Continuing from where we left off…
The next morning I grabbed my bags and kissed my son goodbye, holding back the tears until they were gone and I was safe inside the airport.
I didn’t think a week would be so hard, but I already felt tired and sick and knew my busiest time was still ahead - a long day of flying out to Atlanta to attend the Conversations with Coca Cola conference I had been invited too just a few weeks prior.
I’d felt it was a sign that two blogging events had come in such a short proximity of each other, and had decided, instead of pushing the blogging back to get laundry done and to play with my son, that I would make it a priority.
Besides, they flew me out, fed me, gave me just enough swag to completely stuff my suitcase with and kept me in a really cool hotel that had Bliss soaps on the bathroom counter.
And they put me in a group of women who were all ladies I already admired or would come to admire.
I also deemed it a potential chance to do a lot of thinking about everything I had just absorbed through Bloggy Boot Camp and what I would learn there on long flights, fighting for elbow room with strange men.
Everyone seems to be looking their best, while I struggled with feeling well that day. Note my awesome wavynesss that refused to quit.
On the way out I watched Twitter for little bits of conversation, including a way to share a cab to the W Hotel downtown. My first find was Jessica, who gossiped with me after I ran to catch my connecting flight.
I soon caught up with most of the westcoasters and was soon sharing bites of grits with Melanie, struggling to keep up as names and ideas and companies flew across the table and a day of traveling wore on me.
I came to learn, pouring over the lists of people attending and still forgetting their name the minute we were introduced, and knew that half of my education, at least, would come from the other attendees. My blogging world is very small compared to some of the conversations I was hearing from ladies who were far in the game before I was.
So, the theme of my two days in Atlanta was shut up and listen. My first biggest lesson was a reminder of my role as a ‘storyteller’ from the editor-in-chief of Babble.com, Catherine Connors of Her Bad Mother – and how we have changed the face of media.
My second biggest lesson came from sitting very quietly and jut absorbing a conversation between her and Andrea – about integrating your passions into your blogging.
I’ve been struggling a lot with my blogging lately, both from an influx of reasons to not be in front of the computer, but also because, for a while, I have struggled with where it was going.
The best action I could have done was a vision board, which came the first morning as well.
I didn’t plan one, just cut out different images and words that spoke to me and eventually brought them together in three clumps.
Catherine Connors is totally listening to me, y’all. I dig her glasses. I’m also glad I wore my yellow Loft shirt.
Just after I had heard about how it was impossible to live a perfectly balanced life at Bloggy Boot Camp, I realized I was still reaching for that as a goal. So lately it has been figuring out what kind of balance I would be comfortable with.
I also realized that I wanted to put more of me into my blog, instead of just my son and parenting. I reach so much to avoid being typecast as a ‘mommy blogger’ yet that is what I repeatedly show myself as.
There is so much random to my life that people just don’t see. Hopefully they will want to read about it.
I also got a chance to finally wear my leopard-print shoes, a present to myself this spring that I have only trotted out in a couple of times. While I never get to wear them , they make me feel sexy, and well, sexy is confidence, as I also pointed out in my vision board, which I ned more of.
I mean, the deciding vote for me to say yes came from Mr. Wonder, who was like, why wouldn’t you be worthy enough to go?
By the way, that confidence part? That was not the part with the unicorn on it.
You can see my shoes here, but please ignore the fish eye lens. For obvious reasons.
I learned a lot of things at this conference – from the brands we talked to, from the ladies in the room, and about myself, struggling to fall asleep hours ahead of schedule, random thumps punctuating the night (I was next to the electrical closet).
I learned I had a lot of thinking to do, and a lot of writing.
I learned that I had more pull with a brand than I thought I did, since Coca Cola saw me fit enough to ship me out to them so they could talk to me.
I also learned how much my husband could tolerate my blogging brain dumps since I did one again during my trip and again on the car ride home, 10:30 p.m. on a work night.
I also learned that they keep the formula for Coca Cola in the museum itself. (Well, it sure looks like they do…)
Lastly, I learned that a week away from my son is just too much, since I burst into tears upon hearing his joyous “Mommy!” followed by “a doggie!” (my last flight was shared with a Yorkie). He then fell asleep with the Coca Cola bear plush I brought him.
Disclaimer: Coca-Cola paid for my airfare, food and hotel during the conference. I received no monetary compensation besides extra travel expenses. All opinions are my own.