Today I found myself at the Fibrotown Women’s Conference. The location: the auditorium of one of the area’s many Bowling Clubs, complete with requisite swirly-patterned, muck-hiding carpet. The theme: Inspired. The point: well, as I sat there this morning, drinking my instant coffee, I wasn’t entirely sure.
A friend had invited me to along and I’d accepted with gusto. Six hours with grown women, drinking coffee, eating cake? What’s not to love? Then my mum asked me this morning what exactly it was all about. I couldn’t answer.
“It’s a Women’s Conference,” I said, admiring my reflection in my brand-new, shiny black knee-length boots. I mention these because I am so damned pleased with their purchase. It’s rare for me to have a shoe love-in, but these are a dark, dangerous affair. They are, it must be said, a whisker too elongated through the toe. Which is why they were on sale – big sale, huge sale, the kind of sale that makes you feel a million bucks every time you wear them because you know what a bargain they were. The sales assistant in Fibrotown’s one – I repeat, one – shoe store (which is fortunately a good one) told me blithely that they’d marked them down because they were ‘last season’.
I took a good look up and down the main street, festooned as it was by Crocs, thongs and runners, and said ‘I’ll take them’. Last season is the height of fashion round these parts.
But I digress.
I was dragged back from the examination of my glorious (cheap) new boots when my Mum continued: “Yes, but what will you do?”
I was stumped. “We’ll, er, confer about stuff, I guess,” I said, slinking out the door before she changed her mind about babysitting.
I went with no expectations – the best way to go to anything – and came home with this report. Firstly, we did confer about ‘stuff’. Women’s stuff. We learned that $2 can buy a birthing kit to be sent overseas to help save the one woman who dies every minute in childbirth. We learned that unimaginable tragedy need not kill us, it may make us stronger. We learned that seaweed can become a passion, that origami can capture a heart (hence the crane pic), that inspiration comes in many guises.
As a roomful of women, we did not hold back. We cried. We laughed. One of us even sang – a heartfelt rendition of Happy Birthday to win a prize.
Being a roomful of women, we also queued. For entry, for lunch but, mostly, for loos. I ran into my neighbour, a beautiful young woman who seems to spend her life on a horse. I ran into one of the mums from school. I ran into R, promoting her PASH business. My hairdresser was there. The local paper was there. The elegant women representing Dairy Farming were there.
That was the point. An excuse to get together, to network, to learn. To inspire and to be inspired.I left with a smile. In my new boots. Which I’d like to point out were supremely comfortable over the course of a long day. In the way that only a true bargain can be.