Micah Dailey: 00:00 Hello again. PressForward podcast listeners. Micah Dailey here from WPMU Dev and welcome to the final week of PressPause, a collaborative mini series by Big Orange Heart and WPMU Dev designed to encourage listeners to slow down, breathe and remember that WordPress is more than just a great piece of software or lines of code. It’s made up of real people and a community that’s enriched by it’s ability to celebrate diversity and practice inclusion. One of the ways this culture is displayed is that WordPress focused gatherings like WordCamps and local meetups. It’s at these events in thousands of tiny moments that individuals like you and me experience and rehearse this culture and those tiny moments are the focus of this mini series on each episode. Nathan Wrigley and I call on WordCamp goers from around the globe to hear stories from the camps they attended. It could be a special conversation, a session that stuck with them or particular interaction that had a lasting impact. Sometimes the best motivation is stopping to hear the experiences of those around us and hey, maybe these episodes will inspire some of you to get out there and make some WordCamp memories of your own. So here we go. Let’s jump in to episode number 11.
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Micah Dailey: 02:19 Sadly, this is my last PressPause episode. Well, at least for now, but don’t worry because Nathan has episodes for you all the way up until the end of this week at WordCamp Europe. For my last Hurrah. I thought it would be cool to bring out in my friend and coworker, Felicia. Felicia is one of the blog writers here at WPMU Dev she lives one state away from me in California. And earlier this year her and her husband made the approximately six hour trip to Arizona for WordCamp Phoenix 2019 and that’s where I got to meet her for the very first time. What’s your introduction to WordCamps? Why did you feel the need to try them out?
Felicia: 03:01 So really, uh, cause I don’t like being around a lot of people and especially people I don’t know. It kind of, and I don’t know, it makes me like antsy. So the only reason I wanted to go and that I ended up going is because all of you, we’re going to be there. I wanted to meet you all. So that was the reason. I mean it wasn’t around the corner. It was, it was a long drive and a long time back. But I was like, oh this might be my only chance so I’m going to go. That’s awesome. I’m glad you did. I’m glad I did. Cause I feel like, like meeting somebody in person, then you just kind of get their vibe and then like now talking to you and like in my mind I see you and like I hear you and you know.
Micah Dailey: 03:44 Yeah. So let’s hear your story. What’s one or two of the things that have really stuck out to you in your word camp? Um, visits.
Felicia: 03:51 So one of my favorite like moments and, Oh my word campus street, just because it kind of changed how I saw everything. Uh, it was at WordCamp Camp Phoenix and like I said, I don’t like being around like, like crowds and like approaching people. I don’t know, it just, it just feels like really awkward and uncomfortable. And so I’ve kind of always avoided those situations just because it’s, I just really don’t like it. Um, but I was like, you know, it’s going to be cool cause I want to be there with all of you. And I remember stepping away just before lunch and then coming back to the table and I don’t know where everybody went, but I was like, oh, looks like to have lunch by myself after all.
Felicia: 04:41 And it was kind of cool with it because I was like, well, I’ve already had a lot of social interactions, so maybe being by myself as kind of a good thing. And I was like at a sponsor table and then this other chick started talking to me and she, her name is Amina and just a way that we were like talking, it was like we were already friends. It was like I had gone to Phoenix to hang out with my friend and we were just catching up. Like the conversation was so natural, so easy and she’s just so open and positive that it was like we were talking and were like, Hey, do you just want to go outside, have lunch? We’re like, yeah, sure. And we went out there, we had lunch together and it was, was one of my favorite moments. It just because like I think that I’ve always, because I’ve always avoided putting myself in those kinds of situations, I forgot that those situations can have good outcomes.
Felicia: 05:36 You know, I was always kind of focusing on the negative aspects. I’m like, oh, I’ll do it myself. I’m month to be awkward and I have to impress you, but I don’t know. And then when, if they give me like a weird face and it’s going to sit there, um, and to have like a totally different experience and to connect with somebody. So naturally it was, it was really cool. Like it made me want to, I really should get out there more. If this is what I’ve been missing out on, then I love more of it.
Micah Dailey: 06:03 Oh, that’s so awesome. It’s, do you think that that played a part in you a couple of months afterward? Camp Phoenix going to WordCamp Orange County?
Felicia: 06:11 Yeah, I did. Cause I mean by then I was like, well, I’m not going to have anybody else. I’m just going to go by myself. But I was like, you know what? If, if I have some experiences like that, that’d be one worth it. So yeah, I went, I mean it wasn’t the same experience, but it was still like, I’d like putting yourself in that like out of your comfort zone I think is always good. I was trying to do that more so it’s still, I still walked away with a good experience.
Micah Dailey: 06:41 There’s so many beautiful things about Felicia’s story. I could write this entire conclusion on how brave it was for her to step out and leave her comfort zone, but it didn’t end there. Amena stepped out and so did hundreds of other people. Oftentimes we get so caught up in what might happen that we never just step out and trust me, I know how hard that is to overcome existing and engaging with others outside of your comfort zone requires a level of bravery and self confidence. We have to hope that others will step out as well. Do you have a sort of pitch that you like if you were to encourage someone to give WordCamps to try, you know what? What would you say?
Felicia: 07:23 I mean, I think, I think I would say that one, I don’t think it’s bad to be by herself. I think that are taught to kind of internalize the acres sitting there by herself and as a middle a loser. And I think that part of it is just be like, hey, you’re not always going to be around people that, you know, and that doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean that that’s something I you, you know? Yeah. So I think that that’s one thing and I think that that ability to just be able to sit by herself, I think that, um, and made just comfortable people approach you because they’re kind of also sometimes in that space. Yeah. Yeah. That’s easier said than done.
Micah Dailey: 08:03 Yeah, for sure. It’s easier said than done, but, but I, I think that there’s something really important to that, which I could, I could definitely learn from like there’s, I often walk away from social settings and be like, oh, did I say something dumb or did I, you know, like, did I screw up? Or, you know, did I offend, offend somebody? Um, but I think that there’s something valuable there to like, not to not burden yourself so heavily with like being perfect.
Felicia: 08:41 Yeah. I think there’s like a meme of like, do you ever just stay awake at night remembering things he did like first grade being awkward. No I totally do that. I’m just like why did, why did I have friends? Why? Why do these people hang out with me? I was such a weirdo.
Felicia: 09:02 I kind of like the weird, I was no I couldn’t get it.
Micah Dailey: 09:10 Exactly. Yeah. And we find the Weirdos everywhere we go.
Felicia: 09:14 I and actually that means the best takeaway from this whole thing is that there are other Weirdos yes. Be your best weird self cause they will find you. Yes.
Micah Dailey: 09:25 Be Your best weird self and you will be fine. That’s a perfect note to end on that. The PressForward podcast is a production of Big Orange Heart the PressPause mini series is a collaborative effort by WPMU Dev and Big Orange Heart Nathan Wrigley and me, Micah Dailey produce this episode and I created the original score. Thank you to my friend in yours, Felicia, for participating in this episode. Thanks Big Orange Heart for having me in their podcast feed these past few weeks as someone who looks into the eyes of depression and anxiety every day, this series and the mission of Big Orange Heart has been a special reminder for me. And lastly, thank all of you for listening. Remember that together we can PressForward.