So. A few weeks ago one my freelance bosses had an idea I’ll call Come to the World Domination Summit in Portland! The name pretty much says it all. Adventure-seeking Alicia thought, “Booyah!” while hermit-crab-who-fears-flying Alicia thought, “Oh dear.”
The former won my internal battle, mostly due to something I wrote to my friend Richard:
…I’m still undecided. I’m pretty much panicked at the whole idea. Like, driven to distraction can’t concentrate. But fuck, I can’t let this fucking fear grip me and make me incapable of DOING AWESOME SHIT.
And just writing that sealed it. I really want to do “awesome shit.” Which includes accepting a pretty cool invitation to see an event curated and hosted by Chris Guillebeau and see speakers who both specialize (and don’t) in living bold, curious, designed lives, and who are afraid of life but do things anyway and reminded us of things like, “You are brave simply by the measure of waking up in the morning” (because darn it, sometimes that’s just how it is).
Plane tickets were bought. Wilbur the triceratops was brought on as a flying consultant. Richard allowed me to have more White Russians than need be discussed. Lift off and touch down were achieved while Neil Gaiman rang in my ears. And just like that, I was in Portland, listening to people who have something to say.
Live unedited, they proclaimed, and Life is about the people we can make a difference for. One that spiraled around my spine was I encounter every lesson in life on purpose, followed the idea that when things don’t work out as planned, the thing you get instead might be one millions times better. Quickly, I was high on the idea of possibilities. Hell, I’d faced a huge fear to be hearing this stuff – might as well take it to heart.
Which would explain why along with a hundred other people, I submitted a sixty-second story I could share with the 2500 person audience in the afternoon session. Which would explain how this happened:
Um. Yeah. That’s me. The girl who someone in my high school yearbook said, “You will certainly succeed at anything you choose to do in life, except public speaking,” talking to a an auditorium. (For the record, I think the yearbook guy was being funny…I had literally run out of two speeches that year.) Here’s the audience:
I shared, in about six sentences, the story this blog tells. That I love dating, and that I went on a lot of dates. And that, in the end, no matter how awesome a guy was, if I did not already love myself there was no way I was getting past a certain point with lovely young men.
And the most freaking amazing, downright jaw-dropping things happened after I confessed/shared this:
1) People clapped. Like, not just one. A lot of them.
2) People later wanted to talk to me about what I’d said. They told me I was brave, and my story resonated with them.
3) I felt deeply renewed that the whole 50/50 experience wasn’t for nothing. My goal in most everything I do is to hopefully resonate with one person, and there were at least ten who said something to me afterward.
4) I felt like maybe I did have a story to tell. And I’d just written the outline in one sixty second chunk.
5) I wanted to tell someone special about it. I wanted to tell someone I loved. I wanted to reach into the stars and across the universe and press this feeling into another human being who would just get it and be excited with me, and who I could be excited with.
I called my mom. And she was ridiculously excited.
So, as Elise Blaha Cripes said: Ideas grow, and magic happens. One idea: fifty first dates, one in every state. Magic? It’s everywhere.
Huge thanks to the author of Living One Handed, Ryan Haack – who gave me the best compliment ever on Facebook after the fact: I was so nervous for you and then you stepped out there and OWNED IT! So fun to share the stage with you! It was an honor to share the stage with you too, my new friend.