First things first about Camp Mighty.
It’s super weird to see people whose blogs you’ve been reading for years and years sitting in the same hot tub with you.
I just typed a whole lot more on that topic but I think that about sums it up. I mean, the Bloggess handed me my registration packet, and that was the least surreal moment in terms of starfuckery, because I didn’t recognize her until later.
Bloggers — they’re just like me! Except famous.
I was nervous before I went that no one would talk to me and everything would be awkward and I would spend the whole time alone in my room having the sads about my social ineptitude. (I believe the blogger contract obliges me to say that in this instance; see Section 4: Required disclosures when attending social events with other people from inside the computer.)
Pursuant to said contract, I must further concede that the aforementioned sads did not come to pass and that I met a lot of people I really liked, some of whom I will henceforth be friends with in real life. In DC no less!
That being said, I know and you know that we have both read enough blog conference recaps to know what we want to know, you know? So let’s do that.
PART ONE: A SCARY BEGINNING
I arrived very late and bedraggled after being trapped in the Dallas airport for five hours, working furiously. As soon as I saw my room, I fell in love — deep, meaningful love — with my private patio and its outdoor fireplace.
As soon as I dropped my bag, I took my pants off and hustled outside to ogle that fireplace properly. Naturally, the door to my room locked behind me so I was trapped out there half naked.
Wait, did I say private patio? I meant semi-private.
PART TWO: I AM ENERGIZED AND UPLIFTED BY THE POSSIBILITIES THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD HAS TO OFFER
The first day’s presentations, Maggie Mason, Camp Mighty founder and guiding light, and Derreck Kayongo from The Global Soap Project, were fantastic.
I can’t seem to finish writing this, so I’m just going to break it down and get to the end so I can post new stuff about Christmas, the angst the movie This Is 40 is causing me, and my many, many, many feelings about Feedback Season at work. OK? OK.
CAMP MIGHTY 2012 TOP 10
1. Clothes. You know how they used to say Oprah had the best-dressed audience in show business? Well, Camp Mighty has the best-dressed conference audience. It was inspiring. I wore this dress once.
I’m deeply, profoundly in love with the Ace Hotel and Swim Club Palm Springs
. I want to live there. It reminded me of the only job I ever had that I really loved, as a meeting planner. I am such a slut for amenities. This robe
was in my room and I dream about it every day. I might have to buy it, even though that is absurd.
My love of amenities is second only to my love of quality swag. We got beautiful Lands End canvas totes, Lands End wrap dresses, jeans from Old Navy, a free ebook on hip holiday crafts, a beautiful necklace with five golden rings to symbolize the five goals we plan to achieve in the next year, and a truly inspired, amazing,personalized gift put together by Wantist based on our blogs and life lists. This was mine
and I adore it.
I KNOW. Perfect, right?
4. Feelings. This guy spoke at the conference and it may be the most inspiring presentation I’ve ever seen. I want to tell you that it ended with him leading the whole room in a Kiswahili song, and that I got a little weepy, but I can feel you getting skeptical. Trust. It was awesome, he is beautiful, the end.
5. Hot tub. This is where the magic happens. I don’t know why; every night I was tired and a little drunk and the desert air was chilly, and the hot tub and the people in it made me happy. I felt a little bad for the few errant men there, though, as I’m pretty sure stewing in all that estrogen with us was not good for their future fertility. Also, three adorable little gay boys nearly had a threesome in the tub one night with about 50 women floating around them drinking cocktails. Camp attendees are an unflappable group.
6. Folks. I liked everyone I met, and I met a few people I really, really liked and think I will remain friends with. Several are in DC, and everyone visits us sooner or later. It was good; good to know that people I like spontaneously gather in accessible locales, and good for me to push myself into the kind of socializing I deplore — inserting myself into small groups. Once I’m in I’m fine, but actually saying “Mind if I join you?” makes me want to crack open my own head with a rock. I seriously blushed just typing that.
7. I am not my job. I know this, usually, but I like being reminded that there are people out there living the dream, or at least fighting hard to live it, and that I can too. As the pic of Maggie up top says, What you are thinking about is what you are becoming. Or as Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann said during his presentation, The work you do while you’re procrastinating is probably the work you should be doing.
Write much? I do! But I need to do it more. I miss emptying my head out here. It gets so full.
8. Give a little.
I just suggested to some people with whom I usually exchange gifts that we co-fund a Kiva
loan instead. This is a direct result of Camp; I am awful at charity, because I’m such a needy bastard myself. In Palm Springs, I was inspired to start being more accountable to the real world; giving more, doing more, bearing witness more. I am so lucky. I need to pay it forward.
9. Stump speech. I put on my life list that I wanted to be invited to speak at a conference on something I’m passionate about. Someone at Camp plans conferences, saw that, and asked me what I’d like to talk about. I had absolutely NOTHING. No elevator speech, no thinking on my feet, nada. It was quite humbling, and now I have a new goal: being a better advocate for myself and defining my wants and needs better. If I don’t know what I want, how can I get to it?
(I always sucked at answering the “what are your hobbies” question on dates, too. Can’t we just talk about our neuroses and weird sex daydreams like normal grownups?)
10. Inspiration. I came back with a lot of clarity and a deep-down ease that I didn’t even know how much I was missing. I’ve been a better person ever since. My biggest life list goal for next year: Stop downplaying the role that writing and blogging and storytelling play in my life. No more soft-pedaling that these things are my passion, and that succeeding in these arenas is what I want. Out with I’m a corporate hack and sometimes I blog and in with I’m a writer. Period.
Because I am. Game on.
Though this post may not be the best example. Game on tomorrow, then.