I’m still processing Saturday, and it’s going to take a few days to write anything coherent about the day but instead of cluttering up a retrospective of the day with my mess of a head, this is the me-me-me focused post of how I felt.
I have wanted to go to a blog conference for years, and I am so grateful to Jax for giving me the ticket she won, and to my family and friends for jumping in with last minute childcare so I could swan off to London for the day.
I was a mix of excited and terrified at the prospect. After accepting the ticket on Wednesday evening, I had a stress meltdown on Thursday morning which wasn’t very pretty. This was mainly because I was stressed about something on Thursday anyhow, but the added thought of a highly social day probably didn’t help.
On Friday night I only woke up once during the night, which is about normal for me, and my alarm did wake me at 6am on Saturday. Getting ready I was full of butterflies, but I’d sorted out what I needed the day before so I hoped I was ready and left to catch the train.
My phone is a bit rubbish so I only vaguely tweeted on the way, wondering how many people were on the same train. But I didn’t see any at Paddington when I got there, and I had to buy my train ticket there so anyone else probably went on.
I’d looked at Google Street View the night before and memorised what the route to the venue would look like, and thought it was a long walk but actually it wasn’t far from King’s Cross and there was a queue of people so it was easy to find.
I stood in the queue feeling anxious about not knowing anyone or where to go, but I was guided to the down escalator. My stomach was completely churning as I went down and saw all the people milling and chatting. But I also saw the sign for toilets so immediately aimed for there to breathe slowly and calm myself.
After creeping out I realised there was a cloakroom so managed another social milestone by checking in my duffel coat. So I’d arrived, got my name badge, found the right place, knew where to get a drink and the toilet, and checked in my coat. Honestly, these are huge steps, so that really helped my confidence.
I was scanning the room to see if I could see anyone I recognised (or anywhere I could hide) and I spotted Jax. So I ignored all the butterflies, and hovered nearby until I managed to show my name badge and say hi. I then basically followed her around like a shadow for the rest of the day.
Okay, not quite. I tried hard not to, because I do have a habit of sticking with someone I know and I know I can be annoying because of that so I compensate. Maybe I overcompensate. Every time I spoke to someone I probably looked like I wasn’t interested or I wanted to escape and I’m really sorry if I did because I didn’t but I have no self esteem at all so I didn’t think anyone actually wanted to speak to me and was waiting for them to make their excuses and move on.
So I tried not to follow Jax around for the entire day like a weird stalker, but probably did. Lovely Monika took me under her wing for a while (thank-you, Monika, you are too kind as ever), and I also tried not to stalk Rachel who is awesomely interesting to talk with.
That’s my self esteem issues coming to the fore again. I can’t just talk to people I enjoy talking to without thinking that I’m actually annoying them and I should just leave. Except, I think it was okay. I think. And at the end of the day I somehow managed to end up in a group selfie with a bunch of people I admire hugely. That’s just mindboggling.
— Sue Black (@Dr_Black) November 8, 2014
I probably should have put the t-shirt on.
I did have anxiety butterflies several times throughout the day. I almost cried just the once (not bad). I thought everyone hated me several times (not good). I hid in the toilet once or twice too to get some quiet. And I did sleep all day Sunday to recover (thank-you, husband).
I definitely want to do it again now I know what to expect.