My mother loves telling me this story.
When I was little, my parents took my brother and me to our local theme park almost every week each summer. My mom tells me how she used to watch me ride the carousel, and I would frown throughout the entire ride. She would think, “Oh, she’s not having fun at all!”
As soon as the ride was over, I would beg and plead her to let me do it again because I had such a fun time. That’s when we realized. I’m the quiet girl.
Growing up, my mother would have to remind me to smile in public places. And I was so quiet in school that my classmates admitted that they thought I was just a snob, until they got to know me. (Sad face. #introvertproblems)
So a week ago, I made a four hour drive to Atlanta for the Haven blogging conference, and I had to give myself a pep talk. I was terrified that I would be that quiet girl again who everyone misinterpreted as a snob.
I’m a thinker, communicate best through writing, am often hyper aware of others’ feelings, and am the worst ever at small talk. But when I arrived at Haven, it was like a whole world of people were there who instantly “got me”.
We found a few other Remodelaholic contributor friends during our meet and greet, and, to be honest, I realized I was talking too much. Tasha (Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body) and LZ and Danielle (The Summery Umbrella) were so much fun to be around.
Friday morning, Jon Acuff, who started off as a blogger and is now a New York Times bestselling author, jolted us awake with so many laughs and a big dose of inspiration. I realized after his keynote speech that I’m often standing in the way of achieving my own goals.
I just need to be human. And it’s because of his words that I even had the courage to tell y’all about the insecurities I have in talking to people face-to-face. I’m usually really honest with y’all, but that one is a toughie for me.
I got to have breakfast with these three talented gals: MaryAnn (Domestically Speaking), Heather (Setting for Four), and Kim (Sand and Sisal). And we got to chat about so much of this blogging world that we have in common.
(By the way, “Miss Mustard Seed” is as sweet and genuine in person as she is on her blog.)
I got to meet and chat with Liz (Liz Marie Blog), Jen (City Farmhouse), and Bre (Rooms for Rent) for a little bit too the next day, but I was so thrilled to meet them that I blanked at snapping a picture with them. Oopsies!
I got the chance to listen to the wise words of Laura (Finding Home Farms), Jenna (Rain on a Tin Roof), and Karianne (Thistlewood Farms) about bloggers and branding, and I finally got to meet Jamie (So Much Better With Age) and Rachel (Maison de Pax), who both have gorgeous blogs.
And uh…I might have swiped this photo from Jamie. Wink wink.
By the way, bloggers are on it when it comes to taking pictures of everything. It was so great to meet Amy and Christy (11 Magnolia Lane), Brett (Being Bianca), Sarah (Life On Virginia Street), and Heather (Southern State of Mind).
Once we ran off to play in all of the photo booths with the sponsors all over the hotel, I think my introvert shell had straight up busted open. No, I’m not eating the shower head; I sing…badly.
Did you really expect me to walk by a photo booth with a sign that said, “Bless your heart” and not pose with it? Tasha and Carrie (Kenarry) made it so fun at the Kirkland’s booth.
Mandi (Vintage Revivals) wrapped up all of the inspirational sessions with one of the most heartfelt speeches I’ve ever heard. I’m pretty sure all us 400+ bloggers were crying by the end of it.
She made me realize something that I think I knew deep down since starting this little blog of mine a year and a half ago. Writing and reading DIY blogs isn’t just about painting a table or laying tile. It’s about finding what inspires you and makes you eager to wake up each morning to something that grabs that place in your heart where creativity awaits.
Wielding that paint brush can be therapeutic. It can spark an energy in your soul that can make you come to life. It can revive you with that can-do spirit and make you take ownership of the world around you.
Blogging has opened up so much of myself that I, for some reason, was always afraid to show before. It may not be “normal” to fall asleep every night envisioning a room design. It might seem strange to call people, who you’ve hardly ever met in person, your best friends.
But I do know one thing. When you find that group of people who make you feel at home, hang onto them. Because those are the people who will inspire you to conquer things greater than you ever imagined.
That quiet girl never showed up during that entire trip. And when I admitted to a few people that I was a major introvert, they didn’t at all believe me.
So now that I’m back home, and I have a huge haul of SWAG goodies to start creating with and my sweet little family to keep me going, I’m excited for the plans God has for me in the coming year.
I will admit though…I’ll probably always be that quiet girl on the blogging carousel. Just know, even if you can’t see it, I’m enjoying the ride.