I don’t really know where to start with this post.It’s one that’s been formulating over the last two weeks, actually that’s a lie it’s been a lot, lot longer than that.Once I got my BritMums Live! 2013 ticket, the panic attacks and anxiety became a regular occurrence, something that hasn’t happened since the night the ex went A.W.O.L for 18 hours nearly 3 years ago.
Since then I haven’t made many new friends and the new relationship with man friend last Summer that kind of stopped before it started (nothing to do with me) has left me a bit bitter I guess.I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact everyone only thinks about themselves and no matter how much you do you for someone they will shit on you from a great height.
So not wanting to tarnish everyone the same brush, I have become friends with a few people on line.Something that has always been a bit of an odd concept to try and explain but I realise that I am not alone in this way of making friends.Even my mum has made met and stayed with friends she met online and my brother married someone who he met online.
I have read lots of blog posts in the 4 1/2 years that I’ve been writing my blog, where there have been so many moving posts relating to their own personal crisis, whether it’s dealing with death, depression, over- eating etc and I have always admired their honesty and the need to reach out and say, “Help!”. It’s just something that I haven’t done since the 3 years (almost) that my marriage broke down due to my ex husband’s compulsive gambling and drinking.I guess I didn’t want the sympathy as it was my husband who needed help, help I couldn’t give and I felt at the time even though he had let myself, our children and our families down, it was me who could of stopped it in some way.There is only so much help and support you give someone and if they’re not willing to change or get help themselves, you still feel you’ve let them down.
In the time we’ve been separated, I went through a very dark period of depression and it was only because I realised how it was effecting my 3 children, then 2 and 1/2, 6 and 9 that I pulled myself out.I kept working from home for almost a year after our separation until the recession meant I had to give it up. I felt really out on a limb because here I was, a single mum of 3 kids living in social housing with no job and still with the debt that my husband had left behind.
I don’t go out much, the husband’s living arrangements as a lodger means I only have a few hours on a Saturday to go off and do something for myself.And yes, I still don’t work but I’m not in any position to take myself off for the day in case the kids fall ill at school and they need picking up.
I have in the last few months become even closer to a few other bloggers online, briefly met a few at Blog camps but I’ve never really had the chance to talk to them face to face with out all the social media we all hide behind.My chance came after a very short amount of time to organise myself for a weekend at BritMums Live! 2013.I was absolutely petrified, even though I ‘knew’ lots about those who were going and we had arranged to stick together, I still had this over bearing weight of someone or something would happen to me or my kids if I went.And there were a couple of times I so nearly wanted to make something up and say I’m not coming.
But I did go.The BritMums team and I don’t just mean Jennifer and Susannah but the BritMums butterflies were ever so organised and welcoming.The Facebook group was such a helpful way of introducing themselves to everyone who was going and I realised I wasn’t alone on being nervous.
I really needed to get a grip and just get on with it.
The lovely Caro from Mummy Alarm let me join her, her boyfriend and gorgeous daughter Amy for a road trip to London.Due to the heavy traffic from Bristol and going through London we arrived just 10 minutes before registration.It was odd having people that have lived in my lap top now standing in front of me and talking.I may have even enthusiastically hugged a few people.
Sorry about that.
When I was going around the stands in between sessions on Friday and Saturday I began formulating this post in head.It wasn’t meant to actual be here, just meandering around in my brain whilst I processed the whole, ” Oh my god! hello, it’s so nice to meet you!” from the people who were looking at my boobs to see who I was (I had my hair cut short so I was unrecognisable from my avatar). I couldn’t understand why anyone would say that.Because here I was walking around on my own as Caro wanted to go to a different session than me.There were frequent pauses as I passed people and again the looking of my boobs as their eyes read my name badge.”Oh Aly! hello!” And more hugs and hysterical squeals.I offered chocolates as a kind of ice breaker.And to be honest I know people don’t remember me for my blog just for my social media presence.So if the chocolate entices them over to read now and then, the chocolate bribery worked.
And the hugging and squeals didn’t stop there. I’m still slightly freaked out at Sarah from Grenenglish who came screaming over shouting “Aly Hodge!!!!” with Vanessa from HPMcQ when my Pizza ordered was called out.There was a meal of about 50 of us at Pizza Express.My face my have had the look of “Who the hell are you?” again.I was quite taken a back.After the meal I went from The Hoxton for a drink, too hot in there so we went back to the travel lodge where I was staying with my room mate Jenny from Mummy’s Musings ..We drank some more then heading off to bed about 1, and getting to sleep about 2.A very short sleep followed as we went back to The Hoxton for day two.
The following day I stuck to guns and attended the sessions I wanted to see.A couple were where I was on my own, and I was ok with that.I think the reassurance that even though I was sat on my own, I wasn’t alone.The evening followed and it was time to say goodbye.A few of gathered at All Bar One, and slowly the numbers dwindled and the intake of alcohol built up.We were all feeling emosh from the tribute for Kerry from Multiple Mummy who had died last year.So the tears began to flow from me when everyone said how they proud they were that I got here.
So there we have it.A view of BritMums Live! from someone who attended there first blogging conference and really was shitting themselves.
This has been a personal indulgent post, back to writing about the BritMums live! sessions in a few days time, along with my usual mix of recipes, reviews and beards.