Many of us have certain events we like to go to and we look forward to them throughout the year. Southern hospitality is a part of Atlanta GA. So the name “Southern Comfort Conference” or just SCC fits really well.
This was to be the first year that I would be Danielle from the minute I left the house [in Florida] to my return five days later. I was drunk with anticipation. I had been driving quite a while when I needed fuel for my car -- and a nature break. There was a light rain so I pulled into a gas station/restaurant. It seemed like a place the frequentd. With the ground wet and puddles of water by my door I minced my steps to navigate the wet weather.
One should realize I while I had visions in my head, in reality I wasn’t sure what I was going to get myself into. A nice gentleman opened the door for me as I approached, with a pleassent “Good afternoon Maam, try not to get those pretty little feet wet.” I felt a bit more encouraged as I thanked him!
The lady behind the counter also greeted me with “Good afternoon Maam,” and pointed me towards the ladies room. When I was leaving -- yes you guessed it -- I got another "Have a nice day Maam."
Sometimes those preconceived momments of fear, though one should always be on guard and ready when they are: I was pleassed this was not one of those times. I received simple and respectful; that is something so hard to find these days. That was a good start after some heavy rain and white knuckle driving.
It was raining moderately as i arrrived at the hotel, where i promptly gave the valet my key and went in to register. When I returned, to my horror, he had inadvertantly hit the Vent mode, whiich opens not only the sunroof, but all the windows. my car was getting soaked with rain while he fumbled looking to undo what he did. Another valet wass a calmer head came to my rescue. It was only water after all, and I had a transgender week to look forward to.
Well I get to “my room” and the electronic key doesn’t work! The bellhop runs back to the desk and gets another key. Ten minutes later while I am waiting in the hallway he finally returns, gets the door open, only to find someone else’s stuff everywhere. I quickly exit and we head back to the desk.
The desk person made a simple dyslexic mistake. I am hoping that that is the end of this nonsense of errors. All I want to do now is freshen up and have a really stiff drink! I got my wish and all is better and I take the load off my feet. Fortunately the rest of the evening is meeting friends at the bar and attending the stuffing party for newcomers to receive on their first day.
Princess Day! This is the first real pre-conference event for first time attendees where anyone can go with the opportunity to have nails done, makeup and lunch in a controlled setting. I help wherever I am needed, at the welcome desk, offering assistance and being a hostess. The local mall and beauty salons all welcome those who might not otherwise attempt such a thing on their own.
Princess Day is a success. Joining with some 30 or more girls for lunch at Olive Garden, there is a buzz of discussions about the day. It makes me happy for the coordinator Randi that all her efforts pulled together for a great day.
The girls now have the beauty and confidence to proceed into the conference formal schedule on Thursday.
SCC is one of the largest Transgender social, educational and entertainment conferences in the world. There are so many educational seminars that it is a bit difficult to choose one over another. I chose to Proctor (introduce) a few speakers that I thought might be fun. I was not disappointed; I learned so much I was surprised because these were simple things that I thought I knew. My schedule was not hectic; I planned it to be open at times so that I could socialize, sit at the new comer’s registration desk and of course have time for shopping at the beautiful Perimeter Mall; there is also a vendor area at the coonference. I met some wonderful ladies there selling beautiful Beijo handbags. And they were so sweet; I hadn't brought any sort of bag that would match my red Satin gown or my Ballroom gown for Sunday. They offered to loan me a handbag for my photo shoot on Saturday, which touched me so that I bought it outright and hugged them for their offer.
The ballroom for lunch on Thursday is very beautiful. I met new friends and listened to opening speakers and enjoyed the food.
What I have noticed in the past and also this year that from the opening mements of the Conference on Thursday afternoon, the event gains momentum and the pace quickens. Thursday dinner is wonderful and after words the atmosphere is about going out to shows, wine tasting, even a rocky horror picture show. I freshen up and change into evening wear and socialize with friends, some from Florida. I decided to get my beauty rest before midnight in preparation for the next day.
Friday is busy with people running around following schedules. I had to attend the fun and beautiful Denae Doyle seminar on “Feminine movement & Gestures”. She makes it fun and really gets you going and makes you laugh. Lunch comes fast and soon after, Dinner. People are changing cloths for all different events, daywear, and dinner and of course my favorite -- part dancing!
I had a photo session in the afternoon and stopped by the ladies with the handbags to show them how the purse was perfect with the dress. They were smiles from ear to ear seeing me so happy. This year was a night at Gilly’s bull riding, and the return of Christy the DJ spinning great dance music! Lots of picture taking and socializing into the night; the outfits are beautiful and everyone is having a good time, nearing the peak of the event.
Saturday morning is funny. The saying “if you are out with the owls all night you will not soar with the eagles in the morning.” I think that covered half the hotel. In the late morning there is a return to normalcy with a lot of wearied faces and yawning. It is Saturday, THE big day. A pool party, final seminars and a lot of primping are in order. In my case it is doing my own makeup, and laying out my gown for the evening and trying on different jewelry all with a mindful eye on the time. Three changes of cloths today; morning fun and lunch, formal gown for photos and dinner and Dance dress afterwards.
After lunch I visited the ladies with the fabulous handbags. This time I am with my formal gown. I needed a small clutch for the evening and for the photo shoot. We had discussed it the day before when I showed them a preview of my formal gown and what would be the best color for what they had. I had a cute little clutch bag in mind that they showed me and I was hoping they still had it.
When I walked up to them they were noticeably happy and hugged me. I was driven to tears because the girls gave me the purse to match my outfit! Unbelievable! Now I’m really crying because my makeup is running and I am scheduled for a photo session within the hour. The moment was more important, and meant the world to me!
The photo session was wonderful, Scott my photographer is awesome. We click together I understand what works for me and make use of the beautiful garden. I would suggest a setting and he would make it happen. After the photo session it is time for cocktails and dinner! The pre-dinner cocktail party is amazing. My friend Michelle was over the top with her Ann Grogan (Romantasy.com) corset outfit in powder blue. Everyone is at their best. You want to meet everyone; the outfits are what the girls consider their best. It is an exciting time, cocktail hour is over and then it is time for dinner.
I joined some friends and met some new ones again at our table. Interestingly two wonderful young ladies joined us from Transformation Publishing Inc. They purchased the Centurian line of magazines and are on a mission to turn it around into a profitable business again. Good luck ladies I hope you succeed!
Dinner is great and the entertainment begins! The music is awesome followed by dancing all over the place. This is a lot of what it is all about. A chance to connect be who you are and meet those who align with your path. The evening flies by and it ends with the sounds of carry over conversations echoing in the large areas with people not wanting to go to sleep but are on the downside of alcohol. It’s 3:00 AM and I don’t want it to stop.
It is now a blur, my cell phone rings with a friend saying; “you were going to meet me for breakfast at 7:00 AM to get an early start on the drive home” OMG ! Why did I say that? I throw on my face and an outfit and I’m there in 25 minutes.
Reality sets in the dream is over! I bid my final farewells and it is time to hit the road. See you all next year!