Independence from Vegas Anxiety

Lately, I noticed that I feel this compulsive need to care what others think. A lot. As I prepare for the TPT Conference awesomeness of next week, I am scared. See, I am a socially awkward person. Really. If you've chatted with me away from school, you'll see how I am able to stick my foot in my mouth. A lot. Fortunately, I make a decent first impression. :)

My latest anxiety in planning this trip is what I'm going to wear. I'm not gonna lie - I'll be wearing shorts, tee shirts, and comfortable shoes. It's going to be around 107 F on the days I'll be there, so I will be indoors as much as possible!! When the temps in NC hit the high 90's, we (I) stay inside, drink a lot of lemonade... and eat Chunky Monkey ice cream. Vegas is causing a huge anxiety for me, and I am observing this anxiety in my social media groups.

Last Thursday, I posted a pic to a group on fb showing my choices of outfits for the trip (I made it into a collage using PicsArt, since I'm learning how). I deleted the picture about 5 hours later, as it highlighted the anxiety others were feeling. Social media friends in the group liked the pic and/or made positive comments, and I got great advice - wear v-necks to accentuate my long neck. :) I felt good. validated. like I was going to fit in fine at the conference. like I'm going to accomplish my business goals by attending the conference. I have goals you know. actual goals, like learning more about marketing and design, as well as all of the tips and advice, not just to visit with my online contacts!

What I didn't expect, and the reason I am writing this rambling post, is the level of anxiety in many of the responses. I have no idea what to wear. I won't fit in like you. You're so thin. I used to be thin. I am not going to look good in the pictures. I used to be pretty, too. Omigod, I cried for the people who shared that level of anxiety as I deleted the post. It's been on my mind ever since.

Here's what I want you to know:

You are amazing. You are a person who is taking the time to learn from others and hone the craft of entrepreneurship. Many of you are doing this alongside your "day job," as an extra income like me. I didn't learn much about marketing, graphic design, accounting, or business principles until I became an entrepreneur myself. Wear shorts and comfy shoes. Don't stress about feeling left out of so many different secret group meals and meet-ups. Seriously, everywhere you turn, there will be folks, and the TPT crowd seems to stand out, and they are friendly. Chat with them. Build those connections that keep us a community, as opposed to competition. Don't build your Vegas happiness around getting a ton of likes on social media. Just enjoy, learn as much as you can, and take care of yourself, as traveling is rough. Be ready to roll with changes, and enjoy yourself.

I put my foot in my mouth repeatedly during the conference last year. I met a friend for cocktails, and was totally star-struck and awkward when I saw the huge group of folks who looked so happy to meet me... I said, "Oh, I remember your blog," to a top 10 presenter, "Aren't you upper elementary?" I continued. Her reply, "Of course, this meetup is for Upper Elementary." Awkward... So I say, "Well, it's a good thing I crashed this meetup!" Ummmm... I wanted to crawl under a table... and she smiled, laughed, and even continued to chat with me. Whew! I also missed the huge meetup due to a late flight in Atlanta. I arrived 30 minutes after it was over, still smelling like a plane, but I went anyway, just to see where it was. The group of  sellers I met were amazing. They were tidying up, picking up raffle tickets from the carpeting, so I helped and chatted. Everyone was so kind, taking pictures with me, listening to my story, and hearing me be socially awkward, I'm sure. Here's the lesson - Do it anyway! Put yourself out there. These are other amazing people, just like you.

I am ok with the huge bags under your eyes from traveling, your comfortable shoes, and your being star struck when you see the rest of the awesome-sauce at the conference. Just go and have fun. Go with it if when I say something awkward. Just know that I think we are an amazing group of people, and that the lighting at the conference will be so yellow that everyone will be using a filter, so #embraceit!

This week, I declare my Independence from the Vegas Anxiety. Anyone with me? We can stay indoors, rest our feet, and eat Chunky Monkey ice cream. I'll be the one standing in the corner, trying not to be awkward, with my comfortable foot in my mouth...

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