A Beautiful Lesson Courtesy of Birchbox

When I was at the daily grind, most mid-afternoon events like this were out of my wheelhouse. Now that I have time I can allot for things like this, I'm pretty excited to give them a shot.

Full disclosure: I am a subscriber to the $10 per month Birchbox (as well as the IPSY Glam Bag) and have profiled the company in my professional writing life. So, when a pretty little invite showed up in my inbox the other day inviting me to come celebrate ARROW, their newest "athleisure inspired" line, I figured I'd jump on in.

The event was hosted at MNDFL, a captivating space on 8th Street in the heart of NYU-land. MNDFL touts itself as "The Space to Breathe." From the moment I walked in, I was greeted by super friendly women dressed head-to-toe in athleisure gear (which, incidentally, everyone got in their gift bag--what?!?) We enjoyed a meditation session followed by a Q&A session and snacks with Chef Chloe and received amazing products. If this sounds like your dream setting, it is. Believe me. It is.

But here is what I learned. I'm this independent reporter who's still a TOTAL scaredy cat! OOF! I had a sleeve FULL of business cards that went out and returned home with me.

FAIL. Hashtag FAIL.

I really need to stop being a wallflower and network HARDER. I had an amazing chat with a couple of the women at the event and then--wait for it!--I got shy and found myself on (UGH!) my phone. MY PHONE! I was in a beautiful space surrounded by potential contacts that all shared the same goal as me: get that gift bag (I kid!) and the insulation of email, Twitter and FB won out.

As I stood in the corner, and cheery chatter enveloped me, I decided to forgive myself for this weak moment, but then I asked myself: Grace, what are you afraid of here?

Sure, there were younger, taller, skinnier women than me (I'm over 35 and a mommy who's 5'4 on a good day) but my lipstick was just as fresh as theirs. My outfit was just as clean as theirs. My intentions were just as lovely as theirs. So, is a room full of young, beautiful bright women really all that scary? Even if they're strangers?

Grace, what are you afraid of here?

And here's my deal: I've always been an outsider of sorts. A weirdo. And, painfully shy in certain situations. Despite wonderful friends, a loving family, a little success here and there--I was in a room full of beautiful people and because I didn't know anyone, I was horribly afraid of coming off as the awkward, weird, cryptic outsider. So, I stared at my phone rather than saddle up to people and dive in. And, I regret that. Yeah, for sure.

The irony is that I was an outsider at that moment--but it was my own fault.

Notes for next time-put the phone far far far away, let the armor down and work. that. room.

Ok Universe, point taken. But, I'm still keeping my swag. ALL. OF. IT!