And so it has come to this: A dad blogger’s convention taught me more about myself than about blogging.
Two years ago I happened upon the Dad 2.0 Summit through some random SAHD I follow on Twitter. At the time I didn’t have a blog but I wanted to have a blog and the conference was in Austin, so I figured what the hell? It couldn’t hurt.
Dad 2.0 in 2012 was inspiring, but felt like most everything the folks there discussed was way over my head. I spent most of the conference like a shadow on the back wall. Quietly existing, but not really participating. Still, it was good to know that there was a network — no, a community — of men (and women) dedicated to speaking for and about dads.
Fast forward to last weekend. I arrived in New Orleans for Dad 2.0 with a renewed sense of urgency. This year, I thought to myself, I’ll pay even closer attention than I did in 2012. I’ll make some connections and talk to people. I might even go out a few times — who wouldn’t want to spend a couple nights on Bourbon Street while not thinking (too much) about the two kids at home who exhaust me to no end. I say that lovingly, of course.
But the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. It turns out I am still a mouse. I’m still a shadow who sits in the back row and doesn’t talk much during meals or in between sessions or even at the welcome happy hour. I did manage to meet and chat with a few people (admittedly with the help of bourbon and hurricanes in some cases), but again I found myself clouded with self-doubt and anxiety about meeting new people.
Dad 2.0 reinforced that I need to write more and write
more gooder well, but it also reinforced that I still have a lot to work on, personally. I have to “put myself out there” in more situations I find uncomfortable. Instead of sitting in the back row, I need to learn to sit with others and engage. Instead of watching my kids at the park alone, I need to talk to the other parents there. Maybe I should even be the one to approach them instead of waiting and hoping someone approaches me.
I’ll leave you with this clip of Lorne Jaffe — a man I hadn’t heard of before the conference and didn’t introduce myself to during the conference, but from whom I took a great amount of inspiration — reading a post from his blog Raising Sienna. It’s a struggle, but if Lorne can stand up in front of a couple hundred people and put himself out there by reading an intimate post, I can stick out my hand and introduce myself to more people.
Now if I can just force myself to hit “publish” on this post…