The story of this blousey wrap began when I hit publish on this previous blog. I wrote the blog very late at night. Per the usual. But after I hit publish I also posted in the Facebook group that was created for the attendees of the United conference. The very moment that I posted it I wanted to gather it back up and tuck it back into my pocket. Yes, I could have deleted the post, but what would have been the point in that? Wasn’t the point of the post to push myself beyond my comfort zone to begin with? So… instead… I stared at it. I watched it waiting for someone to click like. Pleeeeaaaase. Someone. Click like!!! But something even better happened. My future-friend Heather commented on the post. I immediately drew in a deep breath and sighed the biggest sigh of relief. The post would continue to gather comments from several other friends that I had yet to meet… all saying that they too were anxious about the conference, and feared being banished into wallflower loneliness. But it was Heather’s name that stuck in my head. She was the first. She was the person who gathered up the ball of anxiety in my chest and smashed it with her keystrokes.
Fast forward several days. It was the last day of the conference. A conference filled with nothing but amazing people helping one another become better photographers, better business owners, and even more… better people. It was the closing speech, and it wasn’t lost on me that I had yet to bump into my Heather. I stepped out of my comfort zone one more time and asked if I could sit at a table with two girls I had never met. Instantly conversations began, and the small talk came easily. These girls were overflowing with warmth and had a sense of welcome that is hard to describe. When we were supposed to be attending to the presentation at hand we realized that we had never exchanged names. We whispered across the table… “Oh, I’m Jodi, by the way.” Her head tilted. And she asked, “What’s your last name?” I said it, and then spelled it… because I have one of those last names. And then she said, “Hey, I’m Heather. I commented on your blog post.”
Immediately, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. Tears welled up in my eyes, but I hid them. I collected myself, and we continued to have small moments of conversation while we were supposed to be listening. During one of those small conversations, I commented on Heather’s beautiful blousey wrap, and she mentioned the store where she purchased it. She took it off, and sent it across the table for me to try on. I loved it. I loved her.
At the closing of the conference… a mind blowing, emotionally overwhelming, and life changing conference… I got up from my chair knowing that I should be heading out the door because Fraser was ready to get on the road. But instead, I went to hug Heather. As I hugged her, the tears poured out of me. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I also couldn’t make it stop. I tried to collect myself. I tried to explain to her how much her comment meant to me, but the words wouldn’t come. So, there I was… the crazy girl, crying as she hugged a complete stranger. But Heather never once made me feel anything but acceptance and understanding. We weren’t strangers anymore.
And yesterday, just a week after the United conference concluded, a package showed up on my doorstep.
This is Heather. Gorgeous from head to toe, but yet her looks are the last thing you notice because you are simply overtaken by her smile, warmth, and positive energy. When I say that I don’t have the words to say thank you enough, I mean it. So, thank you… and please know that what I really want to say is thank you times a bajillion. I am honored to now call you a friend. (I took this photo off of Heather’s Facebook account. I didn’t take the photo. She credited Genevieve Pierson for the photo, so I will do the same.)