A little over three years ago I started this blog. In the beginning my corner of the Internet was a quiet place. I wouldn't say it was lonely, but little more than four people read my blog. One of them was my mother. But I kept chugging along, writing my heart out, telling truths about my life and motherhood. It wasn't until I googled "cake pops", that I found "life style blogs", I had no idea they existed. I found a favorite and followed it religiously, and wouldn't you know it I found other blogs. I started participating in link ups and ad swaps. When this little bloggy that could hit it's first birthday I had made some friends. Internet friends. Blog friends. Friends that I connected with online and via email. And everyone in my real life thought that was so weird.
I would have never guessed that those "Internet" friends would one day become real life friends. Friends that I would email, text, and call. Friends that I would one day hug, hold their babies, meet their husbands. Friends, that would understand a part of me that many never would. Why is this spot of the Internet so important to me? Why would I cry buckets over losing the HTML for a guest post? What is the big deal that my original Instagram account was deleted? Why would I cry over such things? Laugh if you will, but my blog friends understood.
Every year I come home from Elevate with a renewed spirit. I'm exactly what the conference promotes, Elevated. I get inspired, not just by the speakers, but by the women who participate. The women who move mountains, farm out child care, save every single penny that they have to their name to make their trek to beautiful Southern California. Those are the women who fill up my cup, with their talk of endless nights mothering, writing, working, making. They craft, they worship, they lead, they inspire. They are the reason I will return to Elevate again and again. I will move my own mountains, bring my children with me, and scrape up every single penny. Because these women are my people. They are my tribe.
These are the women who start small business that turn into big businesses. They are women who write down the ugly, who promote their platforms with integrity, who love life even among the chaos of everyday. These are the women, who like me, worry that they are doing it wrong, and work tirelessly to make sure there is food on the table and roofs over all the heads. The women of my tribe understand that sometimes our dreams get put on the back burner, that our goals sometimes feel so out of reach, that some days are just a wash. But they are also the same women who will not give up, they will not let go, they will do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true. They will one day call me, text me, or email me to say, "I did it", and I will finally say, "I always knew you would".
Without my tribe the blogging world would never feel as safe as it does. It would be a boring and lonely place. Without my tribe I wouldn't push myself to the limit, I wouldn't expose so much of me, I most likely would have quit a long time ago. Because contrary to what people think, blogging life is not easy, it's not glamorous, it's not a get rich quick scheme. Blogging is a bear. It will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. So we gather together, online or in real life, and commit to not letting this blogging life get the best of us and our spirits.
Elevate 2015 was a beautiful experience. I met a new group of blogger and makers. I met small business owners and big business owners. I met women who are changing the face of women owned media and women owned businesses. Their stories were inspiring, but it is there life that makes them real life leaders. The grass always appears greener, but great successes take hard work and sometimes great hardships. Nothing is perfect, even if your Instagram account says otherwise. Elevate is always a place that the tribe can gather and be themselves. A place to be honest and open about what really matters in our lives. Every year I'm blown away by the experiences that got us all in that one room in New Port with that beautiful view.
This was Elevate's fourth year, and my third. The women who coordinate Elevate are beautiful inside and out. They work tirelessly for a year to make the day fantastic. They pick the right mix of speakers and vendors to put our hearts in the right place. Summer and Jen lead this tribe every year and inspire us to be our best selves. I can't thank them enough, because they want every single attendee to succeed. They want every single participant at Elevate to dream bigger, work harder, and be their best self.
There are so many conferences that I could attend every year, and every year I debate if I want to save my pennies for another experience. I think about me, and how I could self promote, take those classes and sessions on how to grow my blog, increase my content, maybe even publish a book. But then I remember how I feel when I leave Elevate. Elevate is so much more than a place to be educated about content and followers and self promotion. Elevate is a place where you find a better sense of self, not just as a blogger but also as a human. Sure I could learn a million ways to self promote, but would I walk away feeling like a a better person? Would I be as inspired to do better? Would I feel like my vision was more in line, that I had a handle on my dreams, that I would push my self to take the leap faith needed to accomplish said dreams? Probably not, because Elevate is still a small enough conference that you really could hug every person in the room. And I love that.
There is something special in the connections that you make with people you see on your screen. You see them everyday, you see their family vacations, you know when they are sick, you know when they are hurting. You share your successes, new homes, new jobs, new babies, new hair cuts, and come fall their Starbucks red cups. You get to hug those people who inspire you and who you have helped inspire. You get to hug those women who needed it that day in September when they hated their season in life, when they had to do the hard things, when they wanted just a little bit more out of that day. You get to embrace them for who they are, and they embrace you back with the same intensity. Because they are your tribe.
I am so incredibly lucky to call these women my friends, my tribe. This year I had a quick dinner with Renee and Kristine on Friday night, my girls joined us. It was heaven, and we decided that we could do this every Friday night for the rest of our lives. Without Nay and Kristine I wouldn't have made it this long. I would have quit blogging a long time ago. It's their support, sometimes daily, that keeps me going. It keeps me inspired and motivated. It makes my scary posts less scary, and it allows me to be comfortable when I ugly write out my heart. Their hugs validate that sharing my life in this space is exactly the right thing for me. Even when I give too much information and make my Husband blush. These women, my tribe, they have my back.
Every year, when I come home from Elevate, I know I'm doing exactly what I supposed to be doing. Elevate confirms that I'm exactly where I should be, with my tribe.