This past weekend I had the rare opportunity to join a group of blogging women from Arkansas at the 2nd Annual Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference. At first I was hesitant to go because I didn't really get it, or feel like I fit in. My world view can be a bit different than some of my states ladies. Plus, don't we all fret about fitting in?
But I went.
And lord my heart broke open in a way that I didn't think possible. I have, for years, been looking for my tribe. Women who are similar to me, who are interested in living open full lives, you are moving forward and creating community. I was jealous of the women online I follow who gather at beautiful locations to revel in each others awesomeness. I don't need to be jealous. I found that for myself at #AWBU.
I can't write about it all because it is still stirring in my heart, but I want to share some snippets of how this awareness that I had found home happened.
When I walked in I was handed an apron with my blog name embroidered on it. That level of thoughtfulness is unparalleled in conferences. They looked at my blog, they thought about the color, they did it just for me. I could have cried right on the spot.
Then, that evening, Mary, the park interperter for Ozark Folk Center, told two beautiful stories about women and herself. She is a pro, but more importantly she gathers and shares her stories and stories of other women, honoring them. It was at that moment that I realized that is why I blog in the first place - to share my story. I read your blogs because I want to know your story.
Then we heard from a panel about the heroines journey and telling your story authentically. Author, Kyran Pittman shared, "My business is putting it out there. It's not how many read it, but how it resonates and is recieved." We were given collective permission to tell our stories, told that they matter.
Finally, on the last day the workshop I attended was about what kind of blogger you might be and I realized I blog to inspire. I share to find a common voice and to lift up the human experience. That is the thread between both my personal writing here and the work I do in the world. It informs every decision I make and yet I forget often. To Inspire - that is my goal, but also to honor everyones story.
Sometimes you have to move 2000 miles away from your home to the middle of nowhere to find your tribe. I am so glad I took that leap 10 years ago and then again last weekend. It feels like home.