Archive for January, 2011

Blissdom, Brene and Breakthroughs

Well, as always, Blissdom is over and my mind, she is a’brimming! Honestly, it’s going to take me a while to soak in and sort through all of the information and emotions I experienced, so it’s probably a little soon for me to try to hit the highlights with you guys (though I am dying to!)  But I did want to kickstart the process by sharing a video of Brene Brown, who was the opening keynote speaker this year.

She was, quite simply, amazing.

So many of the things she said really resonated with me, and I have had a very interesting conversation going on in my head ever since– I’m anxious to hear your reactions to what she has to say. This video is not from Blissdom, this is a talk she gave at a TED conference in Houston in 2010. TED is “a small non-profit dedicated to Ideas Worth Sharing. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.” It brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Brene Brown’s TED talk has gone viral, and you may have already seen it reposted on Facebook or somewhere. Though this is not identical to the keynote address she gave at Blissdom, it is very similar.

Take a few minutes and listen…

Leave a comment and tell me what you think. And here’s what I’d really love to hear from you:

What makes you feel vulnerable– unguarded and unprotected?

I’ll start, OK?

One of the things that makes me feel the most vulnerable these days is the realization that my days of having Madi Rose under my roof are numbered, that the kind of ‘mothering’ on a daily basis I have done since we brought her home from the hospital is almost over– and I’m just not sure that I did the best job I could have done.

Now I am NOT fishing for all of you to jump in and try to reassure me by telling me what a wonderful mother I am– I know I haven’t screwed up on a major level, I haven’t beaten her or sold her to gypsies or anything. But in my heart of hearts, I know that there are gaps in my mothering, there are areas where I dropped the ball or emotionally bailed out. And if I see any faint echo in Madi that makes me think I have left her lacking in some area that she is going to need to be strong in, I just feel so naked and exposed– like somebody peeked behind my confident, happy-go-lucky exterior and saw the confused, self-doubting, second-guessing incompetent person I sometimes feel I am. Please God, let my mothering have been ‘good enough’…

(Now it’s your turn.)

Well, it’s that time of year again…

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010

Yes, ’tis the season for my faithful ‘Bloomr Nation to once again summon all of the patience and Christian charity within them as they grit their collective teeth and try to tolerate my endless yammering about going to yet another blogging conference! And then, once it’s over you get to read my breathless post-conference account replete with all kinds of personal epiphanies and effusive descriptions of Fabulous! New! Bloggy Friends! Can I get a woot-woot?!

For those of you who are new to this phenomenon, here’s a little peek into the tangled netherworld of my thought processes re: conferences:

  • First, I dither back and forth about whether I am actually going to go or not. “We really don’t need to spend the money, the timing sucks because Russ will have just gotten back from Mexico City and it’s a really busy week, do I really need to go this year,” yada yada yada. I would say that this little exercise is a complete waste of time because I always inevitably end up going, but truth be told, last summer I actually sold my ticket to BlogHer ’10 in New York just two weeks before the conference– so apparently I am capable of talking myself out of it! (However, I am totally going to Blissdom. Unless I weenie out in like, the next 24 hours. Which won’t happen. Probably.)
  • Next, I agonize over whether or not I’m going to stay at the hotel (Gaylord finally re-opened  Opryland Hotel after the flood damage, YAY!) or drive back and forth from Brentwood. This is a toughie, because it is hard for me to justify paying for a room (albeit at reduced conference rates) when I have a whole dang house just about 20, 25 minutes away. HOWEVER, with some Blissdom activities starting at around 7 a.m. (or so I’ve heard– I haven’t actually ever made it to one of those power walk/exercise first-thing-in-the-morning deals) and going until kinda late at night, it is massively more convenient to actually be on site as opposed to fighting rush hour traffic back and forth, not to mention trying to find a parking place in the approximately 50 frillion mile expanse that is the Opryland Hotel. I think I may have reached a compromise– last year I stayed all three nights, this time I’m just staying for one. Possibly two. OK, I’m still agonizing.
  • And finally, we come to the Obsessing Over What To Wear part of our program. I’ve gotten WAY better at this one! I’m finally figuring out two very important things: A) NO ONE REALLY CARES and B) everyone else at the conference, to varying degrees, is worrying about the exact same thing! Seriously, if you google Blissdom you will see endless blog posts and articles dedicated to this very issue. It’s a very specific female kind of insecurity– nobody wants to feel out of place or frumpy or over/under-dressed or stick out like a sore thumb or wear something that screams NEWBIE. I’m not proud of the fact that I’m not immune to those feelings, but thankfully I’ve kind of gotten this part down– I’m packing jeans, sweaters, jackets, a slightly more dressy nighttime outfit and lots of accessories. Being the grizzled veteran that I am, I also know from experience that footwear is a major component of the entire conference experience. Much ado is made every year about the abundance of  Cute Shoes that abound at Blissdom. Entire photostreams are dedicated to the subject in the many, many recap posts that pop up everywhere after the event. This, however, is where being on the *ahem* slightly older end of the age demographic pays off. I’m not quite as tempted to sacrifice comfort for the siren call of a brand new pair of high-heeled Cute Shoes now as I might have been in my twenties. But hey, I am not quite at the rubber-soled orthopedic footwear end of the spectrum (yet.) I do have a couple of pairs of Cute Boots that I can walk around in all day without wincing. Wanna see?

Oh, dear God.

Did I just actually post PICTURES OF MY SHOES on my blog, for crying out loud ???? This is an all-time narcissistic low, even by my subterranean standards. I apologize from the bottom of my heart, readers. I’m sorry you had to see that.

Moving on.

Anyway, even though I still go through all of the stages I just mentioned, and even though pinning on that name tag and walking into the hotel ballroom for the first session still makes me feels like I’m standing alone in the middle school lunchroom clutching my tray and trying to find a friendly face to sit by… this conference is really, really good, and well worth enduring my annual short-lived spazz-out. It’s just eternally surprising to me that lurking beneath my talkative, show-offy, never-met-a-stranger self there is apparently a big ol’ introvert that comes out at the most inopportune times!

I’m sure I’ll be posting from the conference so, you know, you’ve all got THAT to look forward to. I’ll have my new Mac (which shall henceforth be referred to by her full name, ‘What The Nell’) with me at all times– I even ordered a fabulous new rolling, detachable computer/brief case thingy which just came in yesterday:

Genius, right? That’s another thing I learned at my very first conference: 3 days of schlepping a laptop around = me looking a little like this:

Well, I’ll take my literary leave now so I can start stressing over dealing with all of the advance planning it takes for The Mom to be out of the house for two and a half days! Ya’ll might want to pray about starting a casserole brigade for Russ and the girls. Just saying.

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