Monday, 26 May 2014

The Butterfly Girl


See that girl over there? By herself? The one in the corner, or sat on a desk, the knee length sock fallen around an ankle, a browning apple core wrapped in her hand? A slightly bewildered look, staring at the ink well? Well that was me once. It might have been you too. The periphery girl. The one looking in, not quite belonging, chosen last - every time - on the netball team. The nervous flutterby flitting between gangs - from the cool girls to the naughty girls, from the trendy girls to the dorky girls - hoping she might stick, to a shoulder, to a kneecap, to real whole person, anywhere than alone with a stick under the play ground tree. The kooky one, the loner, unsure in her skin, suspicious of cliques or envious even, a fear of intimacy, of being found out, the writing on the wall; you're not original, simply a fraud, you are not who it says on the tin.

So we play lets pretend. I hide behind the loud voice, the black sense of humour, for years I carry on. I am not bland, I am not bland, I am not bland. But really I am quite quiet and quite shy, a little off hand some might say. I am not a team player. I love my solitude. If I had to, I might ask you politely to go away. I only wish I'd figured this out years ago, so much energy wasted on pretence, on a figment I am not.

...and one day you walk into a coffee shop, and you recognise faces you haven't met before, but you've seen them on twitter, on facebook, on the front page of their blog. They exist, these people exist, and your heart beats that little bit faster, and your mouth feels that little bit dryer, and it feels like the first day of school all over again, or walking blind into a giant speed-dating session. You sit at a table, make your introductions, saying your hello's, hoping your cyber buddies like you, that you are who is written on the tin, the tin that is now a blog, and you pull out your phone and begin tweeting about how it's your first time, how both nervous and excited you are, how much you are going to learn, all those bloggers you are dying to meet...

...and now you've entered the event, the first hour overwhelming, you're a rabbit caught in head lights, gazing at chests, trying to decipher the names of so many blogs; hey vampires are usually icebreakers, so you strike up conversations about the merits of Twilight and Tru Blood, or maybe Mad Men or Breaking Bad, and then you see them, fluttering around, such a reassuring sight, The BritMums Butterflies, there to assuage the nerves, a warm welcome, to answer your questions, to introduce you to like minded souls, to make your Britmums Live experience rock... and you walk away with a goody bag and your head held high, you met them, so many others, periphery girls, just like you, and you made friendships, enduring ones; this blogging malarky is real, it really is, it's who you are, and you feel like you belong.

I'm delighted to say I'm a Britmums Butterfly at Britmums Live Blogging Conference in June. You'll easily recognise me; the one in spotty trousers and converse trainers, the top half a bit of a mess (see above). And I'm really looking forward to meeting you! If this is your first time at Britmums Live and you're looking for a little dutch courage then come and join the Butterflies and meet lots of other Britmums Live attendees on our official Facebook Group where plenty of meet ups are organised before the event, or tweet us using #britmumsbutterflies. Only four weeks to go! Can't wait to see you there :o).


56 comments:

  1. Lovely writing and such a nice concept the butterflies :)
    Love the illustration too, think it's brilliant!

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    1. Than you very much! The Butterflies really make a difference to conference newbies :o)

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  2. Aww, lovely! I am that girl talking about stuff to cover up nerves etc. See you there x

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    1. Thank you! I talk to cover the nerves too! Very much looking forward to meeting you. X

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  3. What a reassuring, lovely post! You've made me feel so much more relaxed about Britmums - I'll be sure to look out for your spotty trousers and converse! x

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    1. Thank you very much.... glad you feel reassured, and please come over and say hello; it will be lovely to meet you! X

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  4. Gosh I so relate this. I'm one of those girls - the periphery girl - always on the edges, even behind the screen. I wish I was attending Britmums Live, purely for the chance to wrap my arms around you and give you a massive hug - one periphery girl to another. x

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    1. It's such a shame you are not coming, I would have loved to have met you properly.... here's a big hug back periphery girl! X

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  5. I am a bit phobic about butterflies in real life - all that flapping - but have a feeling I'll be very pleased to see you on the day. x

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    1. And very much looking forward to meeting you too! X

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  6. Aaah I wish I was going! I'll be at the wedding of our friends Tim & Steve, which I'm sure will be a similarly wonderful celebration of people who have, at some time or another, felt like outsiders. It would've been great to meet you. Lovely post here, as always.

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    1. Such a shame you aren't coming this year but I'll bet the wedding will be wonderful, I love weddings! Thank you very much :o).

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  7. This is a wonderful post and you will make a wonderful Butterfly - being friendly and kind and straight forward and lots of other things you haven't said about yourself. Privileged to have you on the team :) XXX

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    1. I'm flapping my wings in anticipation :o).... and thank you, you are too kind lovely lady :o). X

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  8. oh I was getting a bit anxious towards the end, until the butterflies arrived! Such a wonderful idea - know I'd be a bag of nerves. One day maybe. Lovely picture, and I do recognise the girl at the beginning. The periphery girl, looking in. So perfectly put x

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    1. The Butterflies are great... it's just nice to have that reassurance at big events like these when you can feel like a small fish in a big pond. I hope you do come one year, I guarantee you'll have a great time! X

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  9. This will be my third BritMums Live and I have found it to be far less stressful than I anticipated. Anyone new will find like-minded people here, popping out from behind their screens to say hello.
    Looking forward to meeting you :-)

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    1. Me too! It's my third time! And I have always ended up having a great time; you always end up meeting like-minded people. Looking forward to meeting you too :o).

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  10. Yay! See you there! I am lucky in that I went to my first one with my best mate from home in tow- she is who got me blogging - and having that friendly face made me so much less nervous! Really looking forward to this years xx

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    1. Really looking forward to seeing you again, and I'm very much looking forward to it too. I think the best thing to do is arrange a meet up with bloggy friends beforehand and go in together. X

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  11. And this is why I love you. And why I love the concept of the butterflies. Such a simple yet brilliant idea. I am really shy at things like this and I think the Butterflies make all the difference for people in situations like this.

    i can't wait to come and find you and give you a hug

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    1. Thank you :o). I think the Butterflies are a great idea and very proud to be one this year. I remember my first year at Britmums and they really made me feel welcome. Yes! Come and give me a big hug!

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  12. Oh I so wish I could be there this year *sobs*. Brilliant post and sorry I won't get to meet you x

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    1. Such a shame you aren't coming this year, it would've been lovely to meet you too! X

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  13. What a beautifully written post. I haven't been to Britmums yet - despite blogging for more than 3 years. It's just too scary and I'm the kind of person who desperately wants to fit in. What if I travel all the way down to London and nobody likes me? I may find the courage one day - and I hope there'll be someone like you there to hold my hand!

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    1. Thank you very much! You must come if you can one year, it really is a great event and a fab social. That was how I felt when I went for the first time; would anyone like me? I was so nervous. But it turned out to be fab, and the Butterflies made me feel so welcome!

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  14. I will see you there! I remember hanging around the Butterfly table a LOT last year. xx

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    1. Whoop! Whoop! It's a good place to hang out and meet people - look forward to seeing you! X

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  15. Ooh but what do you look like?? I will be there and will come say hello!' Should I look for blue trainers? :)

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    1. Yes, I do look like that. Hooray! You are coming this year - really looking forward to meeting you. They'll probably be grey trainers! :o)

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  16. Even though I went last year and loved it, I am getting really nervous again now. I was a periphery girl too; what a wonderful expression. I will look out for you.

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    1. I will look out for you too, and you'll certainly know where to find me. Even though this is my third year, I know that I'm going to feel nervous all over again.

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  17. I am the girl that pretends to be confident!
    I can't wait to meet you at Britmums!

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    1. It's so easy to do isn't it. Looking forward to meeting you too!

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  18. Ohhh, I hear you, lovely. I too am that girl on the periphery - torn between wanting to join in and enjoying my solitude. Perhaps it is spending so much time inside your own head that has turned you into such a beautiful writer - plenty of hours to think about words and how they fit together. I think being a Butterfly is a brave thing to do, and I know you will make all those lovely new bloggers feel very welcome indeed xxx

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    1. I spent an awful lot of time inside my head as a child fantasising about all sorts and making up books even though I wasn't able to write yet; they were all scrawl and pictures. Thank you very much, and even though I'm a Butterfly, I'll still be nervous. X

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  19. Lovely post - can't wait to see you there! x

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    1. Thank you! Can't wait to see you too! X

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  20. I found Britmums a bit scary too - but the butterflies really helped - just knowing there was someone there to help if you couldn't find anyone.

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    1. I remember my first time, it was so overwhelming, and like you, it was good to know there were friendly faces if it all got too much.

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  21. Yay! I'll be making my way straight to you for hi 5's and sneaky hugs - not long to go now :)

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    1. Brillo! I'll still be feeling nervous though so lots of sneaky hugs all round please :o).

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  22. Oh gosh you could have been describing me as an awkward gangly teenager (and 30 something)! It's lovely you'll be a butterfly - this will be my second time, but I will still need to see some of those wings as I'm so nervous xx

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    1. Well I really I hope to meet you, and you'll know where to find me :o). This will be my third time, and I'll still feel nervous! X

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  23. Do you think everyone was secretly like that at school - that no one was really truly confident then? I'm looking forward to meeting you in person at Britmums so I shall definitely make a beeline for you :)

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    1. I think you are right, I think most at school were putting on a bit of a front :o). And very much looking forward to meeting you too :o).

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  24. Perfectly written as always lovely. I might just see you there x

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    1. Thank you very much. It would be lovely to see you too! X

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  25. Always enjoy your writing so much. :)
    Between your spotty trousers and my leopard print, we are bound to find each other... Cannot wait. :) xx

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    1. Thank you very much :o)..... we are going to clash; ha ha ha ha! :o) X.

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  26. I love this. I can identify with periphery girl - and I love your honesty. I've always found you warm and welcoming and I know those qualities will make you a super butterfly. I love the picture too! x

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    1. Thank you lovely :o). I hope I'm not too nervous on the day. I reckon that picture is quite an accurate likeness! X

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  27. Beautifully written and love the picture! Maybe one year I shall pluck up the courage to go xx

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    1. Thank you lovely! Please come one year, you would love it, and get to meet lots of like-minded people. X

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