I came. I saw. I cried. I rallied. I was thankful. This is the usual the order of how things work in my brain. This is exactly how I experienced the Aiming Low NonConference. Right after Blogher 12, Anissa invited me to work with the team. She needed someone to be Faiqa's number two while doing her spreadsheet/logistics thing and I said yes. I said yes, because when I grow up I want to be half as cool as Faiqa. Not in the Muslim way, but in the badass feminist writer way.
The cool thing about my #NonCon experience was the way I got the chance to be an external part of the team. I came in on the end of the planning phase that was transitioning into execution and I got a unique glimpse into how these women were pulling off such an awesome thing. I was able to see that this team of women were birthing something together. A collective dream baby, if you will. I was able to watch some of the growing pains, the blowouts, the late nights covered in vomit... have I pushed this baby analogy too far?
What I am trying to say is that Leila, Anissa, and Faiqa had an Asian- Asian- Middle Eastern dream baby and named it NonCon.
My time working with the Aiming Low team and attending the Aiming Low NonCon was really amazing and hard. I grew a lot as a person, learned new skills in working with a team, faced some insecurities/character flaws, and laughed laughed laughed more than I have at any conference. My friend Stephanie, The Park Wife, came all the way from Arkansas because she
stalks loves Ree Drummond. One evening as she looked on and I interacted with a table of people, she grabbed my arm and smiled, "Jasmine. You have truly found your people." Stephanie has this sage/homeschooling mom/freaky intuitive way about her. I am a part of a lot of blogger groups. I've never wanted to call any of them my tribe, until I found Aiming Low. Stephanie is right. Like it or not, Aiming Low... you are my people.
The Roundtables were droppin' knowledge, the parties were low key and fun, and the people were so unique and creative. At one point Leila looked at me, "Jasmine... we are gonna need some Kleenex." It was true! We needed tissues because people cried at their Roundtable sessions. People were connecting. The most powerful part was that when people spoke, they were being truly heard. Or they were sitting next to Katherine. Katherine makes people cry.
To be truly seen and heard by another is a gift, and this was the gift that the NonCon gave. If you are thinking of a conference to start with or a conference to end with, this conference is for you. Anissa, Faiqa, and Leila created an environment that cleared the space for people to connect and be intentional with each other.
I think we can contribute it to the fact that Asian persons have such amazing Ch´i...
The walls of pretension were brought down and no one was a "big deal"
.... well, almost no one.
Cecily, Vicki, and Alexandra will ALWAYS be big deals to me.
I left the NonCon with new skills, new insights, and a really confusing perspective on how bras should or should fit (thanks JULIE!). I also obtained a new perspective on the lesser known tragedy of duck rape.
OH! I left with my first hangover. Thanks a lot, Robin Plemmons.
More than anything else, I think I found a group of people who totally know I am a hot mess and love me in spite of it.
Thanks for letting me be a part of team Anissa, Faiqa, and Leila.