I was the accidental closing keynote for the SoFabCon 2013. Yeah.
I woke up Saturday morning knowing that my closing keynote speaker wasn't able to make it in... travel issues suck.
I had less than 24 hours to figure out what I was going to offer 300 bloggers. Closing keynotes are meant to be inspirational. They are meant to inspire you and challenge you. When I stood in the storage room with my planning team brainstorming, knowing I had to come up with something for these bloggers who would surely be disappointed to hear JC Little wouldn't make it, I knew I had something I could use. At first I thought I might take the easy way out. "I'll just interview some bloggers and that is that." It wasn't until I really begin to think about a message that needed to be heard that I KNEW what I could offer them.
I could offer them me.
On its face, saying that *I* would be the closing keynote speaker seems vapid. As outgoing and personable as I can be, I don't always like the spotlight. To volunteer to be the closing keynote was my version of daring greatly.
It has taken me YEARS to grow to believe I am valuable enough to tell my story. Until now, telling my story was something I did safely behind a computer screen or one-on-one in a coffee shop.
Standing in front of a room of people with the power to blog about how awful you are... well... THAT is something new. Both brave and terrifying.
Every time you tell your story, someone who hears you is empowered to tell a little bit more of their story.
I walked on stage. I put the mic to my lips and I only remember quickly walking out at the end of it, immensely overwhelmed with what I just did.
Those people gave me a standing ovation.
Sure, I didn't tell every single detail of my story. I did mention my marriage, my mom, and my early memories. I talked about my struggle to stylize my life because the life I was given wasn't what I thought I should have.
I've always believed that owning our stories, identifying the narrative that says we aren't good enough or keeps us trying to fix things that can't be fixed, and lavishing ourselves with heaping amounts of love and grace are the things that help us be better versions of ourselves.
I challenged the audience to create enough space in their online lives to say
Elan is right... Pinterest and Instagram and living online can mean that we disconnect from parts of ourselves. We trade those parts for stylized versions of what we think we should be, what we think others want us to be. The richness of our lives becomes 2 dimensional when we do this. I don't know about you... but I want to stop settling. Light needs darkness and Summer need Winter.
I want to invite all parts of myself to live in one place. I have the bone white china AND sometimes we eat off of paper plates too.
I conquered the voices in my head on Saturday evening. Those voices that say, "you aren't good enough, what do you know, and stop thinking you are so important." I stood on a stage in front of my peers. I told my story with courage. I cried after the keynote and then fell asleep exhausted, because I was completely terrified and overwhelmed by my own power.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." -Marriane Williamson