Welp, I’m back from Type-A Con in Atlanta and I have mostly recovered from lack of sleep (although, I’m screwing myself over again by staying up way too late tonight). I had a good time and really enjoyed having quality conversations with friends – especially my lovely roommates, Lizz and Jacqueline.

Anyhow, here are a few of my thoughts from the weekend:

1) I’ve always known that my face hurts (specifically, my jaw) at conferences (or any type of networking thing) due to a lot of smiling and generally trying to look friendly and inviting. This weekend, I finally made a connection. My jaw hurts because I normally do not smile all the time. In fact, I probably don’t smile a lot while I go about my day unless I mean it as an honest reaction.

Why, then, did I feel compelled to be super-smiley all weekend?

I mean, I know why.

Women are constantly told to smile and seem friendly and approachable. In fact, so much so that telling women to smile more is considered a form of street harassment. But you know what? Men aren’t told to smile all the time and when I finally figured what I had been doing this weekend, I told myself to stop.

Yes. I actually had to remind myself to stop smiling while at a conference – even in the midst of meeting and connecting with new people.

It felt weird.

But, hey. Men don’t smile all the time and are still considered friendly and approachable, so fuck societal gender expectations.

I decided to embrace my inner Resting Bitch Face.

2) Even though I am an extrovert, I need alone time. Rather, I need time away from “smiling” and large rooms full of people I don’t know. I want to say that I am pretty good at inserting myself into conversations and joining groups, as well as starting conversations with strangers. However, I still find it draining unless I am having a conversation with people I know a bit better.

I was surprised at how often I retreated into my hotel room, opting for the peace and quiet of my hotel room vs the wheelings and dealings of the conference.

3) I really do not enjoy loud parties.

I mean, I knew I didn’t enjoy the clubbing/bar scene because it’s not conducive to actual conversation, but it’s been so long since I’ve gone to a dance party (except, I suppose, since the last Type-A) that I forgot. Well, since there are so many parties at Type-A, I had ample opportunities to remember.

Give me a good conversation any day!

4) I missed my children.

I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing myself when I am away from the kids, but since I had just gone to a girls’ weekend to San Diego three weeks ago, leaving again so soon for Type-A was much more difficult than I anticipated.

In the future, I will have to remember this and not schedule events too close together.

5) I am ambitious but afraid.

It sounds so cliché but alas, it is so.

These conferences spark so many awesome ideas in my mind, but then I’m terrified of doing anything or pursuing any of them for fear that I will fuck it all up. And I don’t even mean that I will fail (although that does worry me). I am more afraid of committing to or trying something but then having my inner lazy/mediocre person come out and abandon the idea because hey, life happens.

It reminds me of my senior year at UCLA when I got one of the lead roles in a musical. I ended up turning it down because I somehow convinced myself that God wanted me to spend more time ministering to people on my floor. I “heard” it while doing listening prayer. But truthfully? I think what I heard were my fears about being one of the leads and being unable to memorize all my lines.

I do not quite know what to do with this information about myself.

It’s one thing to know and admit this to myself, but another thing to apply it to my life. Does that mean I should try everything that I think about to prove to myself I am no longer afraid? (Or at least, I could be terrified but am pushing through it?)

I really don’t know.

This point could be its own post, but I am tired so I will likely just talk to Dr. T about it and procrastinate posting about it.

Those are the main lessons I learned about myself. As I recapped stuff to Hapa Papa, I also realized that this past year has been one of major self-discovery. I’ll write a post about that, too. But until then, have a great day! (I’m finally off to sleep.)