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.