I was lucky enough to gain a sponsorship from CM and spent the evening packing my belongings. I'm always nervous when I meet people for the first time but I'd like to think it derives from excitement. I sat anxiously waiting on the train at 6:00am I might add, thinking of all the friends I had made online that I was finally going to get to meet in REAL LIFE. Yes, I said it! Real life.
On arrival the dufus that I am had forgotten to actually book myself a ticket, but after a brief conversation, waking up the CM bosses and persuading the lady that I had intended to book a ticket, I was let in! Off to a crap start right?
It ended up being a mish mash blur of introductions, brief hellos and the odd smile here and there. Had I not clung to Alex, Bump to Baby, I don't know how I could have possibly stayed. I called my mum at one point and had to hold back the tears! Ha. Not good at all!
I just want to clarify, as it may not have seemed obvious when I posted my tweet, that this is not directed at one particular person. No one that day did anything wrong TO me, but as a whole I felt the experience was extremely exclusive. Old friends catching up, and no clear room for new friends to join. It could have been the lay out of the day. Too structured and intimidating! Being my first opportunity to attend something like this, I will not be going back and based on the response my tweet got, I'm not alone in my feelings. My best description is like being at a cocktail party. The conversation has already started and people have already formed their circles with no obvious gaps or awareness in opening up. We have to try as a collective to remember that there are people coming to these events that have never been before, that have stepped out of a massive comfort zone, ignored anxiety and loud voices saying they are not worth the company. I found myself, when I wasn't attached to Alex's waist, wondering around alone not sure where to place myself and lacking a friendly face to say, come on in! I'm a strong and hugely communicative person, so for me to feel 'left out' is a pretty major deal because I could chat to a brick wall.
I would urge you, take a look at the bigger picture, no one needs to be a charity case, I'm not suggesting that people wonder off to pick up the strays but if you see someone standing alone, smile. That smile could change their whole outlook and their whole day!
I did do a very brief video of the day itself, here it is if you fancy a gander... and let me know your thoughts, how did you feel about it? Would you return? And what could be changed?