First Time at Conference Proves to be Life Changing

Story provided by Dwayne Farris
LPA Today, summer 2006, Vol. 42 Issue No. 1

             Everyone asks why I waited so long to get involved in LPA and to go to my first national conference.  The answer is that I didn’t want to admit that I was different and that I didn’t fit into “normal” society.

            My mom called me in March and asked me if I had seen the show “Little People Big World”?  I said no with the full intention of never watching it.  Well, I guess if it was maybe three of four weeks later I happened to catch it.  It was then I realized I was just being selfish and that it was time for me to stop denying who I am and start to embrace it.

            As I began preparing for the conference, I joined a number of Dwarfism groups.  I began to read when someone is attending their first conference they would be overwhelmed.  I really did not understand what everyone meant by that, so I began asking a few people that I met from the groups.  Everyone told me that going from knowing no little people to seeing a thousand all in one place is overwhelming.

            When I walked in and saw all of the Little People, I knew then what everyone was talking about.  I don’t think I would say that I was overwhelmed, but it did take a couple of days for it all to sink in.  Friday night at the dance there were not as many people as I thought there would be.  However, on Saturday, the majority of people began to arrive.

            The hotel was beautiful and huge.  It was also in an excellent location.  Kudos to the planning committee on selecting it.  Being an older hotel, it did have some issues.  Those issues were minor, such as waiting for the elevators and the inconsistent air conditioning. 

            I heard that at the conference there would be a lot of cliques.  I don’t think I would say there were cliques so much as groups of friends catching up after a year apart.  I met so many people and most everyone was friendly and accepting.  I met some very special people that I hope to remain friends with for a lifetime.

            For a first time attendee, there are so many things to do and see that I could not have possibly done it all.  I wanted to, but it just wasn’t possible.  I was on the go from the minute I got there until the minute I left and I didn’t do half of the things I wanted to do.

            Looking back now, I realize I have just had a life changing experience.  I will never be the same that’s a good thing.  I would like to thank the Roloff’s for opening their lives for the world to see, because if they hadn’t I would never have gotten involved in LPA.  I would also like to give a special thank you to someone who has become very special in my life, Robyn Watson.  Being fromMilwaukee, she was an excellent tour guide and she patiently answered all of my questions and understood the emotional coaster I was on.

            To the rest of the people I met and chatted with, thank you from the bottom on my heart because I know now that I truly do fit in.

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