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[personal profile] paperninja69

There is a certain fear and joy with being first. You've got to build it yourself, with your own hands and hope it will be strong enough to stand on it's own merits. On the flip side, there's joy in creating something from scratch without any rules and to be able to look at it, say "I did this."
Atlanta Poly Weekend was an idea the three of us, PB&J, created while sunbathing on a camping trip. We had come back from a discussion on polyamory and learned alot from the moderator just by virtue of sharing our own experiences with each other. One of us wondered how much we could learn from other groups, how much insight could be gained by just meeting others who lived like us. We daydreamed out loud about a weekend spent talking, discussing and just sharing our points of view. B said "Why not?"
After some rough spots, everything fell into place with precision. Our staff was like a cross section of poly culture: our triad, a quad, a poly-friendly single and a husband with a poly wife. However, we quickly became family and would fill in the gaps where needed. If one fell, someone was there to pick them up. We functioned as a team.
Our presenter list was nothing short of amazing, from academics and activists to a police officer and community leaders. They were as excited to be there as we were to have them. The topics they chose were perfect, as if they had read our minds.
It didn't hit me until the Thursday before. I was at work and happened to look out a window, realizing that at that time the next day I would be setting up registration. I practically bounced all day and was almost unbearable I'm sure when B picked me up. Thank heavens for Chinese take-out that evening with the staff and our families grounding me and reminding me that we are here on a mission!
For me, the event started when J and I picked up May May. Here was a presenter made form, no longer an idea but a solid, huggable reality. We got him settled and tried to get some sleep.
The next day we set up the space and prepared for our attendees. Abby Cram was badge number 01, being the first of 113 to come through the door during the weekend. As opening ceremonies were going on, Aims the Programming Goddess had stuck her head in the door and came out glowing. "It's real!" she told me, pride on her face. "We did this!"
That set the tone for my weekend. I saw academics and activists talking together in a corner, saw east and west coasters hanging out and people just enjoying being themselves. Panels were packed, some were being repeated because of the demand. There were times when I would hear Aims in my head: "We did this!"
Sunday morning, sitting with the staff facing those who came in support of an idea only then did I realize how historic this was. We had said over the course of the three years we spent putting it together that no one else had done a conference like this in the south. It took being in that chair and realizing that 30 people had shown up for closing ceremonies for me to understand how vital, how important and how much this had been appreciated by the community. The applause floored me.
Before closing ceremonies, I had picked up 15 pre-registrations for next year and presenters were already talking about next year. I was touched by the faith in us and our abilities because we are doing this again. The staff was saying things like "Next year I know to..." and "Next time, I'll make sure we have..." There was no doubt we will be doing this again.
We did this and we'll be doing this again in 2012.
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August 2011


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