Conference is here. Time to freak out?

Hey All! It's Conference Time!

I am going to my very first writing conference this week, Realm Makers! I am beside myself with anticipation.

I can't wait for the lessons and the ability to connect with more writer buddies. Besides the seminars, I have 4 meetings scheduled for that weekend. This conference is pretty much my tribe. I get to spend a couple days with nerds who love Jesus, writing, and are into fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction. I have packed, booked flights, and figured out my costume for the banquet (Steampunk Gambit here I come!).

The only thing left to do is freak out!

This conference is well beyond the limits of my comfort zone. These past two weeks my PTSD has pulled out all the tricks possible to get me to stay in a "secure" place. Besides the usual hypervigilance/ hyperventilation/ etc, I have had four panic attacks as I geared up for the conference (but I haven't blacked out or tossed my cookies, which is a big win for me). My adrenal system is all haywire. And I finally had the big "freak out" this past weekend.
When I regained composure, I cried into my laptop while a dear friend of mine put together a puzzle, and listened. She encouraged me and prayed for me. And I remembered the truth.

You see, there are bits of me that are afraid. Part of me is certain that...
  • flying several states away from my family (especially since medical elopement is deadly), 
  • to meet a bunch of strangers in my industry (who will definitely laugh at/ judge me for not being "church-y" enough, or professional enough)
  • so I can develop my skills, knowledge and business (bahaha! I'm not a real industry professional)... a terrible idea.

Part of me believes all that. 
And part of me has a very good reason. I suspect a part of me will always believe that because I have hard, empirical evidence that I suck at this. I have failed in all of those ways. I have faced all of those things and my brain is doing its best to make sure I don't face that pain again. 


That's not the part of me that gets the car keys. 

The part of me that gets the car keys is the same part of me that installed extra locks on my doors to make sure my daughter will be safe. The part of me that ordered a medical alert necklace for my kiddo so she'll have it before I leave gets to have a say. I'm listening to the part of me that has a history of making friends at coffee shops and on metro rides (I would say "Max Rides" but that wouldn't make much sense to my international audience). I'm going with the part of me that is on the mentor team at church. I will go with the part of me that finished a novel, maintains a successful blog, completed editing contracts, and pursues publication. 

I listen to the part that knows my heavenly father sees me and loves spending time together writing. My Heaven-dad and I are really going to have fun at this conference, and he has prepared good works in advance for me. He's kind of all about community, and I trust him.  

But those fears, those objections? They are a part of me. Those concerns are an attempt (albeit ham-fisted) to keep me safe. I won't leave those fears behind when I go to St. Louis, I wouldn't do that to any part of me even if I could. I won't refuse the scared kid that I once was. God didn't give up on her. Neither will I. I will keep that part of me safe in my back pocket, right next to the business cards. 

I don't know what it will be like. But I bet that the scared little piece of me, that rests in my back pocket, will be exactly the friend that someone else is hoping for this week.
See you soon St. Louis!

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  1. I'm really proud of you darling. I know you will make the most of this stressful and exciting adventure.

    1. Thanks Beloved. I couldn't do it without you. :-D

    2. "Do it scared." has become a motto in my life, and I'm so proud to see that you are going to Realm Makers despite your fears and your panic attacks!

      This will be my third year attending Realm Makers, and I assure you, no one is going to judge! The first year I was terrified of that as well. At time time, I was suffering from severe PTSD mixed with an disease called Environmental Illness. I was terrified I would get there and not be able to stay due to either another panic attack or becoming sick from the chemicals and perfumes surrounding me. I was terrifed that people would see me as not strong enough or that they would avoid me altogether. What I found instead was a community that cared even if they didn't understand.

      The thing about Realm Makers... it's a place full of people that love what you love, and are passionate about the same things. It's a place where you aren't going to be judged - because we're all speculative writers and we understand the critisizm that can come from people who don't 'get' you.

      Now, every time I go, it feels like I've come home. I hope to see you there this year, and have the honor of welcoming you to "home" as well!

    3. Meaghan, Thank you so much for your advice. "Do it scared." I love that idea. I look forward to meeting you!


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