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An Eczema Meet-Up in New England and How to Plan Your Own!

Sunday, December 15th, on a cold, windy, winter day on the east coast, I held my second ever eczema/TSW meet-up! I live in Southern California, but jumped at the opportunity to plan another meet-up when I found out I would be vacationing at my old stomping grounds in New England.

Attendance concerns

I was a little unsure about who would show up due to the freezing cold, but I was delightfully surprised! The warriors who had said they would be there were able to be there. When it comes to eczema/TSW meet-ups, you have to be understanding that some people might not be able to make it because of the bad state their skin is in. We’ve all been there. So just be aware of this when planning your meet-up.

Stressful planning

My first experience planning a meet-up was incredibly rewarding but I must admit a bit stressful. And we all know what stress does to our eczema. My face was definitely oozing during, after, and then the morning after the meet-up. You can see a bit of it in the video I have on my Instagram @linettero.

Simpler meet-up planning

Ashley Ann Lora talks a little about the SoCal Meet-Up here. So this time around, I learned my lesson. I again planned it on my own but instead of reserving a venue, asking for donations, dealing with catering, and hand-making signs (the little over-achiever in me is annoying) all while still going through TSW, I instead just posted on a few online TSW forums, called one of my favorite restaurants and made a reservation, and kept in contact with those who reached out expressing interest in attending. That’s literally all you need to do to put a meet-up together!

Know that our fellow warriors are craving face-to-face interaction with someone who just gets it, so wherever you are, there will be people who want to join in on your meet-up.

Aware of food restrictions

We had a nice big table ready for us at Flatbread Company in Portsmouth, NH. I had requested a quieter area as well when making my reservation so that we wouldn’t have to be yelling at each other during the meet-up just to be heard. I had picked this restaurant because first of all, I love their food. They are incredibly aware of their ingredients and super aware of food allergies and dietary restrictions. Both regular and gluten-free crusts are available, and vegan options as well.

Choose somewhere casual

I fundamentally believe that breaking bread with people is the best way to get to know someone, so a casual, comfortable restaurant is a great place to hold a meet-up. Just be wary of all the top allergens since many warriors have food sensitivities and don’t hesitate to talk to the manager or chef if you’re not sure.

A shared bond through eczema

Don’t waste your time planning for any ice breakers. Why? Because we already share a deep bond because of our skin and all the sh*t that comes with it. The moment you see each other, it’s as if you are reuniting with long-lost friends and family that you never knew you had.

Understanding the impact of eczema

At Flatbread, we just kept talking immediately upon meeting. We were just standing at the entrance and having a ball. I then directed us to our table and everything took off from there as if we were having a reunion. It really is the best feeling. Including myself, there were three warriors who were going through different phases of their TSW journey. There were two eczema warriors who had their many ups and downs of this condition, with stories of doctors who didn’t know how to help them. We also had several caretakers and supporters there. They just wanted to know they and their loved one were not alone and to learn more about what we go through in order to support their loved one even more. When it was time to leave, no one wanted to go. But we walked out together, peeling away as we went to our respective destinations.

Interested in an eczema meetup?

So if you’ve wanted to go to a meet-up, why not just plan one? It’s literally just a few online posts, DMs/texts, and a phone call away. Not feeling up for the task, but want to attend one? Reach out to our community and find out where the next one will be! For your mental and emotional health this 2020, make it a plan to attend a meet-up near you! I personally have two meet-ups with other #skinfluencers in the works for this 2020, so stay updated and follow me @linettero on Instagram.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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