"It's easier to be brave when your not alone." - Amy Poehler
For me I can only be brave when I am surrounded by incredible people who love life and cherish all that it brings. This is not to say I'm never alone or if I'm alone I am crying hot mess ... But to really do good and get through the grit I must be with people who support it all. Plus, it is much more fun when you aren't alone. It is easier to laugh, it is easier to take on the things that scare you, it is easier to learn more about yourself and how your insides work.
This past week I attended Alt Summit with zero intentions. In the back of my mind I had hope to learn more about blogging ... though that notion was broad and it scared me so I pushed it away. The other scary thing was the fact that I was about to toss my fragile self into a pot of talented strong women. I was about to test myself and how I'd hold up in this hot soup of brilliant bloggers, photographers, mothers and business owners. Would I wilt away and become tasteless or melt right in and prove flavorful?
I arrived clutching my best friend Alissa Circle's arm and made her promise to not let go. I've been to blogging conferences before, but this time I was different. This time I was attending with most everyone knowing every detail of my life and the tragedy I now walked with. It's one thing to be on the Internet talking and letting it all hang out ... It's different talking in person and letting them see it all out. Alissa let go, but only because she knew I could handle it. Though she never ventured far. We were in this together.
As I met amazing women and sat through knowledgeable keynote speakers I learned a whole lot. However, one major theme stood out day in and day out. There is one thing that all this Alt Summit magic has been built upon. Togetherness. We are all great and incredible because we are all doing it together. We are buying from each other, contributing for each other, listening together and laughing together. This community it is special because we are together.
For me it isn’t about networking so much as its about making friends. I found myself with business cards only to exchange phone numbers instead. It was a truly beautiful experience to meet the people who have been supporting, praying and keeping Ryan on their hearts. I had heart to hearts with strangers and cried with a few who just wanted a hug. I realized this hot soup was indeed flavorful with me in it. This hot soup was damn good with everyone in it.
What I learned at Alt Summit was pretty simple. In order to do good and get through the hard stuff … You have to surround yourself with amazing people. I learned that spending time knee deep in a conversation about how twisted life is and how we are coping is worth everything. I learned that laughing that real deep laugh about something silly is worth everything. Crying because you finally met the person who drew a beautiful sketch of your son holding a red balloon is worth everything.
It was overwhelming and by the last day I ditched the last keynote speaker and went back to my room to order a hamburger via room service. I realized I felt whole for a split second. As if all these new friends of mine were stuffed in my wound to stop the bleeding. For a fleeting moment my heart wasn’t broken anymore.
The thought is simple. Together. We can do it together. We are doing it together. Thank you to all of those who let me hug you. Thank you to my roommates for making me laugh and letting me be myself. Thank you to all my new friends … I look forward to the good we will do together.