On May 19th I did one of the bravest things I've ever done. I sat in front of my laptop and opened a webpage. I was a bundle of nerves tied with a bow of excitement.
Tapping of keys.
Deep breath annnnd exhaaaaaaaaale.
Click of a Submit button.
I had just signed up for the Healthy Living Summit. I had registered to attend a conference with 200 people who were technically strangers. I'd only know later that I'd know someone in attendance in real life as well.
I did it because I was inspired by the other blogs I had been reading. It was their own words, thoughts, hopes, fears, successes and failures. I was inspired by their progressions from couch potatoes to runners (both for their own enjoyment as well as to raise money for charity.) I was inspired to try the recipes accompanied by mouthwatering photos. I didn't change my meals to limit calories. Rather I started adding MORE interesting things to it such as some vegetable I thought was odd before such as kale or something as simple as flaxseed.
I did know that walking in alone on the friday of HLS I wouldn't technically be alone since these women, and men I'd later realize, were all there for the same reason. The focus was on a happy healthy life. I knew taking a picture (or several) of my food before devouring it would be the norm. I knew that as a brand new runner there would be dozens of people who had once been in the exact same place and be able to give advice and honest answers.
That friday morning the excitement kept any fear at bay as I headed to the hotel. My babble level was set on high but it was due to being able to meet people in person that I had followed be it via blogs or tweets, comments on posts or a set of "must finds" created due to more frequent contact.
As a newer healthy living blogger, I am aware of that WOW factor in meeting a bigger blogger. I use the term bigger blogger not to set them up as some sort of elitist group but rather as in a more establish one in numbers of posts and followers. While someone might want to see them as larger than life, I use the local music scene to put it in perspective. The rockstar that is being fawned over and nervously asked for an autograph could easily be a person you have known since college or even before that.
This, even with my babbling tendency when super excited about something, was how I approached each and every fellow blogger I met. I may have had an awkward meet or two (or four) but I also had happy shrieky moments and genuine hello hugs.
No use of "angles."
Often clad in tank tops and yoga pants to be comfy not to send off some sort of "look at me!!!" vibe.
That weekend I learned a lot about myself, about others, about life in general. I came away from it with new friends (or rather blends - blog friends) that I honestly look forward to seeing next year. These are people that if I am in their town I know we'd meet up and of course do the shrieky huggy hello deal.
The positive impact that these bloggers and the Healthy Living Summit weekend made on my life no one can ever take away. The truth can be altered. Words can be taken out of content. Filters can be added and edits made to change the positive light from these inspirational moments and people. The 200+ people in attendance know this and so do the bloggers who pour their hearts out, no matter how many times they post, know it. The thousands of readers reading the thousands of posts out there know this.
People might try to put a negative spin on this community because they don't know it and do not understand the strength hidden within its posts. They might hide in our midst with smiles on their faces but dark motives in their hearts. They might try to increase their worth by attempting to decrease ours. We have the proof, the support, the friendship and the respect for each other. We have each others blogs in our readers, emails in our inboxes, tweets in our follows, texts in our cellphones. We have the smiles on our faces when we think of each other.
We have the power within ourselves to cook a healthy and tasty meal that leaves everyone in a food coma, properly train for and complete a race, or vow to never pick up or purchase a particular magazine ever again.