Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve written before about my experience at Storyline this past October, and how deeply it influenced me. I truly believe had it not been for attending that conference, I’d never have written The Fault in my Scars. Had I not already written The Fault in my Scars, I probably would not have written He Wrote it Down. Had I not written THAT, well, most of you would probably not be reading this right now.
Before He Wrote it Down, I think I had 35 followers here. I just reached 2000 today. That’s a little inconceivable to me. It’s a crazy blessing.
I have so many incredible memories from those few days in Chicago. I could feel myself changing and growing, which is unusual. Typically, you look back and marvel at your evolution- because it was so incremental that you were unaware it was happening. That experience was different, though. I could feel the tectonic plates in my heart and soul shifting and settling. I could feel parts of myself I didn’t even realize were broken reassembling themselves into a new and better puzzle.
It was inspiring and healing on so many levels. I think everyone should go. I’ll see you guys there.
The thing that happened at Storyline that I think about most often, and with the most affection, though, is likely not what you would expect. It isn’t any of the amazing speakers we heard- although I think about them all the time. It isn’t the phenomenal women with whom I spent those three days, although I came to adore them.
It’s the girl with the nose on the top of her head.
The conference spanned three days, one of which was Halloween. Upon walking into the auditorium we were all handed a pair of plastic Groucho Marx glasses, complete with mustache.
There was a time when I either would not have put them on, or I would have done so because I felt pressured- but it would have been grudgingly and I’d have been embarrassed. I’d have put them on furtively, and only for as long as I absolutely had to. And no pictures, thankyouverymuch.
When we sat down and got ourselves settled, I noticed the young woman in front of us had her glasses pushed up like a headband. The result was that this great big nose was pointed skyward on top of her head.
For some reason it just really tickled me. I elbowed Kelli (sorry Kelli. You’re pretty!) and gestured for her to look. She smiled.
Then I did something that until recently I would never have done. I tapped the young woman on the shoulder. She turned around. I smiled, pointed to the glasses and said, “Um… I think you’re doing it wrong.”
She laughed (thankgoodness) and we introduced ourselves. Her name is Alex. She’s British, so everything she says sounds lovely. She’s a writer. She’s funny, and smart, and kind. She has one of those faces that is WIDE OPEN. That’s my favorite kind of face.
It was the opposite of my face, for most of my life. I was pretty closed off. I faked it really well. I was friendly, but never open. There is a big difference, you know.
We had a great conversation. We talked about Glennon– who is the reason Alex was there. THANK YOU FOR YET ANOTHER GIFT, G. We talked about blogging. I’d just started a few weeks earlier. We exchanged business cards. In fact, Alex was the very first person I ever gave a card to. I felt like a complete fraud for even having them, to be perfectly honest.
When I think about the fact that a few years ago I would never have risked looking foolish by striking up a conversation with her, it makes me really sad. For most of my life I was pretty risk averse. I’ve written before about my tendency toward catastrophic thinking. I won’t say that I never do it any more, but I have become a little braver about taking chances in my day to day life. I still think about the worst case scenario, but I am more inclined to decide that the potential reward, like, say, a delightful new friend, far outweighs the risk of getting a dirty look from a stranger.
I used to be afraid to fail, or look silly. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid to put on the plastic nose.
I think it’s safe to say I’ve gotten over that. And I am get down on my knees and thank God grateful for that, every minute of every day.
Here’s to taking chances and the gifts it brings.
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CONGRATULATIONS on 2K!!!!!!! Love you so…
In Others' Words says
I am grateful everyday I found your blog. You write the things of my heart. Every.Single.Time
Congratulations on your success and thank you for being open. You bless me and many others.
I love this Laura and am inspired by your honesty. I have an urge to write about my story and journey to help me heal but also feel that that someday, my words and journey could possibly help others – just not sure what that all that will look like, if anything. Also, I am soooo thrilled to have a ticket to see Glennon on July 1st in Boston!
In Others' Words says
I’ll see you there, Sheila! xo
I’m googling Storyline right now to find out more. Congratulations on reaching another milestone, in many ways. I’ll check out your books. Thank you. 🙂 Love and light, Phoenix
Congratulations on 2,000 readers and keep up the good work <3
Yes, I know exactly what you mean: friendly vs open. Story of my life!!
This makes me want to go out and push my comfort zone- right now. You are just great!
In Others' Words says
so are YOU!!!! xo
“There was a time when I either would not have put them on, or I would have done so because I felt pressured- but it would have been grudgingly and I’d have been embarrassed. I’d have put them on furtively, and only for as long as I absolutely had to. And no pictures, thankyouverymuch.”
Oh. My. Word. How do you DO that? Write *exactly* what would be in my heart? Sometimes I think we must have been separated at birth. LOL!
“I used to be afraid to fail, or look silly. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid to put on the plastic nose.”
Oh wow. Yup, I know that feeling oh so well.
It’s funny, but it was just a few weeks ago that I had the sudden realization one morning that I no longer needed the “approval” of my abuser. Sounds crazy, I know… and I hadn’t even realized it had been there until I realized it was gone… but I realized for the first time that morning that up until recently, there was still a little girl deep inside who still wanted him to think she was pretty cool… that I’d turned out okay. It was an approval I could never get from him… I’d thought I’d had it… but it was lost in one moment forever etched in my mind and soul. I didn’t realize it, but I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to get it back… if not from him, then from everybody else around me. And that morning a few weeks ago, I suddenly saw all that for the first time… and at the same time I realized I didn’t need it from him anymore. I really didn’t. I was truly okay without it. Now… the rest of the world? Still working on that. LOL.
So… thanks for writing so bravely and eloquently what echoes in my own heart… for shining a light on the path…. writing hope. We’ll get there! 🙂
Congratulations on reaching 2,000 followers ! <3