I have had tickets for the Women of Faith conference here in Vegas for nearly six months. It's one of my very favorite weekends and I have attended probably 10 of the conferences in various cities in the past 12-13 years or so. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Denver and now Las Vegas. It's really a highlight for me and something I look forward to for months. I usually go with a big group of friends, and have led the group several times (with varying success...).
This year, I was going with a group, then I wasn't going at all. Then I was going with a friend. Then she was suddenly not able to go, so I was searching for a friend to go with me. Then the extra ticket was given to someone else, then I decided not to go. Then I got the ticket back and I still wasn't going to go. Then I finally decided that I WAS GOING, DARNIT, even if I had to go by myself.
I went by myself. (I did get a friend to go on Friday night, but she wasn't able to attend on Saturday, so on Friday, I was not alone...)
On Saturday, I had four seats around me that were unoccupied the whole weekend. Why four? I don't know, but it's true. So, it was me,two chairs to my left, two chairs to my right and 5,000 of my closest friends all enjoying the conference.
When I first realized that on Saturday, I was going to be alone in a giant group of girlfriends, I felt a little sorry for myself. (That's why I decided TWICE that I wasn't going.) Then I decided to make the best of it. So, I chucked myself under the chin and said:
"Self? Look on the bright side. If you want to go shopping instead of listen to a speaker, you CAN. If you want to eat both box lunches because you have two tickets, you CAN. If you want to dance in your five empty-seat suite, you CAN. Read the book you are enjoying during lunch. Don't worry what others are thinking...realize that they are NOT looking at you!!"
So, I took myself and we went to the conference together. Me and my self. And we had fun. We talked to other women around us, we ate both rice krispie treats in the lunch (we both love rice krispie treats) and we had TWO bottles of water instead of just one. We ate ridiculously-expensive chocolate-covered almonds, and we (shhhh) didn't share. We read the book that we are both loving, we danced and sang outloud with Natalie Grant and Mandisa. And we didn't care if we were embarassing, because we were not embarassed.
It was kind of hard, and during the hour-long lunchbreak when I watched everyone chatting and laughing with their girlfriends, I will admit to feeling a teensy eensy bit sorry for myself. But, when all was said and done, it was as good a conference as I've gone to. And I have learned just a little bit better how to be comfortable in my own skin.
I'm already planning next year, and I am going to organize a group of fun Christian women to go with me, but this year's conference was a good one, and I think it was good for me to just sit and listen to the speakers and not feel the need to comment or worry if the person next to me is enjoying the conference (or eating my chocolate-covered almonds...).