January 27, 2012

Alt-ered State of Mind

Alt Summit Uncle Beefy
Okay, kids, if you've been strolling through the blogosphere lately, you're probably tripping up on one post after another extolling the virtues of the recent Alt Summit. This post ain't gonna be any different. And, if you think we all drank the Kool Aid? Well, they didn't actually have that, but they did feed us which certainly helped in the conversion process. But, next year, Kool Aid could be a nice tongue in cheek addition.

So this was the third year in what will likely (hopefully) be a long running conference. It was my first appearance - my debut, as it were. And, kids, your uncle felt a bit like a celebrity. But it's not hard to get noticed when you're one of a handful of men in a sea of hundreds of women and you have all the wallflower capabilities of a circus sideshow performer. Plus, as a former Women's Studies major, let's face it, I can hang with the ladies.

Alt Summit Uncle Beefy
KELLY, YOUR UNCLE, & LISA WITH VICTORIA BEHIND THE CAMERA.


But enough with the hardy-har-hars and wink-winks. I have to say that I almost don't know what to say or where to begin in regard to my own Alt experience. How people have already put together their Alt recap posts is beyond me as my head and my heart are still spinning. If you were there, then you know what I'm talking about most likely. And if you weren't there? Then I hope you can either bear with me or feel a bit of vicarious inspiration.

Now don't worry. I won't go on some kind of a bullet point spree here, kids. Plenty of other bloggers have have discussed the finer points of Alt with plenty of details. And I'll do my best to keep my images edited, although that is a much taller task for me as I love a good visual. So we'll see how that exercise in restraint goes. (Don't hold your breath!)


What I will say about Alt Summit is that it was like a breath of freakin' fresh air! Woosh! Ahhhh! I mean, it was awesome to hear about the ins and outs of other bloggers' experiences, the business side of blogging, branding, etc. All great. (Jasmine Star could have had a gospel choir along with her given the inspirational charge she brought to a room!) But, what resonated the most deeply with me was this feeling of camaraderie. In short, bein' with m'peeps, y'all! That was a long time coming. More than I realized.


Look, I spend a lot of time in the tiniest room of my home perusing inspirational finds at ungodly hours of the morning with the current bulk of my socialization limited to twitter or my pets. When I do find myself out in the world, the mention of being a blogger will more often than not bring about feigned interest and/or a virtual head pat. Sure, what we do may not always be earth-shattering, but those of us who tuck ourselves away in pursuit of finding and sharing things of beauty or inspiration actually work pretty hard at what we do. Not that everyone is obligated to appreciate that fact, but some days the dismissive reaction of others can be pretty dejecting and leave you feeling like you're wasting your time and maybe everyone else's.

And yet we continue to do what we do irregardless. The whys of that fact would likely be different and multi-faceted for each blogger, but it's worth noting that we all share that common, needling pursuit. To bring together en masse a group of individuals who share that mutual appreciation for all things aesthetically pleasing, well designed, and just plain sparkly is bound to create a stirring. But, you can also count on two other things - gorgeous shoes and "kumbaya" moments.


Alt Summit Uncle Beefy
TOP PHOTO: MY ALT POSSE! (L TO R) KATIE, ESTELLE, MOI, JEANNE, BRANDI, KIMBERLY, MELISSA, & MELISSA (SERIOUSLY!). AND I GOTTA GIVE A SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO BEE AND COURTNEY. NOT PICTURED BUT SO PART O' THE POSSE!
BOTTOM PHOTO: (L TO R) CAPREE, KATHLEEN (BEHIND MY GIANT HEAD), DANIELLE, CARINA, & KELLY.


Yeah that's right. Your uncle came away with some seriously soulful connections and my own designer-y version of the "Ya Ya Sisterhood". It wasn't uncommon over more than one bonding session to have an Oprah-worthy tear or two shed. I was ridiculous on one occasion. Uh huh, I'll admit it. (Hey, I cried during "Finding Nemo" and that wasn't half as life affirming as Alt Summit was for me!) But, to be in the company of generous and talented people who understand what you do and why you do it (even if difficult to articulate) can be a profoundly moving experience. And it certainly was for me. If you're a fan of the "Joy Luck Club", then you might sum it up with the line "I see you." (You need to get a tissue? Don't worry, I'll wait.) So to walk away feeling that all of my 4:00AM posting sessions are important on some level was more than I could have asked for.

So now I sit here, post-Alt, feeling refreshed and buoyed by a host of supporters new and old. I'm feeling invigorated and motivated by the moving keynotes that were given by Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, and Gretchen Rubin, writer of "The Happiness Project". I'm also feeling a deepened gratitude for each one of you who comes here to read, peruse, comment, or click on any number of your 'follow' options. I know there are a ton of blogs out there these days so the fact that you would take even a moment of your time to check in here means a great deal to me. It really does. Allowing me to share my thoughts, musings, inspirations, or trivial moments with you brings a joyous quality to my life. And, I thank you for all the days, months, or years that you have allowed me to have that comfort and gratification.


In the end, Alt cracked some things wide open for me. One of those was the decision to put away the top-hatted cartoon that has so long represented "me" and put my face to these pages. I'd like to feel like we're getting to know each other a little better, a bit more authentically. That's a gift that you all granted me a long time ago. Alt just helped me unwrap it.


Yours in gratitude,
Alt Summit Uncle Beefy


SPECIAL THANKS TO CARYL FOR MY PHOTO.




34 comments:

  1. Wow Mon Oncle it sounds amazing. I want to go!

    ML
    mlanesepic.blogspot.com

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  2. Beautifully said, friend! That sounded like a real blast. I love those moments where you meet people and just feel that BOND...whatever "that" might be. Whether it's blogging, food, fashion, your background, whatever...it's a great feeling and definitely keeps me going. I need one of those moments asap! Keep up the good work.

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  3. Your words summed it up perfectly. It's so nice to be with people who get it isn't it? So, so nice to meet you in person and we're hoping for a warm weather meet up soon!

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  4. What a great wrap up post. I love reading everyone's view on Alt, but it makes me even more sad I had to miss this year. I look forward to meeting you next year though. In the mean time, I'll follow along here.

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  5. Great post...makes me wish I had been there even MORE! It's so great to finally SEE you sir!! ;)

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  6. Such a fantastic post, I felt motivated just reading your "after the experience," I can't imagine what it must have been like to actually be there. Really loved it & am so happy to have found you & your blog. xx Tiffany

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  7. oh! it's been so fun over the the past week (via pinterest) actually 'seeing' who uncle beefy really is!! great idea!!!!

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  8. awesomeness!! And of course, I love the photo. I am a bit bias though. LOL. So glad we were able to hang out just a little bit. Next year...more for sure! :) ~Caryl

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  9. Love that smilin' face! You put it perfectly, Beefy. Miss you more than you know:) xo

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  10. Oh....Beef. That is just so incredibly beautifully put. Truly, my friend. You are a good, good egg and I am SO happy to have been there with you. The laughter ( and the tears) were THE best part about it. It is awesome and amazing that it cracked you ( the good egg) wide open. ( I know, I know....gross egg metaphor but, just go with me here) I adore you and LOVE seeing your adorable face in it's rightful spot! Top hat or no top hat! ( you don't need it) :)
    xoxo
    Melis

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  11. It's good to see your face. You have 1 year, ha!

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  12. If I don't meet you next year I will cry! I have been loving all these recaps, they're keeping me going until next year!

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  13. Uncle B! This is great - I loved hearing a bit about your experience. I am jelly of all those ladies that got to hang with you! I LOVE your new photo, and seeing your actual sweet face on this page. I love your blog and just want to say - keep on keepin on! xoxo

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  14. you got my tears going....it is great to see you come out from behind your cartoon character....thanks for all your support and kindness...you are true gentleman..looking forward to next year....

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  15. It was so great to meet you and chat even if only for a moment. You are the real deal and I like that!

    Love the pic, better, much better...just keep putting yourself out there and there will be no limit to where you will go!

    Oh, and as far as the celebrity feeling you had...yeah, it was warranted. You rock!

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  16. I see you!! I knew your recap would be fab, but I did not expect to CRY! Oh- I'm so glad this was so life affirming for you and I'm trying not to be jealous because I was not there. I have rejections issues and my biggest fear is that everyone is at a party without me - so yeah. But your recap just made me really truly happy for you. And I LOVE to see the real you - the cartoon guy is fun - but it's nice to finally SEE YOU! And it's so cool you are friends with Melissa (Loves). She is so sweet and was very kind to me when I started my blog. Love it all. x, Beth

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  17. Wow, what an epic moment, changing out the icon with the real person. I love the symbolism. Beautiful post! ALT was very validating for me as well. I wish we had spent more time together! I loved meeting you for a moment and exchanging cards and I hope to see you online. Next year we will have to have a drink together. xo

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  18. oh i can't believe i missed it again!!
    had my ticket and everything {airline & hotel too}.
    but last minute adoption of a new beast made it impossible to make it. i'm sure i would have been in photo #1 {with my girls melissa, melissa, brandi and new friend estelle}...
    so nice to finally see your mug.
    love,
    katie

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  19. I love this so very much, you are too precious for words, you handsome man!

    I'm so glad you had a nice time.

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  20. I loved this post. It made me cry and miss everyone. But I'm a little overwhelmed right now so I think crying is normal, yes? You were brilliant at this conference, Beefy. I'm so glad we had some good time together.

    I miss your hugs...

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  21. A beautiful post, Uncle B! I was feeling the same things and you've articulated them so perfectly. You were one of the first people I met at Alt and it was fun to see you over the four days "in your element", witnessing people like Erin Loechner tell you how much they liked your blog. So glad Alt helped bring out the real you.

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  22. I am so glad you had such an amazing time and was affirmed of the massive group that get you.
    How nice to finally put a face to the name! Can't wait to see how you continue to grow the Bedlam of Beefy!!

    x

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  23. I am so glad to see your face and that you are getting real here with us!
    Not that you weren't real before ...oh, I think you know what I mean.

    welcome home, honey!

    So
    ari

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  24. Hello, 'real' B! Nice to see your lovely face! Glad you are feeling good about what you do. You deserve to, your blog and the community you have built around it are wonderful. x

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  25. I never feel one moment of reading your material or chatting with you is a waste of time. Not ever. And the thought of you being any kind of wallflower made me snort into my tea.

    You are my very favourite uncle.

    xx

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  26. ahhhh... so cool to see your face!!!! already love it!!!!
    The best Uncle ever!!! big hugs sweetie!!!!
    xxxx

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  27. The best post I've read on ALT this year. FACT. (P.S. Great headshot!)

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  28. Wonderful post! I am a new-ish follower here and so happy to be :) I can relate to so much you say about blogging - and you have sold ALT for me next year. Best Wishes!

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  29. Hello there. Thanks to Holly, comment above me, I read your touching and very apt post on your Alt experience.
    Life is nothing without sharing and being who we are. The real, authentic us! The blogging community can be all embracing and transform us. I've just started on my blogging journey so taking it all in.

    I hope to meet you one day. Am trying to get some male bloggers join our london group. Maybe I will come to next years conference.

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  30. I loved meeting you. Lovely post you're written.

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  31. jsoi from the brick house -- this is a wonderful post that 'splains so much. thank you.

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  32. Holy cow bells, Kids! You've really outdone yourselves this time around! 1) Because SO many of you stopped to leave a comment! and 2) Because you read through the whole thing!

    We all know how wordy your uncle can be (just ask anyone who talked to me at Alt!) so thanks for seeing it through!

    I loved my Alt experience as you likely deduced at this point. And, if you haven't been it's a worthwhile consideration!!! If you ever have any questions about Alt, always feel free to drop me a line at unclebeefy@gmail.com :)

    Thanks again!

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  33. Beautiful post, and awesome wrap-up. And while I still love the top-hatted cartoon, your face is gorgeous, and it's great to see it.

    Meeting you was a highlight of my ALT experience!

    K.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I always appreciate your thoughts. Your comment will appear as soon as I can publish it.

p.s. - Contrary opinions or constructive criticism are also fine but "The Bedlam" doesnt' serve as a platform for random (or anonymous) acts of offensiveness. Rude? Deleted.