Just a few hours ago, I got back from my first AWP Conference. My heart is really full. Los Angeles is just about as magical as everyone says it is; there's lots of glamorous creatures that look like they skated right out of 1975 but there are also so many palm trees, water fountains, pastel buildings, Virgin Mary murals, taco trucks, outdoor seating, and friendly dopey dogs, and claw foot bathtubs, and dreamy boys, and dreamy girls, and good coffee, and dance parties, and strung up Christmas lights even now, and well drinks that cost 10 dollars. I stayed in Koreatown and really could have stayed forever. I liked it there so much. I met so many fascinating people. Saw some killer readings. Bought some electric books. Ate ramen.
Anyway, it really is perfect that I was in the midst of AWP at the beginning of this month of courage, because going to the conference was something I was so, so scared to do but I did it anyway.
Even though I was scared, I:
- navigated LAX alone
- figured out how to Uber
- talked to tons of people
- navigated LA solo
- got to know people I liked better
- stayed in a hostel for the first time in years
- got bitten by a spider or two in said hostel
- said hi to literary presses I really admired
I am super exhausted but equally thankful that I got to go and do this thing. Maybe it's the anxiety or depression or just being a young person but I think it's really easy to fall into impostor syndrome when it comes actually going out and participating in something you had only been daydreaming about. It's so easy to stay small in that space and second guess yourself: "Is there a place for me here? Do I belong here?" But there's real ammo behind going for it anyway, even though you're scared, and letting yourself exist and do your best in a space wherein you'd like to do some growing. I'm so glad I went. I am so tired but so energized. I feel like a clear blue pool filled with like, I don't know, Capri Sun.
So that's that. My dad picked me up at the airport and we went to Waffle House. Hello, Illinois. I got home and he had hung up my porch swing. I feel good. Lucid! I feel powerful!
I am too tired to thoughtfully edit this and make it really shine. That's okay. I'm trying to let go of perfection. As my friend Tiana and I discussed over a boiling pot of miso yesterday (how glam of us btw) "done is better than perfect." It's true. So I'm going to publish this post and let it ring and be be a little all over the place because I am a little all over the place. I am a girl with a full heart and a full suitcase and a few spider bites.
Just know that, since I haven't really edited this post, you can play a drinking game by rereading it and taking a shot anytime I've written "so" or "really."
Whatever. I'm sleepy and I'm happy.