I just got back from five days in Las Vegas with 68 bloggers I had never met prior to Thursday. And I have so many feelings I can’t explain about this group of strangers.
Like many bloggers, I’m an online-only extrovert. In person – unless we’re one-on-one – I hang back. I’m not shy, or a homebody, but I’m not really a “joiner”. Almost every single friendship I’ve had has been with a raging extrovert, which makes it easy to be their friend, but can just as easily make a girl feel inadequate.
Almost every exciting thing I’ve ever done I’ve done alone. Road trips, travel, moving cross-country/cross-planet. I love adventure but I really only love it solo.
Which is why my feelings about attending Bloggers in Sin City for it’s fifth and final year were hugely mixed. I wanted to meet this group of bloggers I’d been reading for years. I wanted to put faces to names and hug the shit out of my email pen pals. But 68 of them all at once? In Vegas?
I considered bailing a hundred times. I don’t drink, I’ve never been to a nightclub, I don’t dance or act silly or go to bed later than 10pm.
I am not that person. Until I was.
From the second I met my BiSC roommate, Jessica, I felt like I’d come home. I hugged the shit out of Michelle even though she and I had never spoken before Thursday. I sat down with a group of bloggers at a bar and didn’t get up until way past my grandma bedtime.
The next five days were a whirlwind and a lifetime. We did Vegasy things: We consumed enormous amounts of food at tacky buffets, saw Cirque du Soleil, explored the Strip, gambled, drank and danced at a club (at 26 I finally lost my club virginity).
But we also stayed up talking about our passions, our families and our stories until late into the night. We dressed up in the ugliest clothes we could find at H&M and did a fashion show in the changing rooms. We spooned. We put on dresses and bow ties and told each other how beautiful we were. We respected each other’s drinking/dietary/bedtime choices with zero judgment and 150% support and love and understanding.
Just watch the video below of our H&M extravaganza. I dare you. Keep in mind that I MET THESE FINE PEOPLE JUST TWO DAYS PRIOR. I’ve had friends for years I’d never feel comfortable acting this way around.
BiSC really is that good
I had been hearing about the magic of Bloggers in Sin City for years but always thought, “Really? It’s just not possible to connect with so many strangers that way. It has to be cliquey.” Negatory.
[Full Disclosure: Of course you’ll never meet 60+ people and have each and every one of them be your next best friend for ever and ever and ever. And, yes, you need to have a small amount of balls/ovaries because if you’re new you do need to make an effort to at least say hi. But I’m used to trying to worm my way into groups to the point of exhaustion. This? This was effortless.]
At the end of BiSC, a few bloggers got up and talked about these crazy feelings: About how BiSC changed their lives, their careers, their friendships. I sat there, tears streaming down my face, feeling like a fraud. Most of these bloggers have been seeing each other every year, forging lifetime friendships and making H&M-like memories for years. Who was I to cry after just five days? Until the BiSC newbies started talking, articulating each and every one of my feelings in a way I never could. That after BiSC they were standing taller, they had found their tribe, that they have never felt more like themselves.
I can’t pinpoint what exactly it is about BiSC that makes your “true self” come out, but fuck if I’m not going to try to find out this magic formula at home. Do I try and befriend the bloggers in San Francisco? Or is it the age group? Or is it just the fact that a group of mostly-introverted-bloggers-in-their-20s-and-30s-who-would-go-to-Vegas-to-meet-a-group-of-strangers-in-the-first-place are by definition the best people in the world?
I don’t have the answers. But I can’t send enough love to Nicole Antoinette for organizing BiSC. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. And, of course, I can’t give enough of my heart to the 68 bloggers I met this weekend. I love the shit out of you and I know, in the words of Dominique Hernandez, “You and I are going to have a beautiful friendship.”