As we sat around a picnic table in the candle-lit dark, I felt that familiar need to move. I felt my eyes wandering, my fingers itching to gather my purse and politely excuse myself. I wondered if I was an outsider to the conversation swirling among us, and thought that surely they wouldn’t miss me if I left.
That might have been the case, but I stayed.
I discovered at last year’s AWBU (Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged) conference that I have a pretty big character flaw; I have a hard time sticking with a conversation. I maintain that it’s my Yankee upbringing, but I also think it’s a function of self-defense. In my job as a communications professional for Walton Arts Center over the last 8 years, I stood through a lot of conversations that, once they got beyond the small talk, were hard. Being under the microscope of public opinion is a interesting challenge for a natural introvert like me.
But at this year’s AWBU at the lovely Ferncliff Conference Center just outside of Little Rock, I was not “Jodi the professional marketer from WAC.” I was just Jodi, a blogger who doesn’t really have an ultimate goal or specific purpose in my writing (or if I do I haven’t found a way to properly message it), there to learn and think and enjoy myself and the company of other women.
So I stayed at that picnic table by the water, and watched Mel try to save a bug from a waxy death in one of our pretty candle/mason jar decorations. I joined in as we four ladies talked about transition and life choices. And I gained my biggest insight from this convening of bloggers in the Arkansas woods when Beth said “Everyone wants to be gotten.” In truth, I’m sure she said it differently, but this is how it stuck with me. Grammarians, leave me be, ok? I’m going for general emotional impact here, unaided by imperfect recall skills.
Everyone wants to be gotten. Everyone wants to feel that “someone gets me. They just…get me.” It’s why we seek life partners, tell stories, and in this age of social media, share incessantly; we want validation that what we are thinking or feeling are doing is good, or at least ok. Or, if we’re doing something weird, we want people to commend us for it, or at least tell us that being weird is also ok.
Last year at AWBU I felt that, because I’m not a mommy or foodie or crafting or lifestyle blogger, I didn’t “fit in.” This year I realized that, in my search for a place to fit in, to feel validated, via blogging or otherwise, I was just like everyone else there. I may not talk about the same things, but I’m doing the same thing; sharing my thoughts and hoping there are people out there who find some kernel of “being gotten” in what I write.
Thanks to the ladies of Arkansas Women Bloggers for these insights, and many more moments of fun and inspiration. And for the bacon. Always for the bacon.
24 thoughts on “AWBU recap: Everyone wants to “be gotten””
Great post and interesting thought… we do all want to be gotten. I started blogging when people didn’t always recognize what blogging was when brought up in conversation (around 2000… maybe very early 2001). For years I just blogged because I wanted to make note of what happened or how I was feeling. I was clever, posted a picture I took with my webcam and often tied in song lyrics that spoke to me that day. Hey, I was a college student after all, isn’t that was college kids do? Emote, take selfies and wax poetic about how that song was TOTALLY written about them?
Then I left school and blogs started to become a thing. It was a popularity contest of who could have the best contend and who could have the prettiest blog. Mine didn’t stack up. It was just a journal. I focused in on IdyllHands after leaving Ehwin.com behind. Ehwin was an old identity and IdyllHands fit my side job. I still didn’t have a purpose with it. It was still a journal. But I was happy with it until attending AWBU last year.
After AWBU, I wanted my blog to be more. I wanted it to have content that made sense and I wanted people to read it. I even went as far as to sign up for paid blogging. It was then that I got what I wanted. I had content that was in demand and I had a LOT of hits per day when I posted.
But it wasn’t me and now I’m stuck with a blog and no direction. I need to figure out how to get back to what I used to do. Just a journal. More for me than anyone but fun enough to be enjoyed by everyone. Where is the road map for that? 🙂
There isn’t one, Erin! Just write – it’s ok! It’s more than OK – sometimes we stymie ourselves because we must attach “purpose”. I’m struggling with trying to decide if i really WANT lots of people to read me…or if that’s just my natural inclination to want to “be popular” (I never was). 🙂
BTW – we missed you!
I missed you guys! I needed the inspiration this time around. Ah well.
erin! i love your blog. keep writing, m’kay?
As someone who shared that candle-lit convo with you and a bunch of other gals, I’m so glad you stayed. Truly enjoyed getting to know “Just Jodi” (I TOTALLY got what you were saying with that part!).
Back at ya, Jamie! It’s been great to spend more time with you at our various blogging events. 🙂
Confession: I was the one who ran out of extroversion and skulked back to my room. But so did my roommate, and that was just the connection I/we needed. Even in ducking out of being social, someone “got” me! 😉 Thanks for sharing this!
Me too, Christie – I was in my room long before the socializing ended. It’s nice when we can connect no matter what the setting.
So glad you came to the conference, Jodi, and so glad that you stuck around in the darkness. I hope you aren’t covered in bug bites, like I am, as a result. That is what ARWB and AWBU is all about – sticking around in the darkness for those who need/want it. Hope to see you next year!
The bugs have killed me this summer…so I travel with bug spray everywhere. Great to see you again, Fawn, and thank you for all you did!
It was great seeing you again! I always enjoy hearing your perspectives on things. And I second Fawn’s comment about all the bug bites…that is what drove me inside on Saturday night.
Likewise! I love that we had a little porch time.
Love this. And I too have my blog just to write. No purpose other than to share my thoughts. It’s cheap therapy.
It seems like there are a lot of us who are just in it to write. It’s nice to remember that. 🙂
I’m coming to blogging late in life and at one point, I wondered if I might be the oldest woman there this weekend. I was at least among the oldest, but sometimes I forget I’m not closer in age to all you cute women until I look in the mirror in the restroom or back in my room. I was nervous about attending, but having a friend to room with gave me the courage to go. I am SO GLAD I did. I learned so much, found direction and gained confidence in my new journey in blogging. Everyone was so friendly. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all have in securities particular to where we come from and where we find ourselves. Having people get you is a basic need. And I’m always grateful when I click with someone. That happened several times this weekend.
You are my favorite person for lumping me in with the “cute women” – as I am constantly feeling like a frump among them. 🙂 I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend any time with you but bravo to you for starting a new adventure and I’m so glad it was a good experience!
ohmygosh. you are totally cute! and you give good hugs!!
Wow, I really like this. I’ve never really “fit in”, so I kind of made my own place. I have no idea what my purpose is and I’m ok with that 🙂
I wonder…who feels like they do “fit in?” I haven’t met many who do. Thanks for all your work on the race – it was a blast!
Man, I’ve had the urge to skulk away many, many times. Sometimes I listen to it (most often at parties), and sometimes I don’t, and I stay. But staying doesn’t always produce such a great experience. I’m so glad yours did 🙂 Thanks for this – I GET this part.
It does feel like that sometimes…the skulk. Great word.
Love your post! I have often felt that I don’t “fit in” (especially in big social gatherings) and it’s so interesting to me that so many of “us” are saying the same thing. Glad we all got together! Hey, I know without a doubt something we have in common: the same name! 🙂 Hope we have a chance to find out more.
And you even spell it the right way. Awesome! Thanks for stopping by – hope to see you again soon!