I have tried to write this a million times, OK, maybe just three or four, but I just can't get it right. Here it goes again, maybe this one will stick.
I went to BlogHer to find my community. I went to find people who loved to write and weren't afraid to lay at least part of themselves out online. I went to meet the women (and a guy or two) who I loved reading. The women who made parenting and life seem so much less isolating. I also went with the odd hope that if I passed out a few business cards that maybe I would get a few more people to read what I write. I won't lie, people reading and commenting on what I write helps. I may do this for me at the heart of it, but if I didn't care what other people thought, this would all be in a word document on my computer somewhere, not laid out naked on the Internet. I went to challenge myself to be more out there, to let the real me out of the box so to speak. I went terrified. I left feeling empowered.
I have tried to write out a list of all the amazing people that I met, all of the things that I heard, but it all blurs together in to a happy feeling in the pit of my stomach. There were times when the swag and my own insecurities had me wanting to leave, to shut down my blog, take my ball and go home.
I didn't go to nearly enough sessions, mostly because the ones I wanted to see were mostly at the same time. The first was good. It was about the ever elusive balance. I went to not feel alone, and I left feeling like I wasn't the only one struggling with a full time job, a family, and a blog. I was starting to feel like I could hit my groove. Especially when I got to spend a little time Friday afternoon just chilling with The New Girl (who is just as funny in person) and Kristen in a suite. Followed by a lovely party thrown by the folks from Method. Their stuff is ALL over my house (purchased by me thank you very much) and I enjoyed their copious amounts of veggies. Then Friday night the big party that I had all of my put all of my hopes (and a great dress) on, left me off of the list despite my RSVP. (I'm still trying to not feel bitter about that)
After a call to the husband on Friday night that included a pep talk, I sucked it up and was determined to have a better day Saturday.
I went to another breakout session, the Women of Color and Marketing Room of Their Own. I wasn't sure why I was there, I just knew that I wanted to see women that I found inspiring. Kelly was one of the first people to comment on this blog and I look forward to her posts like a drug, Stefania is the reason I can call myself a semi professional writer, and HeatherB makes me laugh and think and laugh some more. (and yes, I now read Karen's blog too)
I was not disappointed. Not only did I hear from these wonderful women, but also members of the audience. I listened and I learned about the power of community, the power of humor, and how we all have a responsibility to our community both online and offline. I was able to be a part of a discussion that I don't think could happen without blogging, without something like BlogHer to bring it all together. I realized that because of that session, things will change. It may take time, it may be small steps, but there are things that are going to change. It made me realize that despite all of the BS, despite all of the drama de jour, that it is worth it. I left that session determined to be a good writer, to be a good citizen, and to be more willing to introduce myself and talk to people. I have something to say and it matters, we all matter.
PS. Thank you to the beautiful and gracious women who have linked back to me. It is the greatest flattery of all.