When I booked to go to SNAP ’17 I was at a funny place in my life. I felt trapped, I felt lost and I felt like all the creative energy had been zapped out of me. Fast forward 9 months and its the week before SNAP. I was so very close to not coming, I didn’t want to feel inadequate or lonely. I didn’t want to feel like I was on the wrong path in my life and I was so scared of absolutely hating the experience. I had, like most of us, a lot going on in my head and the week before SNAP it felt like my entire world had just started to break apart. I was still grieving for a loss 10 years ago, I was grieving for my family that had broken apart 5 months before, I was feeling like packing in photography, my business was failing, I had no money to even buy a weekly food shop for my 3 children and I was terrified of what sort of future I would/will be having.
24th April 2017. I threw my bags in the boot, hugged my children so tightly in the playground and sobbed pretty much the entire 6 hour drive to Wales. I had not only never left them for so long, I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to spend my birthday with people I had never met before and I didn’t want to show anyone my work for fear of feeling like I was no good. I pulled into Fforest, to the biggest cheer and screams, banners flying and people unloading their cars. As I pulled up I looked to my left and noticed a lady still sitting in her car still too. We both took a breather, my hands were like jelly and I had never felt so nervous in my entire life, we got out, introduced ourselves and that was that. I was doing it, I was jumping in with both feet and bloody doing it. Friend 1 was made and she continued to bring me comfort throughout the week, without even knowing it.
5 days on and I can’t even tell you how much I needed those days. I needed the laughs, the dances, the singing. I needed all the hugs and the tears, I needed to feel anxious, I needed all the small talk. I needed all the arse kicks and motivational quotes. I needed the constant feeling of being wanted and welcome, I needed the high fives and all the walking. I needed that night spent by the fire with two incredibly awesome people (maybe just not the walk of shame into breakfast with a screwed up tutu on), I needed the star gazing, the camp fires and the blanket snuggles. I needed the roomies we got and the late night chats. I needed it all, and I am so proud of myself for fighting all the feelings I felt in the lead up and just biting the bullet.
So what did I take from it? I had absolutely nothing to be afraid of, it has confirmed to me that I am absolutely on the right path and heck to what anyone else thinks. I have learnt that I need to find my inspiration from any angle possible, that I need to have courage and patience. I have learnt that for christ sake, JUST GET CLOSE!! I have learnt that SEO is not terrifying, that there is possibility in every eventuality and that no matter what, just be yourself. Always. I may not have the life in place that I want to lead right now, but wow has SNAP made me realise I can have it all and more if I just get up and do it.
Thank you SNAP, thank you to the speakers, thank you to all the new friends who made my birthday week bloody awesome. Thank you Laura for organising such a trusting and organic community. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t WAIT for SNAP 2018.