I arrived early to grab some lunch and secure a parking spot, then made it up to the second floor where author Kate DiCamillo was speaking. I took my token seat in the back row and watched the predominantly older crowd file in while playing Whack-A-Mole with my insecurities.
I shouldn't be here.
I'm not a real writer
I don't belong here.
My inner writer soon started overpowering my inner critic and I pulled out my notebook and pen. This place was a people-watching GOLDMINE!
I was surrounded by men in black turtle neck sweaters and women with knee-high boots, leggings, and matching black shawls or brightly colored scarves. These women wore fascinating jewelry: chunky rings, abstract necklaces, and large, dangling earrings. They sported colorful rimmed glasses with pink, glossy lips and perfectly colored hair--except for the token strand of grey hair in the front. Yeah, real natural.
I quickly realized why I felt like I didn't fit it. I had jeans with a hole in the knee, my running shoes (was heading to the gym directly after), a Rockband t-shirt, and my hair in a pony. Clearly, I didn't get the "Dress artsy" memo. I will consider this a very early lesson learned and will dress accordingly at my next writing event, whenever that may be.
But when I finished people-watching, I had an even bigger realization. Here's the direct quote from my writing journal:
"If I ever have a book release party, I want it to be at The Loft. I want to have the Target Theater for a reading. I want it to be a special event where my mom flies up and my friends sit in the seats, eager to share in my excitement. But first, I write."The $10 entry fee, the self doubt, the hidden seat it the back... it was all worth it for that one moment when I visualized my dream coming true. The reality will likely be much smaller. If the day comes that I have a book release party, I'm pretty sure it won't include a reading in the Target Theater.
That's okay, though. Dreams are free.
How about you? Have you attended an event just to realize you were under dressed? Or do you dress differently for writing events?