Maybe it was my ego…my search for success…a desire to introduce my blog to a bigger audience…wanting people to know a little about it, check it out. Whatever it was, I needed to stand out this week at BlissDom.
I didn’t wear 8 different t-shirts with ridiculous sayings because I was making a fashion statement! I wanted folks to notice me and in the process, I wanted to know a little about the people I support and admire…learn a little from these fantastic bloggers and media personalities…connect.
OR…maybe it’s the fact that large gatherings of women terrify me! I don’t feel like I fit or belong. I can’t quite figure out how to worm myself into conversations without feeling awkward. Without feeling invisible. I’ve got “fake it ’til you make it” down to a science. I want to be successful…want to put myself out there…but the fear of failing is about as terrifying as the fear of success. If I make it…people will judge me. If I don’t…same thing.
The decision to go to BlissDom was a big one. I’ve WANTED to go for the last few years. Money, my divorce, going back to school, timing…it held me back. This year, there was no excuse.
I’m one to make a plan…book a coffee date or a night out with friends…then, at the last-minute, I cancel. I find an excuse not to do something as sometimes, the anxiousness is overwhelming. I waited until the last second to book the conference. I booked my hotel when the dates were originally announced, knowing I could cancel if I needed but holding it in my back pocket…just in case. And then, because Jennifer Powell came to Halifax and made me see that I NEEDED THIS…I went for it. I threw all caution to the wind…set all fear and intimidation aside and booked my tickets…then my flight…and there was no turning back.
I joined the BlissDom 2014 Attendees Facebook group…chimed in with my sarcasm and foolishness from time to time…hoped and prayed that people would like me.
And then, people started talking about what to wear! WHAT TO WEAR?
I hadn’t thought of that!
I’m a jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket and converse kind of girl. I’m an artist. A graphic designer. I hate heels, dresses and skirts more than you can possibly imagine and suddenly, there’s chatter about what to wear. Some said to be yourself…others reminded that you were representing your blogs…still others, that you were meeting with brands.
And it hit me. Dress the way I want…represent who I am…what my blog is…in my t’s and converse…with a purpose.
I emailed Special T Shirt Company @ PrintedShirts.ca, an online t-shirt company that specializes in screen printing…and I pitched them my idea.
9 ideas in fact.
And, with a whole lot of speedy assistance from Printed Shirt’s owner, Lorne, as well as Richard from sales…they went for it…offered help, and made it happen! 9 shirts were designed by me in Halifax, screen printed in Winnipeg, and shipped to the hotel in Mississauga in time for my arrival! However, just the night before, I panicked and packed a whole bunch of other things JUST IN CASE they either didn’t fit…or didn’t arrive!
As I checked in, the package was handed to me and I headed to the bathroom to don the first of a weekend full of T’s! (Pssst…I’ll tell you about my converse tomorrow!)
To start…there’s Kyla Cornish! We’d had a running joke that I’d had her kicked out of a blogging contest last year (which I hadn’t…but also, for the record, I was beating her when she got kicked out!)
Kyla was someone I’d wanted to meet and in not time, she came screaming and laughing (then crying) into the conference’s “Newcomers Lounge” to meet me. It was just the reaction I’d expected from this fabulous woman I’d only met on-line…who could spar with my humour better than anyone…and who has made it her business to support Curtains are Open since she first discovered it!
The second shirt I wore was when we networked with Brands and I’ll admit…I kind of hid a little behind my blazer so as not to look too forward…too bold (plus, for some reason, it didn’t quite fit the same as the others.) The big thing though, I was worried, my “Your Logo Here” shirt might be a little off-putting to some of the brands at the conference…but, I’m reminded, I have to be myself and the right brands will want to work with me for who I am and what I represent…not who I pretend to be. I should have worn it a little prouder.
Later that night, I wore my #TBT shirt for Thursday night’s Throw Back Thursday party. While folks looked hilarious in their various costumes…the 80s get ups, the 70’s pant suits and the 50s saddle shoes and poodle skirts…I sat back comfortable in my T-Shirt with the TBT hashtag (in the hilarious old typeface you used to find on those shirts we’d have made with those fuzzy letters!)
The next morning was the big one! I’d planned this shirt for hours but wasn’t quite sure how it would work out. I stressed over the names that I’d added…hoping not to offend anyone or tick anyone off! It was “pub crawl” style…listing all of the people I wanted to meet…those I looked up to, those who helped me when I started out…who supported and encouraged, left comments and offered advice. (I’d left off names of a few that I’d already met and I’d be remiss not to mention the amazing group of bloggers from Nova Scotia who support and encourage one another on a daily basis!) But, despite my apprehensions and misgivings of maybe looking like a fool or annoying someone who wasn’t on the list…I wore my T…and it immediately made an impact. Folks were finding me and checking off their names and it was a real kick to meet some of these fantastic women…and the many more who stopped to chat with me about my T-shirt idea! Next year, I’ll have to get a massive onesie to fit all of the names of everyone in attendance…as each person I met this weekend, made an impact!
That evening, I wore my “This Shirt’s a Rental” Tee. I’d thought it was hilarious, but, it kind of fell flat. You see, while I don’t wear dresses, there was this sponsor who RENTS dresses and there was a moment, where I actually contemplated whether or not I’d rent a dress…but, I changed my mind and made the T-shirt instead. The carnival that night was sponsored by Lentils and I’d done everything to think of something that rhymed with Lentil…to no avail! I’d drawn a lentil with a judge’s wig and gavel that had an X through the entire image with the words “I’m not Judge Lentil”…but, that one never made it to the print shop! In hindsight…I think it would have been hilarious!
Saturday morning arrived with the “Instagram” shirt…where, thankfully, a few folks chimed in and took an Instagram Selfie with me to amuse me!
And for the evening PJ party, my Curtains are Closed shirt. What else would a blog called “Curtains are Open” wear to a PJ party?
On Sunday, with the festivities over and a flight to catch, I packed and reflected about my weekend. While the T’s were a bit of fun, they were also a way of getting over my fears…of putting myself out there and forcing me into conversations with people I may not have otherwise chatted with. I met some wonderful men and women and am truly grateful for the experience. I laughed…I cried…I cried a little more…and I made some new friends. Some, who will likely be friends for a lifetime.
I gathered my things, checked out of my room, and headed downstairs with my final T of the weekend…a shirt that held so much meaning for me…I’d been there. Despite the build up the week before where I actually checked to see what I’d lose if I cancelled my plane ticket…despite having to put on a really brave face and push myself forward in a room full of women I admire…knowing my fear of being judged but wanting, at the same time, for people to get to know me and my blog…I went for it.
With the help of a couple of T-shirts…I made it through to the very end. Inspired…excited…and wanting more.
For my first BlissDom (it won’t be my last), I was joined by my Halifax friend and fellow blogger Heather Nolan. Heather stuck by me…was my wing man…texted to tell me when she was leaving her room, when she’d finished a session…where we’d meet next. She sat next to me at every meal, at every session we were in together…and at every evening party.
Yesterday, I managed to wear the shirt that I hadn’t had the opportunity to wear during the conference. I went to the mall in my #HaliDip shirt…a recipe for Donair Dip that Heather has created that has gone absolutely viral in Halifax and beyond. A dip that I’ve encountered at many parties I’ve gone to and have seen multiple times in my newsfeed as one friend after the next discovers it. FOUR people stopped me in the mall to ask about my shirt as they knew about the HaliDip…and wondered where I’d gotten my Tee.
Follow my friend, check out her dip and other fabulous recipes @ www.mmmisformommy.com. Thank you Heather, for being such an amazing support! (And for creating #HaliDip!)