I’ve been watching The Blathering from afar, admiring all the amazing ladies that went every year, wishing I was cool enough to join their ranks. Then one year, just before Charleston, Jennie assured me that everyone was welcome and yes, really, that means me, and no, she promises no one will think I’m weird. But timing didn’t work out for Charleston, and when the time to register for Seattle rolled around, I was in the middle of a really shitty year, and I didn’t know where I’d be living in April of 2015. (Spoiler alert: I made it back to California)
When I heard that The Blathering 2016 would be in Vegas, I was excited! It was close enough for me to drive, and it was a city I’d visited dozens (if not more than 100) times, so I felt like I was going home.
As the day of the Blathering grew near, I began to panic. You see, when you spend 5+ years with someone and every single woman in his life despises you, it really messes with your self-esteem. I was told I wasn’t good enough, didn’t make enough money, wasn’t tidy enough, wasn’t smart enough, was too flighty, too emotional, too silly, not refined enough, wasn’t thin enough, didn’t wear enough makeup, didn’t have a PhD from Yale, my parents’ careers weren’t prestigious enough… and when this continued for half a decade, I really began to think there was something wrong with me. Something deep that was too far beyond repairing. Despite three different therapists telling me, no, it wasn’t about me, it was a reflection of their own insecurities projected on me, I still felt like I wasn’t enough.
Moving back home to California did wonders for me – I was with people who loved me for me, who remembered who I was before I was beaten to the ground and helped pull me from the pits. I excelled at my new job. I found someone who told me I was the nicest person he had ever met, and didn’t care that I wore silly hats to hockey games. And bars. I was loved, and treasured, and I began to feel like myself again. And I was happy.
But those 5 years of not being enough sat in the back of my mind. Would the people at The Blathering think I was weird? Would they be mad at me because I took the place of someone else they loved, who couldn’t come because I’m here. Would they perceive my occasional shyness as being bitchy? What if I was too tall? Or too short? Or my dress wasn’t fancy enough? Or my shoes not stylish enough? Or what if…
…and I let it consume me so much that I almost didn’t go.
But I went.
And I’m so glad I did.
I walked in to the cupcake party, and Jennie ran up to me and gave me a hug and said “I’m so glad you’re here!” And I introduced myself to one of the Sara(h)s, and she said “I know who you are, and I’m glad I get to know you this weekend!” And people I recognized only from their avatars on Twitter walked in to the hotel room and their faces lit up when they saw me.
It was enough that I was just there.
I know this picture doesn’t include all of the women at The Blathering, but this picture represents everything that is wonderful about The Blathering. More than thirty women of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds, confidently rocking bathing suits in public, enjoying each other’s company, laughing , and not a single ounce of negativity or shaming. This is exactly the kind of world I want to live in. I’m so glad I found you. I wish I knew you all when I drove across the country by myself because those pit stops would have been epic.