I returned to Nashville Sunday night with a huge smile on my face. Despite my late arrival the night before, the next day at work I felt energized. I've been really struggling with how to put the weekend into words, but basically it's what I seriously needed to pull me out of the funk I've felt over the last 6 months.
I missed the opening events (ice breakers and reception) Thursday night because I took the last flight out of Baltimore - where I was at for work the days leading up to Fitbloggin, but as soon as I walked down to breakfast Friday morning I felt so much love, support, and community on the 6th floor of The Nines Hotel.
I only "knew" (you know - internet knew) about half a dozen people and I had only met 1 person in real life, but as soon as I walked in I met 10 people within about 30 minutes. I walked away from the weekend having talked with AT LEAST a third of the people there and have SO MANY new friendships to show for it. When I wanted to grab dinner - there was a group of people ready to go. When I wanted to check out the rooftop bar, I had someone to join me (and then others join us). When I was on my way to walk and get coffee alone, there would be someone on their way too and they would walk with me. Friends stayed up with me way too late just talking about everything under the sun. These people didn't care that my blog doesn't get 30K hits a month or that I don't have 5,000 followers on Twitter. They just get me.
I'm going to admit something that's so hard for me to write here on a public blog, but it plays into how I was feeling as I sat on the MAX train with tears in my eyes, looking at Mt. Hood in the distance, riding to the airport Sunday after leaving the Hotel. And it's my honest reaction. Recently I started feeling pretty lonely here in Nashville. The friends I made at Fitbloggin just GOT me. They could understand the words that came out of my mouth before I even spoke them. They wanted to hang out with me. They invited me to tag along with them. They weren't worried that I didn't fit in with a preformed group of friends they already had plans with. They were welcoming and the amount of love that everyone showed each and every person they had only just met was so inspiring. And so many have already messaged, texted, and Tweeted at me since leaving Portland. My heart is truly filled with love.
But I don't want to focus on the sadness I felt leaving Fitbloggin'. I want to write more about the fabulous time. I probably won't ever sit down and write a minute by minute recap (let's be honest - there is just too much that went on). But I spent the weekend learning so much more about myself, and positioning myself to be ready to ACCEPT my own love and be VULNERABLE to accept the love of those around me. I attended sessions of subjects that were outside my everyday knowledge (Clean Eating). I spoke in sessions about my struggles, and my successes. I learned more about blogging. I attended a large group yoga class and even when it was out of my comfort zone (flow vs. gentle) I STAYED. And I MODELED IN AN ACTIVE WEAR FASHION SHOW! Yes, me. Up on stage with 300 pairs of eyes on me. Unbelievable.
Of course the swag was awesome. All the rumors are true. Fitbloggin' has the BEST swag around. Shoes, fitness wear, gear, and nutrition were all given away. I hope to incorporate my favorite items in upcoming blog posts.
I know this post it a little "Kum by ya". But I hope to post more about the experience - like pictures - in the upcoming days/weeks. (And post more regularly!)
Have a great holiday weekend! Who's doing a 4th of July race?