I went to ALT Summit this year. I’ve wanted to go since it began a few years ago and thankfully, this turned out to be *the* magic year thanks to Heather and Joss & Main, who had a last minute extra ticket and generously invited me to take it.
I reconnected with some friends at the conference (which is always my favorite part of any conference) and had a slumber party every night because Amy Turn Sharp and Anna Beth Chao were also staying with Heather and they know how to have a good time.
My two main takeaways from this conference were:
1) I still haven’t figured out how to tell people who I am very well. I watched person after person introduce themselves and rock-it with the 10-second spiel and I am just SO BAD at that. I can’t sell my paintings to someone who already wants to buy them and I can’t explain what I do in less than 5 minutes and not without a lot of “ums” and “well, and also, kind of like“s. It’s horrifying. This is a skill I really need and would like to develop.
2) I have yet to figure out how to fit in when a cluster of people gets larger than four. There’s three of us? Awesome. Someone else comes along? Cool, let’s keep talking. This is good. And now someone *else* comes to our little group and makes it five? Hhmm. Ok. But I’m going to have a harder time talking, but I’m still listening and I’ll try and pipe in now and again. Wait, what? Someone else? So, six? Seven? Eight? Dude. I’ll just be over here on the edge of the group and smiling and nodding but feeling totally unable to connect anymore. Like, the group is now “The Group” and I’m “Not Part Of It.” And this is all people that I like and want to talk to. People I’ve been waiting to talk to. I find myself later feeling really disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to pull myself out of whatever that invisible wall was and participate in what appears to be a really great conversation. I used to be good at stuff like that.
Here is me (not shown), taking a photo of a group of people having a great conversation while I watched. On my left are even more really nice people that you can’t see, making our group about 10 or so.
So, yeah, I’m going to work on that.