A week or so ago I was in Las Vegas with some of the most wonderful people I've ever met. People told me this may change my life, or that I would walk away with tons of great friends, and at the very least, I would have a great time. All of these things ended up being correct.
I've been thinking about how to blog about this. I don't feel like I can capture it and, in a lot of ways, the changes in me are subtle. There were some actual structural changes in my life that I came away from that weekend with, but the mental changes were not sudden. I walked away walking taller. Feeling more stable, more secure. Giving fewer fucks, truthfully. Feeling more confident in myself, and my general awesomeness.
To try and capture it, I wanted to share a few moments that struck me, that stuck out over the week. By no means is this a comprehensive list, to be clear. And I make no claims for the proper order. But I would say these moments, together, shaped my life, and have changed it's course, for the better.
Hugging Michelle in the airport, a little scared, but excited.
Meeting Abby and Bob and feeling a tad out of place, but that feeling passing quickly.
Seeing Dom grin for the first time and hugging her.
Hearing Tiff and Nick and realizing they were just as amazing as Dom said.
Hugging Jess, hearing her talk, and laughing with her a lot.
Getting mounted by a waitress and being able to, mostly, laugh it off.
Eating delicious bacon and laughing with Ed.
Seeing Lauren's head pop up at Centre Cut and hugging her for a long time.
Hearing Raoul for the first time and laughing very, very hard at his interactions with Lauren.
Watching Nic tease them mercilessly.
Hugging Klutzy for the first time.
Sitting next to her playing Cards Against Humanity.
Sitting next to her later in the reception room.
Seeing her an awful lot that entire weekend.
Saying goodbye to her in the airport.
Chatting with Laura at the oddly expensive airport steakhouse.
Dancing at Margaritaville with all the people. Belting out Don't Stop Believin. I think.
Hugging Kitty for the first time and realizing she is exactly how she seems on the internet, and how wonderful that is.
Having Doni tell me she was happy we were gonna get to chat more. Cool people like that want to know me?
Fluffy beard kisses from Berto.
Bradley's hat, and realizing the cool guys were not too cool for me.
Honest talks with Bob. High fives with Bob later.
Making a bad joke with Terra at whiskey tasting and still having everyone laugh.
Sitting with Valorie at Otto and enjoying hearing about her life.
Tiff making a joke about Dom keeping Ed locked in a basement for 10 years and realizing 3 seconds later how terrible that was.
Nick apologizing for forgetting someone's name in the most roundabout, stereotypically Southern Gentleman way possible.
Mikael. Just her in general.
Yoga with dolphins and newer people. A spa with smoothies and a steam room. Realizing with Klutzy, sadly, there are no co-ed areas of it.
Tara being exactly like her online persona and just wonderful.
Chicken and waffles.
Setting multiple alarms in the middle of the night.
Getting caught doing things I shouldn't be. Getting away with things I shouldn't have.
Hugging Nicole for the first time. Talking about her post that inspired me later.
Telling Amber a post of her inspired me and feeling okay that I didn't remember what one.
Marian. Just in general.
Maxie. Just in general.
Hugging Katherine for the first time after her being one of the first blogger people I knew. Realizing that she and all these wonderful people were not, in fact, too cool for me.
Berto honestly telling me how glad he was I was here.
Hearing about Simone's amazing life.
Debating age with Sandra.
Pool day, in general. Seeing people who were scared about it stand out, in swimsuits, and seeming to feel great about their bodies.
Hugging the boys in the pool.
Sitting by the pool and not giving a single fuck that I was in a fedora, bow tie, and no shirt.
Sneaking away from the pool day.
Sitting at a fancy patio with Klutzy.
Hugging Edwin for the first time after so many years. Seeing him just fucking love BiSC.
Hearing Brandy talk IRL.
Casey. Just in general.
Playing slots for the first time with Klutzy and realizing how much the person next to us was betting.
Reading Kate's post after and realizing just how awesome she is.
Telling Sara how much I admire her, and her and Erin instantly inviting me to run a Ragnar with them.
Saying yes to that Ragnar and discovering a few days later I'm going to have a Ragnar team in 16 months.
Caryn being engaged, fascinated, and wonderful in general.
Nico and Raoul speaking Tagalog (which I still am probably mispronouncing).
Bob after my last speech.
Standing on the edge of the white party with Klutzy and chatting with all the wonderful people.
At the end of BiSC, on the last day, I stood up to share some words. I can't remember what I had planned to say, only that it had no relation to what I ended up saying. I wish someone had been filming it because I don't remember all of it. The gist of it was a few revelations I didn't know I had had, about the difficulty of the past year, about the person I had been, and the person I felt I was now. It's funny because I don't feel markedly different, really. In ways I feel more like me. I think less about what I'm going to say or do. I worry less about what people think of me. I walk taller, and easier.
Suddenly, a lot of things seem possible to me that didn't before. I'm doing things I always thought would scare the crap out of me without a second thought. I'm more talkative. I'm sleeping better. I'm eating better. Thanks to our lovely sponsors, I've learned about a ton of great new products and services (thanks sponsors!). I suddenly have tons of travel plans I didn't before.
I have wonderful new things in my life that, it took BiSC to realize, were right there for the taking for me, all along. My life is now less a string of what can I maybe achieve, and more the idea of what do I want to achieve? Because it's all open to me now. Love. Travel. Friendship. I am now very firmly of the belief that I can accomplish whatever I want to. Instead of seeing my life as a string of failures, of not yet achieved greatness, I see it as simply being as it is. Wonderful, as it is, and with even more wonderful things on the horizon.
I left Vegas feeling a lot more zen about things. I feel happy, and light, for the first time in my memory. I have so many people to thank for that, and a few in particular, but they know that already. I'm amazed at this community, at how we are already planning new things, getting new ideas, and how I've already bought plane tickets for my next trip, and am planning a few more already.
Thank you, BiSC. Thank you to all my friends, who have gotten me here.
And I say this last part with expectation or hesitation, to all of you:
I love you.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the nature of anger, bitterness and jealousy. I've found it striking me a lot the last few days, over someone being rude, or being jealous of someone.
There's something in me that likes being angry. It feels like righteous anger sometimes. I should be angry. This action deserves anger, deserves retribution. I should feel bitter over this thing in my life that I have or don't have. It all makes perfect sense, you see.
Of course in reality it's pointless. Anger is a natural reaction, but in the end it serves nothing. At best it might push you into action, but it won't be sustainable action. Anger can't fuel you forever. It burns out, over time. And if you let it burn out, it leaves a mark. A scar, for lack of a less melodramatic term. I've found it's better to try and extinguish it. Honour your emotions, of course, but don't give them entirely free reign.
But it's funny, really, how difficult and unnatural that feels. How it feels like, to me, turning away from a car wreck, leaving the last chip, letting the insistent phone ring through to voice mail. It feels like I must experience it. I must feel the anger and bitterness, as I deserve to, as I should.
It's better to be mindful, though, as a friend reminded me yesterday. Stay here, now, not in the past or the future. Turn your mind away and focus on what you can do here, and now, to feel better, to do better. Maybe that's reaching out to a friend, watching something funny, or typing out a blog post on your tablet.
I worry, often, that my bitterness and anger is too heavily scarred over. I'd like to be a happier, positive person, but I worry that deep down I'm angry, bitter, and won't be able to change. I'd like to think though that worrying about that, that saying no, that is not what I want, will help.
I hope so, to be honest.
I had kind of a funny weekend.
I slept in on Saturday, but woke up and made a giant to do list of things. I spent the weekend crossing things off it, doing a ton of tasks including house item shopping, exploring downtown Oakville, trying out two new recipes (including trying my hand at banana bread), preparing lunches and breakfasts for the week, doing a ton of laundry, getting started on some gardening, pressing pants, dropping off dry cleaning, even fitting some WoW in there.
About the only thing I didn't do was exercise, but I ate fairly well.
And yet I went to bed feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Like I hadn't accomplished anything. Like something was missing. I'm not entirely sure what. Maybe because I wasn't social? Because I didn't really progress on any of my goals? I did learn new recipes, I cooked for the week, but it felt just like spinning my wheels. Like I was running to stand still, to quote a U2 song.
I'm not sure what the solution is here. Maybe exercise. Maybe social engagements. Maybe just to realize that having a clean house, cooking healthy and keeping my life organized is an important part of achieving my goals. I was saying to a friend today that the old proverb about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step is kind of incomplete.
It also includes a fuck-ton more single steps, too.