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Bright Night Event: How's This For Muchness

Several weeks back 
a blogger who I follow, Whippycake
posted about being the keynote speaker at a blogger event.
I'd never been to any event bigger than like a lunch
or a one speaker occasion,
but the more I read about this event,
the more I felt I wanted to be a part of it.
Luckily I'd had a garage sale and had enough extra money
for the ticket,
so I marked it on my calendar and looked forward to it.

The day of the event arrived
and suddenly,
so did a suffocating fear.
I had no one to go with
and no idea what to wear.
I literally knew NO ONE who was going.
I have blogger pals
and even my sister goes to blogging things with me,
but this time,
I was completely alone.
For eight hours.

I was terrified.
My sister did my hair and makeup
to give me a little boost of confidence.
Then I came home and tried on a million things
and kept thinking of what combinations of heels and a skirt
I could wear.
In the end my stress won out
and I rushed out of the house in the only things
I could bear to have on.
Loose, farmer style overalls
and Zuzii tennis shoes.

I put my red lipstick on to help me gather my courage.

I got to the event and everywhere I looked
I saw heels, skirts, and dresses.
These gorgeous ladies were dressed to impress
and all I could focus on was doubting myself.
Why was I wearing my dslr camera,
everyone else was using their phones to take photos?
Stupid choice.

I found the courage to sit down at a table -
one with people already sitting there
since there were no empty tables.
I was amazed that after weeks of anticipation
and excitement for the event
I found myself trying talk myself out of running for my life.
I chimed in when people spoke to me before the event began,
and I even probably looked excited as I tried to blend,
but in my head I was choked with fear
and I kept telling myself not to leave.
Inevitably when people talk to me for a while,
I tell them that I'm an "extroverted introvert."
In situations with people I know
and environments where I am in control,
I am quite extroverted.
However, in situations where I don't know anyone,
I will panic in silence
and respond only when spoken to.
I will try to go along with whatever is happening
but I may also quietly have a panic attack.

This is exactly what was happening.
Inside my head I was saying,
"I can go now, before it starts, and go get whatever I want for dinner."
"But I paid for the ticket."
"It's ok, they gave me a fun swag bag so that's worth it."
"But you wanted to hear Whippy speak."
"She doesn't even know me though and it won't matter if I stay."
"Just stay to hear Whippy speak and if you do,
you can be really proud of yourself."
"Ok, just long enough to hear Whippy speak."
"Look a tiny cupcake! I'll take a photo for my little girl!
She loves cupcakes."
Soon Whippy took the stage and began to give her presentation.
To my great surprise,
I found myself tearing up about half way through as
she talked about emotional connection and human touch
and how vital they are to us thriving.
She shared a story that truly opened my heart
and I thought about my daughter.
"My daughter loves when I wear lipstick."
I smiled to myself.
"She likes my overalls too.
Whippy is almost done!
I can make it!"

Soon she was finished and we were told to choose what class
we wanted to rotate to next.
 I looked at the schedule and saw that
one of them was a hand lettering class
that I had also really been looking forward to.
"You can't leave now,"
I thought.
"You just have to go to this one last class.
It will be fun."
"But I'll have to go sit by people I don't know. Again!
And who knows what might happen!"
"You might get better at calligraphy and hand lettering.
Nothing bad will happen.
Just stay for one more class
and then you can leave and be proud of yourself."
I talked myself into it
and then headed over for the hand lettering class.

I immersed myself in practicing the lettering
and halfway through the class,
the photographer for the event walked in.
I knew her!
It was Chrissy.
Someone I knew!
If was like a gasp of air after being pummeled down by waves of water.

She snapped some shots of me with my letters that I was practicing
and smiled as she left.
And I thought,
"I can do this."
Seeing her gave me just enough courage to keep going.

As the class wound down,
I clapped for the teacher
and then gathering my practice papers
and my swag bag.
I walked out to my car,
opened the door and put them inside.
"Now I can go. Phew! I did two blocks!"
I thought.
"But why leave now then? Don't you have enough courage for one more class?
After that it's just dinner.
You like dinner!
You're starving!"
"Oh come on. I was only going to stay for that class."
"But you could be really proud of yourself if you stayed for the last one too."
"Fine. But no dinner.
I'll get dinner by myself later."

I stared at my items in the car as if resolving myself to pick my purse back up
and finally,
I walked away from the car
and back into the building.

I walked into my last class
having no idea what the speaker would talk about.
I just wanted to prove to myself that I COULD stay.
In the back of the room I saw Whippy
and thought,
"I am proud of myself for staying to hear her.
I should get a picture with her to remind myself that I was brave."
I stared for about five minutes awkwardly as I managed to
get up the courage
and finally I walked up and asked her to take a selfie with me.
That was pretty much all I said.
It was awkward.
I do awkward well.
But we took a photo
and I felt brave.

The class started shortly thereafter,
and I realized that Natalie was far from an ordinary speaker.
She seemed to be expressing with every word
that she cared for me and saw my value.
That I didn't need to doubt myself.
She quoted Alice in Wonderland
during her presentation where the Mad Hatter says,

"You're not the same as you were before.
You were much more muchier.
You've lost your muchness."

Later Alice says to him,
"How's this for muchness?"
when she has found herself again.

As I walked out of that last class,
I realized that I had made it.
All that was left was dinner.
I walked out with more of my muchness
than when I arrived
and I found a little more of what I'd been missing.

Everyone else was thrilled to eat a yummy dinner
and dance the night away,
but I was simply ecstatic that I'd made it through the whole event
and no one really knew just how much courage
it had taken.
How's that for muchness, I thought to myself.
As I stood in line to get a Sodalicious drink,
I spotted the gorgeous photo booth set up.
I'm not here with anyone though,
I thought.
Then my courage rose
and I suddenly knew I HAD to have my picture taken.
Just me and my muchness.
And I somehow knew that I wouldn't look at it and point out the things I didn't like.
I would look at it and see my muchness within me.

I grabbed Chrissy who obliged me by shooting
a couple photos for me with my camera
and then I looked at the back of the camera
at that tiny screen
and sure enough,
I loved them.
I stood in line for my "Southern Gentleman" drink from Sodalicious
and even made a new friend.
And then,
when I headed home,
I was a different me
than the one that had come.
And I felt good.
I had glimpsed my muchness
and I was determined to chase it down
until it was all mine. 
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