Sunday, 24 June 2012

BritMums - why did I cry so much?

So, I'm back from BritMums Live 2012. My arms are aching from carrying my bags of free goodies home and my head is full of things I need to do - like sort out Tweeting from my phone ... what is my password???

Its been a weekend of mixed and quite strong emotions. I managed to get to my hotel, which was dead posh and completely scrumptious. So scrumptious in fact that I had a gorgeous lie in on Saturday morning and completely missed Sarah Brown's keynote speech. How useless am I?

When I got to the Brewery which turned out to be only a 5 minute walk away from my hotel I was blown away. All thoughts of this possibly being some sort of scam where my cash was whisked away to a Cayman Island account disappeared. The place was positively bulging with mostly women bloggers. There was free cake, free coffee, free tea ... you name it, it was there. There were stands giving away free stuff and that was before the speeches even began.

I went along by myself and I had kind of imagined meeting up with like minded bloggers and going out for dinner, maybe a drink, but actually it didn't end up that way. I did say hello to a few people, but to be honest its quite tricky to suddenly become bosom buddies with someone you've only just met. I felt like a bit of an odd bod after a while.

I listened to Ruby Wax's talk on Black Dog Tribe which was excellent. I found it very moving and after the year I have had so far - troubles at work and emotional illness close to home - I found myself with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. This added to the fact that I was on my own was a difficult feeling to cope with. I went and bought Ruby Wax's book which she kindly signed for me and as I tried to tell her how much I enjoyed her talk and though she was doing a really good thing with her web site ( for people with or caring for those with mental illness ) .... I just couldn't help crying. How gutting. I managed to apologise and walk away as the tears just dripped down my face - you know the ones that come silently as though God just turned on a tap?

I felt so lonely and so out of place. Although I was up for an award, a finalist in the Video Bloggers category, I just couldn't face the presentation ceremony.I sloped back to the hotel and sat in my fluffy dressing gown eating Pringles and crying. Its weird isn't it how you can be surrounded by people but feel so alone.

I planned on missing the second day completely and thought I would go to the Sir John Soane Museum in Lincoln's Inn Field. But I woke up and having had a long steamy shower and a cup of tea I decided to give it one more try. So off I went.

What a different day ... I met a few very very nice people. I chatted to Anna who doesn't yet have a blog, but was just lovely. And then there was the lady from Dublin in the Warner Bros lounge. She was so sweet. Then I had a long long chat with Ruth Myers the graphology lady. I loved talking with her... about art and artists ... and her reading of my character was so accurate. Then I had lunch in the TKMaxx lounge with some lovely ladies who were great to chat to.

My plans to go to the museum faded. I went to GeekMummy's chat on video blogging which was excellent and then onto the talk on Blogging for Happiness. I was sitting on the table with the lady who writes Walking with Angels. She spoke so movingly that again the tears came unbidden. And as Annie Spratt and Kate Davis-Holmes talked I agreed with what they said too. Blogging brings me so much happiness and so much support from people all over the world. My unhappiness and loneliness was the reason I started blogging and  really I am not interested in winning awards or being popular. Although it does make you feel nice to be nominated for such things. I agree with their idea of community and I admired Kate when she said she found being with people difficult. Blogging is a way we can all step out of ourselves and chat openly without fear of being thought stupid or fat or boring. And more than that we can help each other by revealing our deepest fears.

That's why I am writing this post really. Because BritMums Live was difficult at times. I did cry and I did feel lonely. But I also felt uplifted and welcomed and I felt I connected with some of the people. I didn't have the guts to go up to some of the well known bloggers and say hello, but that doesn't really matter does it? Being shy is not a crime.

My plan now is to create some relationships with bloggers so if I go next year I will have people I know to chat to. Maybe I have been too isolated. Maybe I need to be more open and chat to people more, visit more blogs more regularly.

I have learnt a lot this weekend. BritMums Live was well organised and the team had thought of everything. It was amazingly good value and I am glad I went. It has also made me realise how on the edge and emotional I am a lot of the time. I try to hide it, but Friday particularly made me realise how raw a lot of my emotions are and how little confidence I have. I was glad to come home to my Man and my boys, because I love them so much and what's more ... they love me too.


A Modern Mother said...

Hi Sarah, sorry I missed you, you are one of the ones I wanted to meet in person! I am naturally very shy too, so know where you are coming from. Your plan sounds good.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Thanks Susanna. I saw you in the video blogging session with Ruth but I just pathetically couldn't bring myself to come over and say hello. Next year I will! Thank you for organising the weekend.You really did a great job. xxx

Kate On Thin Ice said...

Lovely post and pleased I helped a bit. You can be my friend and engage with me. You sound fabulous and true, great qualities.
Glad you made it back on day two. I had very many wobbles but did not want to let BritMums down as they are fab including that Susanna one and also someetimes we just have to dig deep and have a go.
I got the most nervous speaker award! I tweet as @kateonthinice and would love to tweet with you

Sara said...

Oh Honey I really wish we had chance to chat especially on Friday as I too nearly bolted home. I don't do well in crowds so Brit mums was seriously nerve wracking for me. Thank you for your sweet comments about me to, really apperciate it as I was so nervous speaking up.

sarah at secret housewife said...

I am so glad I went back on day 2 too!I really feel that I have learnt a lot and I think I will make some new friends even after the event.I really appreciate your comments and kindness. I wasn't sure whether to post about my blubbing, but glad I did now!x

Suzanne said...

This is the exact reason why I didn't go! You were so brave in even attempting it and I'm very pleased to hear that you got something out of it in the end and met some nice people. I think all of these things we step out of our comfort zone to do, teach us something. Perhaps I'll be brave and try it next to convince the OH it's not all a money scam first ;)

Helloitsgemma said...

Gosh! It was lovely to meet you. You seemed to be taking it all in your stride, am so sorry you had such wobbles. Well done for coming back on the second day. Your plan is excellent and I can relate to what you said from my experiences last year. Having a some prearranged connections makes all the difference.

sara bran said...

I totally empathise with how raw you felt emotionally .. amazing how as soon as we stop, it all comes out...and well done for coming back on the second day. I spent last night in the bath crying and having an existential crisis!

The Alexander Residence said...

Sorry we didn't get to meet :( I had a real wobble at another conference this year, nothing to do with the conference and everything to do with stress I was under elsewhere, I was miserable and grumpy. I think I only continue to blog through having people who over time have become real life friends - they are lifesavers at conferences, but also in day to day blogging wobbles. Let's keep in touch?

Romanianmum said...

Lovely to meet you at Britmums! Hope to meet ou again soon x

JanMary @ said...

So glad you came back for Day 2. Although we had only met for the first time last week, I had a bloggy partner in crime to seek out (run too) when I felt lonely in the crowd.

First night I was too exhausted to tag along with a crowd going out, and on the 2nd night, just had a quick tea with my bloggy friend - thank heavens for her.

I'll add you to my blog reader and hopefully get to know you, and if we go back next year you WONT be alone!

I struggled with PND, and although I didn't blubber through Ruby's story, I definitely did during the keynote speeches.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I could definitely identify!!!

Cat Dean said...

I was at Britmum's too, feeling rather new and unconnected - I had such good intentions of 'meeting' people via their blogs a few months before the conference & of course didn't get around to actually doing it, so it was a bit of a facer, coming along and not knowing a soul.

Anyway, I recognised you in one of the sessions (I've visited your blog before but haven't left a comment before) and – you'll be amused to hear – assumed that you knew lots of people & were a very established sort of blogger ;-)

Thanks for your thoughtful post - it is reassuring to know it wasn't just me. I'll be sure to say hello next year!

Michelle Twin Mum said...

Hello love,

You comment on the newbies forum on BritMums a lot don't you? I have to say if you are who I am thinking of, you always sound so old school, experienced and confident. I thought you were a really well established blogger with loads of blogger friends. Just shows how we all make assumptions about each other.

I went to CyberMummy last year on my own & stayed in the hotel on my own & just tagged with people. It was OK. This year I stayed with 2 peopele I chat with online loads & had a ball. Spend the next year making some friends and agree to meet and you will love it. It makes the world of difference.

Mich x

Anonymous said...

I think anyone who went alone was VERY brave! I went with a friend and the first time we went separate ways to different workshops I felt lost and a little bit unsure. But I met some lovely people and had some great chats and wish I had had chance to bump into you for a chat. Maybe next year?

Anonymous said...

I saw you tweets and was sad that you found it so hard to be at the Brit Mum's conference. I have been through a period of depression and am now coming out the other end. During that time I found any social interaction hard, with friends let alone a room full of strangers, so you showed immense courage even going in the first place.
I did go to a few academic conferences, during that time, sometimes alone and once or twice with fellow MA students. I did make myself talk to strangers and it was OK. Needless to say the urge to rush home after & not stay for drinks etc was more often than not, hard to resist.
My advice would not to be too hard on yourself. Maybe blogging with an intention to make money and to become 'well known' etc is very different to blogging for the enjoyment of putting thoughts and ideas such as book reviews, out there I, as you know, have had several goes at blogging, I think I'm on my third or fourth blog now. Each time I get to the point where I need to step back for the whole blogging community,it gets too intense, and for that reason I have not linked to Britmums this time.
I personally love your blog and relate to many of the things you post about. Your allotment in particular is fantastic and I look forward to reading more about it. I am inspired to turn a bit of my garden into a veggie plot because of your pictures & tales.

I hope you have gone to your GP for help with the emotional issues, mine helped me enormously and I have truly climbed odresigout of the pit I was for the last few years.

Take care


Anonymous said...

Apologise, I inadvertantly typed the picture code into my comment!
'odresigout' should just read out!

Anonymous said...

Blogging is an amazing past time and has become so popular. I didn't go to BritMums but I do understand how valuable those friendships will now be.

CJ x

Nadine Hill said...

I had a 'disconnected' feeling this year too, and did feel quite lonely at some stages during the event.
This is despite me already knowing some bloggers and therefore having some 'ready made friends' at the conference. I have to say, on the Saturday night I went away and cried too. I think it was just the emotions from the event- sometimes all those people in one room can be overwhelming, regardless of how confident you usually are.
I wish we could have met- I'd have loved to have chatted, clinked glasses and put a face to the name! maybe next year?

Molly and the Princess said...

It was my first time at a blogging conference too, but l was lucky to meet up with lovely fellow bloggers I've become very close friends with. Otherwise I would definitely have been wobbling. You and I have a similar profile (age, 2 children and an allotment!) so do add me to the list of potential friends :) @msmollylouise on twitter x