wrote this, it’s been nominated for BlogHer’s Voices of the Year contest. Please go HERE to vote for me (you’ll need to login/create a username & password, & you may only vote once). Thank you!