Papow Ponders #9: Lessons Learned From My First Viva

I can’t believe Viva’s been and gone – where did the time go? I’ll be writing a series of posts on everything Viva-related over the coming weeks.

This post reflects on some of the anxieties I experienced before my trip to Vegas, you can read the previous post here.

Lesson 1 – Stop caring about what others think about me
Many of my anxieties are based around approval; I often fear that people hate me or dislike me. During Viva, I only had kind words and friendly smiles thrown my way from so many different people. I spoke to people from all over the world about so many different subjects (not just Viva-related matters). From the pub dance floor to the showroom, I felt such a great deal of warmth and acceptance from everyone around me. In a matter of hours, I stopped panicking and actually relaxed – safe in the knowledge that I was in an open-minded, easy-going space. I felt as comfortable in full pin-up in the evenings as I did bare-faced waiting in an early morning queue. No-one made me feel out of place or uncomfortable at all. Unlike some events, it didn’t feel like a best dressed competition: people wore what they wanted when they wanted. If you wanted to have three different outfits a day with full hair and make-up or t-shirt and jeans, it really didn’t matter. It was just lovely!

Lesson 2 – Talk to people more often
Fear and panic often lead me to become insular and introverted so I don’t have proper conversations with new people. As I felt so relaxed, I was able to natter with lots of people. In lots of cases I forgot to take photos, but it felt so good just to be in the moment – it didn’t really matter. Apart from Viva, I had lots of odd connections with people – from a trainee SEN teacher to a cider supplier to a Reading pub, we just talked about life! These little moments and connections helped me to realise that being sociable isn’t as scary as I normally make it out to be.

Lesson 3 – Take time out from social media
WiFi connections were pretty terrible in Vegas so for the most part I didn’t really check social media. In the morning and before I went to bed, I’d check messages and maybe post something but the rest of the time my phone was switched off. To be honest it was quite liberating. I felt like I could fully immerse myself in the whole Viva experience without focussing on a screen. Yes, I still had my camera round my neck but I didn’t feel the constant need to check it (which I often do with my phone). Instead of wondering and worrying about what everyone else was doing, I was able to focus on my buddies and myself!

Lesson 4 – Be the person you are happy to be
When I first started blogging there was a vintage/pin-up fashion-based focus. As time has gone by, it has developed into a space in which I can talk about a whole range of issues. During Viva Miss Lulu Heart introduced herself to me, telling me that she’d hoped to find me. I felt quite taken aback and then bluntly asked her why she followed me. Fully expecting an answer linked with aesthetics, I instead found out that she enjoyed my point of view on certain issues. This chance encounter made me re-evaluate how I put myself out to the world. While I fundamentally seek approval from others, I also feel so passionate about equality in all forms. Now while my views may make others feel alienated or uncomfortable, I’d rather stay true to my values than pretend to be something I’m not. I am happy being that person and if it causes others to dislike or reject me, then I’m just going to have to deal with it – because I cannot change who I am at heart.

Lesson 5 – Ignore the fear
My pre-Viva anxiety was the worst part of my holiday and that fear is always out to stop me from stepping outside of my comfort zone. I will continue to repeat my Latrice Royale mantra of ‘Good god girl – get a grip!’, whenever I hear that little evil voice talking in my head. If I’d have listened to my fears, I would never have been able to have such an amazing and memorable holiday.

There you have it – a truly positive adventure! I’d like to thank my travel buddies for being the best Viva companions I could have wished for. I’m so grateful for all of the advice I was given, it made for a truly enriching experience!

2 thoughts on “Papow Ponders #9: Lessons Learned From My First Viva

  1. THIS is why I wanted to meet you. I relate to all of this post. It was my first Viva too! I also felt anxiety & uncertainty, and then felt the warmth & acceptance of total strangers from around the globe. Despite some of the so-called technical difficulties of an event so large, despite the beautiful cars & goodies to be purchased, it was really about the people. It was truly a wonderful experience.


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