I spent most of the week at a blogging conference called Blissdom. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have figured that out, certainly.

Ok so here’s what I think- I think I let my introverted nature get the best of me far too often. Don’t misunderstand me, I love being an introvert. I identify with the watcher, the observer, the deep waters introverts swim with ease. It’s just that being an introvert also pegs me as outsider or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I make myself an outsider.

I’m drawn to extroverts, the yin to my yang, clearly. I married an extrovert, several of my closest friends are extroverts. I’ve needed this energy even as I never envied it. I don’t want to become an extrovert and yet I love to soak in these incredible extrovert friendships. Up until a few days ago I didn’t realize that I truly felt some lacking in me around this.

What strikes me about the gathering of women in this context is that I realize I’m thrown into gradeschool emotion all over again. I FEEL like I’m 8 years old when I attend large gatherings of women. I am that little girl on the playground, glad to be alone and yet terrified of being excluded. She had no idea how to connect with people live and in person. She wrote poetry in her notebooks filled with longing and lament, even then, sitting on the cold ground in the corner during recess. She sat there waiting for her moment, for some cracking in the earth to come and save her from the awkwardness of it all.

Just as me being thrown into that emotion was not the fault of the kids on the playground when I was 8, it’s not the fault of the women gathered at Blissdom that I went there this week, not at all. It was a lovely, diverse, intelligent and fascinating group of humans. Honestly. It is for this reason that I regret that I let my fear paralyze me when it came to engaging. It’s not just that, though. The lacking I feel is anchored in joy I read in them as I watched from my seat. I saw a great number of these women reaching out to one another, not seeming to be afraid of injury, using strong voices and rich words and I was taken apart. I long for that in me. I know it is there.

I’m not without humor or joy, I know this. I can channel my extroverted performer energy when I reach a level of comfort but I want that joy I saw. I want it more readily, more often, worn on the outside. And then I wonder if there is a place that will fall open in my soul one day…a crack in the earth of my finely crafted veneer when I will finally free the 8 year old and allow her to shine, brightly.


16 thoughts on “bliss…

  1. I loved meeting you. And I thought you seemed warm and open and funny, not closed off at all. But we all bring our own insecurities to the table, you know? Even as somebody who leans toward extroverted, I fear putting myself out there and being really open. I think with me–and perhaps other extroverts can relate–it’s just that the need to connect basically forces me to ignore those fears of looking stupid, saying the wrong thing, or being passed over and charge forward anyway. Believe me, even while I’m chatting or laughing or having a genuinely great time, those gradeschool emotions are still whispering in my ear. I guess I just try to talk loudly enough to drown them out. Hmm, maybe that’s why I’m so hoarse today.

  2. Does it make you feel better to know I come very close to throwing up every. single. year before we open the show?

    We are all 8 years old inside.


  3. I so know how you feel! I had to literally talk myself into introducing myself to people. I had plenty of awkward moments but I think I walked away with a few new friends πŸ™‚
    Relish yourself the way you are- if everyone was loud then no one would be heard πŸ™‚
    I’ll be looking for you next year so that I can meet you & our inner 8-year olds can meet πŸ˜‰

  4. I can so relate to your post. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. It was such a pleasure meeting and talking with you. I remember thinking when we were having lunch together that first morning, “This woman is so incredibly smart.” You knew what you believed and you spoke it. I loved that. I look forward to reading more “greatness” on your blog.

  5. I am an infamous extrovert– who actually took my lunch up to my room and ate it alone every single day during my first blog conference (BlogHer ’08). Also? I totally FAKED A CELL PHONE CALL FROM MY KIDS so I had an excuse to exit the World’s Most Awkward Get-Acquainted Cocktail Party (also at BlogHer ’08.) Yeah. Finding the courage to reach for that joy I wanted to experience among those women happened when I had one, just one, other person to hang with at my first Blissdom. It changed everything! I wasn’t needy, I didn’t follow them around, we usually went to different sessions– but I had someone to stand next to, eat lunch with and walk beside as we entered those awkward cocktail parties together.

    This was my third Blissdom. I’m no longer afraid to let that joy spill out all over the place, and even though I still keep my cell phone in my hand in case I have to fake another call, I can now walk up to bloggers I admire and tell them so!

    Next year? If you need someone to be that person you can walk in to rooms with, you just let me know. I’m mayor of that dang town now!

  6. I really love this post. So honest. So vulnerable. And achingly beautiful with the imagery too. Really.

    I had started following your tweets before Blissdom and was hoping I would run into you. I am glad we got to talk for a little bit, and you didn’t give off anything other than warmth when we did. (I was the one who commented on your maiden name and mentioned my friends with last names Love and Darling).

    While I am an infamous extrovert like BabyBloomr, I had friends at the conference who I knew were introverts.. and I tried to encourage them when I saw them especially during the afternoon and evenings, that they were doing a great job despite social fatigue.And I had moments of feeling like the outsider, like I was 8 years old again and was getting picked last on the dodgeball team.

    I hope that you do find the comfort necessary to reach out and engage, to know the joy that your post mentions. I hope I can encourage that in some way.

    I have come back to read this post about half a dozen times, because it sticks with me. Thank you for sharing your heart. Really.

    • Ah, it makes me happy that it sticks with you! That’s a real compliment, thank you!

      To be honest, it’s always a (pleasant) surprise when someone seeks me out to engage me so your doing so was such a gift. Thanks for that too. Really!

  7. This is such a stirring, real post. Thank you for being honest and open enough to write it and share it. If it makes you feel better, even while being an extrovert, I find I feel like a 12-year-old in these situations. And I liked being 8 way more than being 12. πŸ˜‰

  8. I am a total introvert. I had to force myself to talk to people at Blissdom. I probably seemed mostly outgoing, but when it was all over, I was so quiet. I needed the quiet.

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