Yesterday, I got back from my weekend at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference. I had such a great time. It's always good for moms to get a break, and my roomie and I took full advantage of it. We had more adult conversation than I've had in a long time, and we laughed a lot. I learned new things, got reenergized about my blog, and met around 70 amazing women.
But on my way home, I reflected on the weekend and those 70+ women ... and I couldn't help but think how different I was from them.
Of course, everyone is different. We each have our own story. And maybe everyone there felt an inkling of the same thing.
But I suspect I felt it more...
I felt it in the moment when people named their hometowns: "Little Rock, Fayetteville, Little Rock, Springdale, Little Rock, Bentonville ...... and then I named my small town, along with the obligatory explanation of where in the heck that is.
I felt it when the whole crowd piped up and applauded at the declaration that WE NEED MORE WOMEN LEADERS, and nothing stirred inside me.
I felt it when I heard "religion jokes" cracked here and there, and though I knew they were innocent, they still made me uneasy.
The funny thing is, though, that I didn't leave feeling like a misfit in the world, deprived of large social circles or acceptance. I left feeling satisfied and happy with who I am as a person and with the life I've lived so far.
I left feeling that my little life in my little small town may be full of more joy and blessings than others could even imagine.
And I left feeling thankful for the way I was raised, the parents I have, and the confidence they instilled so that I'm fine just being me.
I'm fine with the fact I'll never make my own baby food, run a half-marathon or cook dinner for my family every night of the week.
Instead, I'll keep seeking the balance between healthy and affordable. We'll keep eating the occasional Friday night catfish buffet. And I'll get my exercise by pushing a double-stroller on the back streets.
And I'll continue going to conferences like AWBU because there is value in learning about those around you. There is value in befriending someone who is unlike yourself. And there is eternal value in loving all people no matter what.