Body Paint by Chookooloonks
By Dana Damico on August 15, 2010
I traveled to New York City alone, to a conference where I knew no one. I recognized women I read, whose words and images I admire. But I didn't have a friend's arms to fall into for a familiar, reassuring hug. I didn't have soul mates to meet in the lobby for laughs, secrets, support. No one to steal away with for coffee, a slice or a stroll down Fifth Avenue.
I don't know the difference between Blogger and WordPress. I don't want sponsors. I am not a brand.
My readers are friends, neighbors, and friends of friends with strangers thrown in. I know of only one blogger who reads regularly.
I sat at a table at the community keynote that quickly filled with charming, hilarious, obviously creative people. I looked at a card from one. "Your blog sounds familiar," I said. Women lowered their heads, turned their eyes and stifled laughter. "Oh," I said. "Are you famous?" More repressed chuckles. Silent nods. The blogger laughed with grace and humility.
I didn't know enough to know.
I didn't go to the conference for parties. I really did go for the panels. And the city. And, truth be told, for quiet and relief from the mind-numbing grind of life at home with four young children. I was open to new friendship and sacred connections but I wasn't anxiously seeking either.
And so, when I stood in line to meet a woman I adore, to have her paint my body, the word I felt in my heart and bones and beyond was "different."
Not different "odd" or different "awkward." No judgment. Just "different."
But then a woman with sparkly eyes and a smile that shouts, 'shaZAM!!' asked whether she could take photos as Karen worked. "Hell yes," I thought, though I'm sure I mumbled nervous nonsense.
I made a connection in that moment, with a stranger...
... who became a friend.
I found support.
Still different, just a little less alone.
Special thanks to Amiee of Mamieknits for capturing the moment, but more, for forging a bond.
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