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).