Woah. I'm finally home for a tiny bit after 2 whirlwind weeks in New York for Full Figured Fashion Week (which was on the heels of Camp Throwback) and then Savannah for FitBloggin.' I am so behind on everything, but am filled with gratitude for these experiences and the people I've been able to build genuine relationships with through blogging.
I still plan on doing another FFFWeek event recap, but I wanted to go ahead and share some thoughts while they were top-of-mind.
This was my fourth FitBloggin' conference (2011 recap, 2012 recap, 2013 recap) and each year I just feel so glad to be able to see these wonderful people that are part of my everyday life, even though they're scattered across the country. This year, I had some concerns about going – not because of the people, but because of the location.
My mom was from Savannah. I was born in Augusta, a couple hours away from Savannah. Summer vacations would be going to see her family there, exploring around river street, and then spending some time at the beach: either Tybee Island or Hilton Head.
Those days feel like so long ago. I don't have any reason to go there anymore now that she's passed, and the last time I was there, I was there to get her out of a nursing home and driving her to Kentucky to put her in one closer to me and my sister. Needless to say, it wasn't a pleasant memory.
When she was sick, we took her to the riverfront and I wheeled her around the cobblestone streets. Heading into one of the candy stores, her wheelchair got stuck and when I pushed hard to move it, I dumped her onto the ground. It was one of the most devastating experiences and I felt horrible: worried I hurt her, and embarrassed at the stares people gave me like I had done it on purpose. She was fine, but that memory has haunted me with a feeling that I just wasn't good enough to take care of her, and that I failed her.
During the long drive, I worried about what I would feel when I saw these familiar places again. I didn't want my usually amazing experience with my blogging friends to be overshadowed with grief. I told myself that I would try to have a good time and re-frame those locations with better memories.
I don't know why, but I kept feeling like I had to tell people about dumping my mom on the ground in front of the candy store. It's almost like I was pre-apologizing for falling apart at any moment during the event. I didn't want people to think I had lost my marbles if I just stopped in the middle of the street and started sobbing. They probably thought I had lost my marbles anyway by talking about it so much, but they didn't let it show.
Back to the cobblestone and the candy store
Thankfully, I didn't fall apart. I got a little sad at points, but it wasn't overwhelming and I think it was good to feel it. I push a lot of things down in hopes they go away, and it always seems to just make the the feelings build up as if I were a bottle of soda water: the more pressure without release, the bigger explosion when it inevitably bursts.
Endorphins lifted the mood. Zumba with my 2 favorite instructors, Sam and Sue! I told my physical therapist that it was my goal to get my ankle strong enough to make it through (I look forward to their class all year), and it handled the class like a champ!
Got VERY close with friends old and new on a hearse for a ghost tour (photo via Carrie D Photography)
Got in an epic selfie by Mission Meltdown
Spent time with people I admire the hell out of, like Brooke
Who knew my first moonshine would be consumed in Georgia instead of Kentucky? (Photo by Alyssa)
Caught in a rainstorm, but holding a kitteh!
With a BFF for life!
Who can be sad when you're getting your feet buried in the sand by this one? (Brandi's daughter)
We were only there a short period of time before heading to lunch and then back to Savannah, but it was perfect.
There were no tears shed in Savannah until the drive out of town. I was thankful to have gone back to this city and experienced it in an entirely different way. It doesn't necessarily replace memories, but gives me more in the bank of life to look back fondly on.
Thanks as always to Roni and her incredible team for a great event. There are so many awesome people I didn't get photos with or have enough time to really sit down and chat with, so I can't wait until we're all together again in Denver next year!