Gypsy in the ME goes social with her first BloggingMEetup ...

Today was a small step for me, a giant leap for GypsyInTheME.  

''I'', ''me'', aka ''Gypsy the antisocial blogger'',  attended a BloggingMEetup, hosted by the incredible Kirsty Rice and Sarah Derrig at Blogging ME.  If you haven't heard of these two ladies, chances are:

  1. you're missing out because you haven't yet checked out 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle
  2. you're missing out because you haven't yet checked out Lady Sadie's Emporium
  3. you haven't been checking out the New & Newsworthy section on iTunes or you would have seen that Two Fat Expats is rockin' the charts
  4. you're missing out!  Click on those links peeps!

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  You see, I'm not a social butterfly; not in realtime, not virtually.  I am the epitome of the kid playing ''the tree'' in the school play; swaying in the wind in the background, happy to be a witness to the action, but perfectly content to be a part of the backdrop.  


Much like that tree in a play, I like to think I'm a part of the bigger Qatar blogging community, an element that contributes to the star quality that is out there, that brings a bit of colour and movement to the set, but that wouldn't be sorely missed if ever the show had to carry on without it.

I revel in my semi-anonymity; it brings me great comfort to write, and that's really more than I'd ever hoped to achieve from starting up this blog.  As I told one lady I met today, my blog has actually pushed me to delve deep, deep, deep into the good and the bad of living in Qatar as a Western expat female, and it's shown me that if I delve deep enough, I'll always find something good.  If someone finds my blog and they like it, bonus.  If no one ever reads it again but it continues to provide release, good enough.

I'm afraid to be discovered.  Not like I think I'll be ''discovered'' like some hidden miracle writing talent; ''discovered'' as in ''found out'' for the really amateurish, elementary, and ''not-a-clue-what-she's-doing'' blogger I am.  

The reason I went to the meet up was partly to get to meet my fellow Doha bloggers, but mostly to support Kirsty, who I know socially, and Sarah in their incredible initiative to connect Middle East bloggers.

I was terrified to even share the name of my blog when I arrived at the meet up venue this afternoon.  I sat there with the likes of A Girl and Her Passport, and Only in Doha, who write with such relevance and are so connected to what people actually want to read.  There were numerous other ladies who are in the developmental stages of their blogs.  The latter are hard at work developing very professional pages that are tailored to their audiences and have a theme, a niche, a following.  All these talented bloggers have put such care and thought into colour schemes, backgrounds, borders.  They've got logos. Most if not all have very active Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages associated to their blogs.  

And then there's me.  I'm the one who went with Squarespace ... because it was easy and I didn't have to worry too much about the look and feel.  I just had to write and post photos displaying my piss-poor photography skills.  I rarely, if ever, think about whether I'll be pleasing an audience.  If the code for superscript is too much of a headache, I just go with italics.  I don't have a niche because my theme (living, breathing, working, driving in Qatar) is so broad as to include the 2.5 million people living in Qatar, yet boring and overdone enough so as to attract only about 4 of the total population (and that would include Smilin' Vic).

But you know what?  This awesome group of talented ladies made me feel so incredibly welcome in their midst, and as I listened to the lady from Texas tell me about her 80-year-old mom setting up to record a podcast I couldn't help but feel inspired.  

After all those gathered on how great her fashion images were, another blogger talked about the humiliation she sometimes has to put herself through to get the perfect shot or selfie.  

As I listened to them talk about what motivated them to always get better at their craft, I was motivated to try a little harder.

It was so nice to put real-time faces to the blogs.  One of the girls told me she had pictured me in her mind and was happy to finally put a face to the blog.  When I asked her if I was what she'd pictured, she told me she'd imagined someone a bit more relaxed.  Yup, I am THAT awkward in social situations! 

So for her, and for the lady who stands in her front yard taking selfies where the light hits 'just right' so she can get ''the perfect shot'', I took this selfie with Kiddo tonight ... to prove to them and myself that I CAN take a selfie, and I can be relaxed when the mood is right and I'm home alone in my onesie!

Thank you BloggingME, for infusing the social into the gypsy, and for inspiring me to go just a tad beyond my limits :-)