I don't dance. Drinking isn't really my thing. Parties? Usually I find them loud and retreat somewhere quiet. However at Blissdom, I wasn't about to miss out one SECOND of fun and went to every single party that would have me.
Also it was mostly because I was so hungry I could have gnawed the leg off an elephant and there was food at these parties, not to mention lots of fun people and dude, I bought new clothes to wear so of COURSE I had to go.
First stop? The Roots flagship store. Have I ever told you I love Roots?
I wandered through the store, chatting with people and checking out the clothes, sipping wine and nibbling on food. Ariane from Foundation Studios (my lovely sponsor!) and I wanted to buy some really cute pencil crayons that looked like they were fashioned from sticks, but they weren't for sale! Darn.
We had great entertainment, too. (wink)
At one point, I found myself sitting with Tanis (Red Neck Mommy), Katie (Motherbumper), and Catherine (Her Bad Mother). I must admit, it was a little surreal and as I sat there chatting with them, I was thinking to myself that if a year ago (hell, six months?) anyone told me I'd be sitting in Toronto chatting with three such rocking bloggers, I would have asked what on Earth they'd been smoking.
I have read their blogs since I started, and they seem to be the "cool kids" of the blogging world, so why would they be remotely interested in talking to little old ME? Let me tell you-these ladies are so kind and friendly that I was instantly at home.
Suddenly, Tanis coughed. She didn't look quite right and for a second, I began to wonder until her eyes widened, and it dawned on me what was going on.
HOLY CRAP. She's CHOKING.
Choking, people. As in the real deal, Heimlich maneuver choking that I learned to deal with in first aid, but never thought I'd ever have to use on kids at work, much less at a blogging conference on THE Redneck Mommy. I can see the tweets now.
@scatteredmom: Tanis! Tanis! Are you ok? Are you choking?
@redneckmommy: I can't breathe-get the F*$@ off Twitter!
I'd love to say that I saved the day, but the truth is I completely froze for a minute. I'm sure that if I really needed to, I would've Heimliched Tanis right then and there but fortunately, Katie whisked Tanis off and she was okay shortly after.
Thank GOD. The blogging world would just NOT be the same without her.
The next day at Blissdom was more of the same; breakfast, sessions, listening, notes, twitter, sponsorific people (I discovered Larabars. I LOVE Larabars), and me walking into a room full of people eating lunch and of course I don't recognize a soul.
Panic. Squelch the panic, take a deep breath, find a random table, sit and just introduce myself. Which is something I normally would never do, but this time I did.
Then my panel came up and I found myself sitting there, talking to a pile of people with bright lights in my face, babbling about Food Revolution and what inspired me to feed hungry kids in real life as well as write about it. As I sat up there with Shannon, Erica, Bonnie, and Denise, I was so proud to be part of such an amazing community. So amazing, in fact, that our session became known as "The Crying Session" because by the time we all told our stories, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.
At one point, an audience member talked about how hard it was having special needs kids, and how people would judge her. I couldn't stand it at one point, grabbed the mike, and told her about the time I considered turning my car in front of a logging truck.
In front of EVERYONE.
Gee, isn't that a downer to admit that you considered suicide?
As soon as the words left my mouth, I could hear the audible gasp from the audience and all at once, I wondered if I should've kept my mouth shut.
But...NO. This is what community is all about-we support each other. When one is choking, we come to the rescue. I didn't tell that to gain traffic or to be dramatic-it's just the truth. In one moment long ago, I was so desperate and felt so alone that for a brief moment I considered ending my life. This is something we need to talk about and support each other with, not hide in the dark corners and talk about in hushed whispers. It's real. Life is hard. Talking about it makes it okay and less shameful. So on the other hand, yes. I'm glad I said it.
If one person can find some solace in my writing, be it about school food, or parenting special needs kids, it's all I need. I don't want anyone else to feel what I did that day I stared down that logging truck.
We all have our stories, after all, and by telling them we let each other know that we're not alone on this journey. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It's pretty sweet to know an entire community's got your back.
Especially when you're choking.