By Crabby McSlacker
Crabby and the Lobster have at last arrived in Austin where they are spending the winter. Lots to love about Austin, it's a fitnessy town! And a few things to grouse about as well, but more on all that in a future blog post.
So one of the first things Crabby did in Austin, even before unpacking, was attend the Prevention's R3 Women's Health Summit.
(And why is Crabby sudden speaking in the third person? She has no idea. Perhaps it has to do with insomnia, a problem she thought she'd seen the end of. Lately it's back with a vengeance. She hasn't had a good night's sleep in five days and it's fucking with her head). But ok, enough. Crabby shall hereby transform from a "she" to an "I." Ready?
So yeah, I'm a little late and sketchy reporting on the conference. I went in on Friday feeling harried and I had to leave before it finished on Saturday, so I missed some of the speakers. But despite my distracted and slipshod mindset, I actually came away with a lot! (Including two tote bags stuffed with swag and the enjoyment of a ton of free food and beverages. And everyone knows that free food and beverages do not contain calories. It's a rule.)
But aside from the cans of tuna and the pound of coffee and the vaginal moisturizer and the hemp bars and soaps and supplements and toothbrushes, what were some of the take-aways?
1. Enthusiasm is Contagious!
Sure, there was plenty of substantive information about women's health and fitness, but the real value seemed to be the whole inspirational/motivational thing. Not only the speakers, but the women attending seemed very psyched to be there and were energized and friendly and fun to be around.
(Fun and friendliness not shown in this shitty photo, sorry.
I wasn't so good at remembering to take pictures).
Even though I was a little foot-draggy when I went in (due to many consecutive long days in an automobile), I was pretty pumped coming out. It seemed to be a common sentiment, because most of the women I met had a great time, and were either repeat visitors or had heard how fun it was from a friend.
So if there's something you're interested in, and you can afford it: consider going to a conference and hanging out with hundreds of other random people who share those interests. Strangely pleasant experience!
2. Dare to Suck at Things
It seems funny that Joan Lunden would be a role model for flailing and failing, but besides talking about her battle with breast cancer, she told some great tales about her early days in television. The upshot was: when opportunity arises, say yes, even if you aren't all that well qualified or prepared. Don't worry so much about looking like an idiot. Because you might at first! But then you'll get better, and you'll move on to even more interesting opportunities, and eventually you'll be pretty bad-ass at whatever you aspire to and you'll be really glad you weren't too chickenshit to put yourself out there.
Note: That was a paraphrase. Joan Lunden did not actually use the words bad-ass or chickenshit.
Anyway, duh, right? We know this intellectually. And yet Joan gave this advice in such a funny real-life way that it seemed almost fresh. And she reminded us that women tend to be way less comfortable taking risks than men are. We want to be perfectly prepared and 100% confident that people will think we are awesome before we take on a challenge. If not? Meh, whatever, we'll just sit on the sidelines, thanks, and let some guy who's half as qualified step in and take over. God forbid we expose our fragile egos to anything less than a rousing chorus of cheers.
It turned out her timing was good, because right as Joan was talking about this stuff, it was time for me to go to the press room to interview a couple of people for spur of the moment interviews, because I'd been too hesitant and disorganized and didn't sign up for anything in advance. Having no real credentials, nor any clue what I was going to ask them, I felt a little nervous. But I had Joan's inspiring "get out there and suck" encouragement.
Plus... I had a lanyard!
(Such is my life that I get ridiculously excited by going to a conference and wearing a lanyard.)
But anyway, buoyed by her talk I went and burbled half-assed questions to a couple of nice speakers, and found myself very intrigued by the answers, even if I'm not going to write up a whole long story about them. When it comes to conferences, I specialize in the free-loading part. The whole "reporting" thing is not really my forte.
Hmm, weird isn't it, that I don't get invited to more conferences?
3. Be Authentic
So Bob Roth is a renowned teacher of Transcendental Meditation, and is the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, which provides TM training to at-risk kids, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. Cool, right? He also does a lot of other important stuff, including appearing on TV and interviewing people like Jerry Seinfeld and he brings TM to Fortune 500 companies so their executives can periodically chill out of "grrrr, must conquer world now" mode. He's a great speaker; very funny and persuasive and informative.
We already know that meditation has a ton of physical and mental health benefits, but the research on TM in particular was new to me and very impressive. And there was a video showing kids in inner-city schools who were pretty much able to change their lives because meditation had become part of their day. Can't say as much about long division or learning state capitals, right?
But part of what made Bob a great speaker was that he didn't try to be slick; instead he came across as authentic and down to earth and even a little nerdy. (Though this doesn't mean I've renounced my geekcrush on Rick Hanson). In person, Bob was so warm and approachable, I felt like I could be a doof and ask real questions, even if some of them were skeptical and lame and possibly annoying. He was authentic, so I was authentic. He answered my questions in reassuring and informative ways, and I came away from our talk really wanting to try TM.
So after I give TM training a shot (courtesy of the generosity of Bob and the David Lynch Foundation), I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for your generosity, Bob!
4. Do Not Pose for Pictures With Tall Blonde Gorgeous Authors Unless You Don't Mind Looking Like a Hulking Troll Who Wandered in From a Cave Somewhere
Wendy Bazilion is an author, educator and researcher who knows a ton about nutrition. Her latest book is Eat Clean, Stay Lean. Since I was ill-prepared for our interview, I was greatly relieved to discover that she is very sensible and science-based. Her strategies for cleaning up dietary transgressions and eating healthier are effective with all kinds of different diet philosophies. Unlike many diet book authors, she is not at all a looney crackpot or a restrictive diet Nazi.
(Feel free to use that as a cover blurb, Wendy!)
Anyway, she was delightful and very smart and you should probably buy her book. Just don't stand next to her if there is a camera nearby.
So have any of you been to any gatherings or conferences you've enjoyed? Anyone else not sleeping? Experience with TM? Or hell, how's your week going?