My Blissdom Experience: Be Brave, Be Kind, Be You

Brandy

A week ago today I entered the lobby of the beautiful hotel hosting the Blissdom Canada conference not really knowing what to expect.

And my world changed.

Blissdom Delta Meadowvale Mississauga Ontario

The gorgeous and huge Delta Meadowvale Hotel. Fabulous hosts for Blissdom Canada.

Blissdom Canada is a conference for those who love to write, blog, or just plain create. It is a place where we social media lovers gather to learn more about our craft, find inspiration and where we could find our true selves.

Since returning home I have been reading through all of the Blissdom wrap-up posts and have enjoyed hearing what everyone learned from their time spent at Blissdom. Honestly, I have felt a little pressured to write out my own thoughts. How can I write my feelings as articulately as some of the other bloggers have? What if what I write sounds silly or small in comparison? Then, I remembered one of the many lessons I learned from Blissdom, stop comparing myself to others. I need to stop seeing myself as a small tadpole in the huge ocean of bloggers and writers.

I am just as important as everyone else and my words matter. I matter!


Be Brave


A couple of weeks before I left for Blissdom I downloaded a song by Sara Bareilles called Brave. I was even going to write a blog post about it. I heard the song long before I had purchased it. I just have never really listened to the lyrics. When I stopped and took a moment to let the words sink in, I was in awe and amazed. I quickly identified with the song and could immediately relate it to my life. Growing up I held my tongue many, many times. I should have been brave enough to say how I truly felt. Maybe I could have saved my mom’s life. But we, or I, didn’t speak up. I kept everything bottled up inside. I did not stand up for my mom. Or for myself. Now the words are starting to fall out. Slowly they are making their way to the surface and out into the world.

As my world often works in strange coincidences, Brave was selected as the theme song for the conference.

Looking back on the past year I have realized that I am BRAVE. I attended my brother’s wedding in May by myself and had a fantastic time. I took a ride in a helicopter and loved it. I completed my practicum for school and was given top marks. And now, I can proudly say that I attended Blissdom. I approached people  and talked to people I had only talked with on Twitter, Facebook or email. I shared a hotel room with someone I had never met before. In the past I have never felt comfortable enough to share a room with anyone other than my family. I was too afraid. Thank you Nicole for being a great friend and for listening to all of my stories.

Nicole Brandy Blissdom

My roomie Nicole and I at the Tim Hortons’ suite.

My anxiety held me back from doing so many things in life. It has paralyzed me to the core. I haven’t lived a full life because of it. But I was not going to let it hold me back this time. No way, no how!

Another thing I did that I have never felt compelled to do was to ask for pictures with other friends. Like most people, I have never liked getting my picture taken or seeing myself in the finished product. I have never felt pretty or beautiful. When I graduated from high school I never gave anyone my grad pictures. I hated them. But while I was finding my bliss, I put myself out there. I pushed out of my comfort zone and asked a few friends to take their picture with me. And they politely obliged.

Blissdom Brandy Collage

I met many great people and friends on my Blissdom journey.

I made so many great connections while at Blissdom. I talked with complete strangers who were quickly becoming friends. I approached brands I want to work with in the future. I tweeted about what I was learning and what I felt passionate about while soaking in all of the positively around me. I asked Matt Dusk if I could get a picture taken with him. I even got behind the wheel of a Camaro and drove it out of the hotel parking lot! Now, if that’s not bravery, I don’t know what is!

Chevrolet Camaro Blissdom Test Drive

I drove this lovely Chevrolet Camaro during the Chevrolet test drives.

My roommate Nicole sent me a text from our room to say that she had arrived. She indicated that she was a little nervous. I told her I would be right up as I had to change my shoes (my feet were so sore even on that first night). I talked to her as if we had known each other forever. She eventually calmed down and I lead her to the newcomer’s meet-up. On the way to the ballroom I smiled, chatted, and hugged people I recognized as we passed by. I was taking the whole experience in and enjoying it to the fullest. A little while later Nicole said to me, “I thought you said you were shy!” The truth is I was terribly afraid to meet and greet all of these wonderful people. Many of these bloggers are like idols to me. Almost celebrities in my mind. But I knew that I would regret it if I spent the weekend hiding in the corner and did not make my presence known. I am no longer invisible.


Be Kind


The main message of the weekend was to BE KIND. We need to practice kindness in all aspects of our lives and not only while we are on social media. Smile at someone you do not know. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Compliment your cashier at the grocery store. Help an elderly person cross the street. Just be kind. Make random acts of kindness a part of your daily routine.

I attended a very powerful session on Social Media Etiquette hosted by Neil Hedley. The participating panelists were Glennon Melton of Momastery, Carolyn Forde, Glen Canning (Rehtaeh Parsons’ father), and Jesse Labelle. Each panelist provided their own insights into how to positively impact the world around us. We all need to remember that just because we are behind a computer does not mean we have the right to put each other down. The person on the receiving end of our conversation is a real person with real feelings. Our words have power. Why not use that power for good?

Drew Dudley blew me away in his closing keynote. I was trying to take notes during his presentation. Every sentence he spoke was like an inspirational quote. One coming after the other. I wanted to capture it all. Eventually, I just sat back and watched him do what he was put on this Earth to do, inspire. He had us asking ourselves some very tough questions. “What positive thing have you said about someone to their face today? What positive thing have you said about someone who isn’t in the room?” I took these questions to heart and will be sure to ask myself these questions everyday.

Remember, what you put out there will eventually come back to you. It is up to you to do and say the right thing. Be a leader. Set an example. Make a difference in someone else’s life. It does not matter how big or how small. Do something. There are no little things. As Neil said, we have the option to bring more kindness into the world and we need to choose wisely.


Be You


As a child I had to grow up quickly. One thing I could never put my finger on was who I truly am. Who am I? What do I like? What do I want to do with my life? Why do I matter?

I have found that I am unique. There is no other me on this planet. I need to embrace my uniqueness. Own my quirks. Value myself.

I have been navigating this space called the Internet since I was teen. As an introvert this medium has made it so much easier for me to reach out and be myself. My true self.

Blissdom felt like coming home. I was in my element. I was with people who understood me and embraced me wholeheartedly, faults and all. I have yet to discover my purpose in life but I know that I am on the right path to discovering it. This world of expressing myself has opened so many doors for me. The friends I have made throughout this journey encourage me to forge on.


My dream of going to Blissdom did eat up a fair bit of my savings. My family encouraged me and offered help when needed. I could not have done it without them. And for that I am so thankful they are always there supporting me and cheering me on. This was an investment in my future. And I am totally worth it!

There is so much more I could write and want to write about being at Blissdom. I learned so much. It was one of the best things I have done for myself in a long, long time. It is definitely an experience I will never forget.


Author:
Brandy Reid is a stay at home mom to two very active and hockey obsessed boys. As a former YA librarian, Brandy loves to read and is obsessed with reading everyday whether it be books or blogs. Brandy proudly admits that she is a wee bit addicted to social media, especially Twitter. She also believes that everything in life you can related to the iconic TV Show Friends. No day is complete without chocolate.

38 Comments

  1. Jody @ Mommy Moment
    October 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Great post Brandy. I am so proud of you for coming to the conference and for the chance I had to get to know you better.
    You make a great flight companion :)

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Thank you Jody! I had such a great time chatting with you! Until next time!

  2. Jennifer (momvstheboys)
    October 11, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    It was fabulous meeting you doll, I am so glad you stepped out of your comfort zone and came to Blissdom. your tweets throughout the event put a smile on my face, you were the poster child for BLISS! Can’t wait to see you again!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Thank you Jennifer! I cannot believe I got to meet you in person as well. LOL! Poster child for Bliss. I guess I did have a permanent smile on my face the whole weekend. It was pure awesome!

  3. Kathryn
    October 11, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I love this post Brandy and absolutely loved meeting you. You are a beautiful person inside and out and truly one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Never forget for a moment how your posts have impacted others!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Thank you so much Kathryn! I was so happy to meet you. You are such a sweet and caring person yourself. Hopefully we can chat longer next time.

  4. Erin
    October 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      LOL!

      Thank you Erin! Wish you could have been there with me!

  5. Dreena
    DreenaReply
    October 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Excellent post!
    Cheers.

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      I am so glad you stopped by Dreena!

  6. Jessica @ Just a Mum?
    October 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    I’m glad you made yourself say hi to strangers, it was great to meet you :)

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Fabulous to meet you too! I only wish that the weekend could have just been a wee bit longer.

  7. Sarah at Journeys of The Zoo
    October 11, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    How great that you and Nicole ended up rooming together. Some things aren’t coincidence.

    And that you got so much out of the conference. As the saying goes, you get out what you put it.

    You are totally worth it. The best part, you know it.

    Looking forward to sharing this journey of life with you. Thanks for sharing.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      It was such an honour to meet and talk with you Sarah. Loved every minute of it!

  8. Crystal
    CrystalReply
    October 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Brandy, I am so incredibly proud of you. I knew you could do it (I even told you it would be fine with Nicole didn’t I? haha)

    I’m glad this was such a positive experience for you and I hope it helps you find ways to deal with your anxiety on more levels over time. You’re awesome and I’m glad you got to show so many other people what I’ve known for years ;).

    P.S. I’m so jealous of you/Matt Dusk. I love that guy!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      Thank you Crystal! I still cannot believe I went and that everything I did actually happened. It seems like a dream.

  9. Christa Clips
    October 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Yay!I can’t wait to send out your post again next year when we see the next generation of “first time Blissdomites” posting about how nervous they are in the fb group next fall. You captured how welcoming the whole conference was … well done!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      Thank you Christa! I can’t wait for next year. Hopefully I am able to make it. hehe!

  10. Katja
    October 11, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    I’m happy to hear how positive your weekend was. There were so many great moments. I’m only sorry we didn’t meet.

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Thank you Katja! I can’t believe we didn’t meet either. There were so many people I wanted to say hi to and chat with but it was difficult to coordinate schedules. LOL!

  11. Dawn R
    Dawn RReply
    October 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Wow Brandi!! I’ve have seen so much growth in you over the last 3 years. As I was reading this post, I was remembering some of your older posts, about your anxiety, and I hope that you are able to recognize how far you have come in your journey. Keep going, you are doing so great! And I love the new blog format.

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Thank you Dawn! I am trying my best to live my life to the fullest. For so many years I felt like I couldn’t do anything. Now I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.

  12. Cheryl
    October 11, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Brandi, I’m so glad we got to hang out at Blissdom and also glad to hear you had a good time. I wish we had more time to chat but at least there is next year! :)

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      I am so glad you came up to me at Bliss. Or did I say hi to you first? hehe! Seems so long ago already now.

  13. Chris
    October 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    I’m not sure what I could write that I haven’t already said to you, so let me just say that your post was amazing and that it was a pleasure getting to know and hang out with you. I can’t wait to see you there next year!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      I am so happy and honoured to say that I met THE Canadian Dad in person and actually got to talk to him like he’s a good friend. Which I hope he knows he truly is. You are such an inspiration!

  14. Jacki
    JackiReply
    October 11, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    It was great to see you in person, and sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk more! Great post. Be brave. Be kind. Just keep being you.

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      So glad that I got to say hi and give you a hug! Wish it could have been longer too.

  15. SL
    SLReply
    October 11, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Great post! WOW! It sounds like you had an amazing BlissDom experience! Good for you! You *so* deserve it!

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Thank you SL! I did deserve it. I kept telling people it was my grad present to myself. LOL!

  16. Lesley Wray
    Lesley WrayReply
    October 11, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    I really enjoyed this read, Brandy! I am so happy for you and it is nice to read something that I try to live by. I can relate to your text in so many ways. I don’t like to post pictures of myself and I consider myself an introvert now as well. So many life changes have made me who I am and there are things that I am struggling with. Maybe one day I will come out of my shell a bit more- I seem to be crawling deeper and deeper into it these days. Maybe it’s the weather? It is nice to connect with you this way! Keep it up!!:)

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      We’ve come a long way Lesley! We’ve both grown and learned so many difficult lessons in life. Now, we need to focus on ourselves (and maybe our families) and what makes us happy!

  17. Nancy Bergeron
    Nancy BergeronReply
    October 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    :) I could not stop smiling while I read your post. I am so happy for you and I am sad I could not make it to Toronto to meet you. Keep up your writing, I always encouraged you and just know it will lead you where you want to be.

    HUGS xo

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Thank you so much Nancy! Hopefully I will see you another time. And thank you for being in my corner and rooting for me as I take on this writing journey.

  18. Jennifer
    October 16, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Oh Brandy. It was so great that you came to BlissDom Canada. You seem to be blossoming into this butterfly that is stunning and beautiful and has found the path that is leading you to greatness.
    So very happy that you took that step…

    • Brandy
      October 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Oh my goodness Jennifer, You are going to make me blush and cry all at the same time. I am so glad that I got to meet you at Blissdom. It was such a wonderful event and cannot wait for the next one!

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