Monday, September 24, 2012

Creative Alliance '12 - Leaving My Hammer At Home

I love this rumbling anticipation I'm feeling.

In two days I'm heading to Los Angeles, and then north to Ojai for the Creative Alliance conference.  It's not really a conference - more like a retreat - where creative women get together to fuse our energies, prop each other up, listen to our dreams and fears and walk away having forged new friendships that, by default, become a hybrid of a creative alliance and support group.

I went two years ago, to the last one, and my life hasn't been the same since. No exaggeration.

Before that conference I was a jumble of nerves, but for a completely different reason.  I had a bad case of the "smalls"; I didn't feel worthy to be there, in the presence of some powerhouse social media types, creative geniuses and bloggers I had admired from afar for years.  I didn't think I had anything to contribute, but 2010 was a year of a lot of firsts for me, so I went anyway.

Creative Alliance '10 cured me of the 'smalls'. Thanks to Creative Alliance '10, I put my hammer down.  You know, the one I use on myself?  Every now and then I'll pick it up again, and then one (or several) of my Creative Alliance friends will tell me to put the damn hammer down, remind me I'm worthy.

I found my own creative voice; realized I did have dreams and ambitions, and was already on my way to achieving them, through ventures like Crying Out Now and my jewelry.   I had wasted so much energy comparing myself to others, falling into that old behavioral trap of looking for ways I didn't measure up.  I didn't know 95% of the women there, and I had no idea what to expect.  I didn't exactly picture them pointing and laughing at me - I already knew they had too much soul for this type of behavior - but I did picture lots of heads cocked in confusion, thinking: you're doing what, exactly?

OH, my precious ego.

As we sat in the circle introducing ourselves for the first time, I felt my hands shake in nervous anticipation of my turn. I had a tendency to tell people about my business, my blogs, with a self-deprecating interrogatory slant, like a question:  I write two blogs?  And I run a small business?   Almost like I was asking their permission to exist.

When my turn came, I squared my shoulders and did my best to drop the question mark. Hearing myself articulate not just my accomplishments but also my dreams (saying your dreams out loud is hard, and vulnerable-making), to a room full of women I previously considered intimidating, was so freeing.  Hearing some of the biggest names in the social media world voice their own fears, or neuroses, put me instantly at ease.

We're all the same inside, I thought, us creative types.  Balancing on that beam of creativity and ambition.  Juggling mission and ego.  Creating from inside but still needing some kind of validation, especially from within our own community.

Those bigger, crazier conferences (that I shall not name) are so loud, and crazy, and full of egos clamoring for attention. Those conferences bring out the worst in me, and I won't say my own ego isn't tossing its hat into the fray, hoping to be noticed.

That's not what Creative Alliance is about, not at all. It's about finding your inner light, articulating your dreams, obstacles and fears to safe people who get it - man, do they get it - and forming a community that will pool their ideas and resources to help you achieve those dreams.

This year, I can't wait.

About half of last year's attendees are coming back, and there are many new women whose dreams, accomplishments and ambitions I can't wait to hear about.  I will leave inspired, filled up.

I have to push through some fears, though. I'm still not a big fan of flying, although I'm much better. The tools I'm learning to cope with cancer fear apply to flying, too, interestingly.  I have to land in LA, secure a rental car and spend one night by myself in an airport hotel. I used to do these things almost robotically, when I traveled for work in my previous life. Now I'm up at 2am rehearsing in my head how it's all gonna go down, as if I have any control over it.  That crazy brain squirrel is hard at work on his wheel, huffing and puffing away in the wee hours of the night.  Damn squirrel.

Before I know it, though, it will be over, and I'll be filled up again, full of dreams and ambitions and new friendships.

~~~~~~~~

A little bit of business:  Truthful Tuesdays is now going to be Truthful Thursdays, so I can participate in Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write link-up, which occurs every Tuesday.

Also - I had to switch to a new email/RSS feed service (I barely even know what that means, so forgive my lack of technical expertise). Long story short, if you think you should be getting my new posts in your Inbox, but you're not, please sign-up again (right hand sidebar, just below BlogHer ads).  If you don't already get my new posts via email but would like to, that's where to sign up, but please be sure to activate your subscription by following the link sent to your Inbox, or else you won't get the updates.

Thank you.

17 comments:

  1. Can't wait to squeeze you and your damn squirrel!

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  2. I can't imagine a better metaphor than "putting my hammer down." Thanks for the reminder, and I may need a hammer pendant to put on one of my Ellie necklaces as a reminder. Okay, I definitely need that now.

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    1. LOVE that idea, Ann! I'll have to see if I can find hammer charms... :)

      See you SOON!

      -xo

      -E.

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  3. Lovely post, Ellie.
    And thank you. I'm feeling a huge case of the smalls and I will repeat your words in my mind as I build up my courage to share at CA '12.
    I truly can't wait to meet you.

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    1. Can't wait to meet you, either, Nichole!! -xoxo

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  4. Thank you so much for writing this! This part: "I had a bad case of the "smalls"; I didn't feel worthy to be there, in the presence of some powerhouse social media types, creative geniuses and bloggers I had admired from afar for years. I didn't think I had anything to contribute..." it's like you're in my head right now. :) I'm really looking forward to meeting you!

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    1. I'm really looking forward to meeting you, too. It's so comforting to know I'm not the only one who thinks like I do, too... :)

      -xo

      -Ellie

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  5. I have the "smalls" big time. In fact, someone said it to me just the other day but whatever...I intend to listen and can't wait to meet everyone. See you Thursday!

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    1. We'll cure you of your case of the smalls. I promise. :)

      Can't wait to meet you!

      -xo

      -Ellie

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  6. I can't wait to get filled up too!
    Thank you for sharing - I can't wait for this weekend.

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  7. I have been wearing my 'Yurt Out Loud' necklace for weeks in mental and heart preparation. I need this time and I cannot wait to squeeze your neck.

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    1. I can't wait to squeeze your neck right back! I've been wearing my "Yurt Out Loud" necklace, too. I wonder what this year's theme is going to end up being?!?! :)

      Cannot WAIT to see you, my friend.

      -xoxo

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  8. Load up on jewelry --Molly's coming! XXXX

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  9. I wish I were going! Say hi to my friend Chloe. This is her first CA.

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  10. Have an amazing time, sweet friend! I can't wait to hear all about it!

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