It has taken me a couple of weeks to really injest all that I learned this year at Mom 2.0. This was my second year attending one of the most popular mom blogging conferences and I am so glad that I was able to go this time around. I had such a great time and learned so much that the moment tickets went on sale for 2019, which will be held in Austin, TX — I bought my ticket.
I had a lot of plans this year about what I wanted to do, what I wanted to accomplish — connections I wanted to walk away with. I made list after list before attending. I picked out all the classes I wanted to go to — mostly ones about writing, publishing, and of course, the ladies I am closest to in the blogging community.
When I arrived, there were personal things going on with my roommate so she was not able to be around as much as I had anticipated, so for the very first time at this conference — I found myself alone — and freaking out.
Here’s why– I don’t really fit in here.
At least that is what I have told myself over and over again before coming here.
As a blogger, I follow so. many. bloggers. online. I learn from them, I yearn to be able to do the things that they are doing at the level they are doing it. I mean, some bloggers are killing it. Even writing books that get published. But here I am — little ol’ me — with not a lot to offer from my little piece of the blogging world.
But then, something happened. I went to the first class on Wednesday that I had picked out to attend — The Future is Female. I learned something super quick that stuck with me throughout the entire conference and resonated in just about every single thing I heard that weekend —
Excuses we give ourselves for not succeeding in life and business
- 50% of women have a fear of failing (me)
- 50% of women have a fear of succeeding (also me)
- Many women have the imposter syndrome and so they paralyze themselves from moving forward (me again)
I determined at that moment as I sat alone, no friends, no roommate — just me — that I was not going to allow any of these things to keep me from learning and having fun during Mom 2.0.
I put on my big girl panties and said to myself, “Jennifer — you are not going to stay holed up in your room until Shannon gets here. You are going to mingle and meet people and do what you came here to do.”
And I am glad I did.
I attended so many classes I wanted to learn from. I introduced myself to bloggers that I did not really know that well but wanted to get to know. I sat with strangers when my roommate wasn’t with me. I danced my butt off — without worry!
I went to the Iris Awards by myself — and met Taye Diggs because I got up the courage to get in life BY MYSELF and introduce myself to him (we won’t talk about my mushiness as I told him how long I have adored him).
I went to all the keynotes — Debbie Allen, Brene’ Brown, Kristen Bell and Natalie Morales. All of them were great, but the one that jumped out at me and really made me come alive was Brene’.
I walked out of her keynote, right over to the table where her books were and purchased Braving the Wilderness.
And this quote from her book explains what happened to me during Mom 2.0.
Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness –an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching.
She goes on to say further down the page —
The special courage it takes to experience true belonging is not just about braving the wilderness, it’s about becoming the wilderness. It’s about breaking down the walls, abandoning our ideological bunkers, and living from our wild heart rather than our weary hurt.
And then — I read this and knew that I had found it — true belonging.
We are going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We are going to have to sign up, join, and take a seat at the table. We are going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curiouos than defensive, all the while seeking moments of togetherness.
I am not going to lie. I still feel like an imposter every time I utter the words I am a writer. When I get around people who write, or share stories I feel small and inadequate.
But I am learning, thanks to this community of courageous women who constantly applaud and spur me on to my true calling in life that I belong here.
I belong here.
When I tell myself that, I know that without a shadow of a doubt I am exactly where I am supposed to be at that moment. That moment of realization that you are part of this community — true belonging sits in your spirit and you don’t have any issues with putting yourself out there because you understand that in order to brave the wilderness, and create that amazing life you want, you have to be willing to walk alone.
But really — in the end — you’re not alone. You are surrounded by others just. like. you.
Stop Making Excuses
That is my goal for the remainder of this year. Stop talking about WHY I can’t do something and start listing all the ways I can and HOW I can make that happen for my life.
I truly love all that the Mom 2.0 community offers. The friendships I have made over the years are golden and I cannot wait for 2019 when I step foot again into one of my favorite places to learn from.