TSA checks are superficial at best. My 3.5 ounce tube of Arnicare went through without a hitch, although it was buried in my suitcase and not encased in a clear plastic bag which I'd removed from the rest of my belongings. My lap top was removed from the case in which it had traveled unimpeded through that same checkpoint just months before. Signage was negligible and attitudes were indifferent and smiles were hard to come by. I learned to smile through it, focusing on the fun ahead and letting the crap roll off my shoulders, which were striding through the airport with alacrity.
Serendipity is my friend. Little Cuter and I sat alone at each and every meal. At first. And not for long. No matter how much we tried. At one of the dozen or so discretely attended buffet tables in the bright and airy and unimaginably gigantic, seats-3000+ people-at-comfortably large-round-tables Sails Pavilion we filled our plates with fruit and oatmeal or salads and poultry and plunked ourselves down at the nearest available empty table. She went to get us iced tea (half a football field away) while I massaged my hip and remembered to engage my pelvic floor and my posture-muscles and lift my head and neck out of my shoulders. She came back to me, sat down, and within a minute others asked if they could join us. We met Kerryn and linked up with Nerthus that way. We talked child welfare and surviving bullet wounds with Rachelle, and the politics of abortion for Millenials with Sarah.
Nerthus was right last month when she predicted that:
(s)ome day after one of those glorious mornings where we awaken to another day .... I will meet you and we can chat for a minute or two about things not violent, processes that inspire, being in love with the use of words on a page, or being damn fine women of a certain age.We did all of that and more and how she found me in that sea of women I will never know. I do know that I am glad she did.
Serendipity put us at a breakfast table next to Morra and Cynthia and suddenly I'm connected in a personal way to women who do work which I've admired from afar. And it seems that they admire me right back. I've learned to accept the compliments with grace and then to turn the question right back so that I can learn what you do and why you do it. It's interesting that as the world becomes more interested in me, I begin to find myself less interesting. Can I be learning humility? Am I becoming less ego-centric? Is it because I've never been surrounded by so many like-minded humans who are as curious about me as I am about them and who are individually and collectively wondering what we can do for one another?
This is a great classroom. I am learning a lot.
I'm finding out that some big companies really do care about how we live and play today. In addition to raising daughters who encourage her to follow her own dreams (don't you love it when they parrot back your wisdom?), Pepsico's Indra Nooyi is committed to both Fun for You and Good for You.... just like the rest of us if we are honest with ourselves.
It was refreshing to hear her take on what she drinks ("Pepsi - full on, not Diet") and how she manages 300,000 employees. It was that kind of an event, a perfect blend of the personal and the professional, of girl talk and strategic planning, of parental and personal pride. I'm not sure if a more testosterone filled room would have enjoyed it as much as we BlogHer's did, but her standing ovation showed me that I was not alone in feeling empowered.
I learned that I am not the only one who heals through typing. Some of those who do too came to listen to my panel and some of them were Voices of the Year (be warned - have tissues nearby if you click on this link) but all of them touched our hearts and encouraged us to look at ourselves from a slightly different perspective. I learned that I am not alone.