"Wow, there was just a huge conference last week back in New York," said a friend's husband who lived in New York City. "Were you there? I mean, my god there were bloggers everywhere!"
"Oh no, not me, I'm so small," I said sheepishly. "That conference is BlogHer, it's huge. I don't know what I'd do there."
Then I carried on with reunion-ing. I laughed and drank wine and danced and celebrated.
Over the next two years, I blogged, I wrote, I vlogged. I wrote posts that no one read and a couple that quite a few people read. I wrote my guts out. I wrote about my kids, my crazy mother, my husband, product reviews, movies, politics and my dog. I took pictures and made videos. I learned how to be more social on social media. I read blogs. I watched videos. I submitted pieces of my writing, some were published and a lot were not. I produced and directed a show. I fell in love with the stage.
But I still thought I was too small for BlogHer and didn't know what I'd do there. Until this year, when one of my friends that I met through blogging nominated a post of mine for BlogHer Voices of the Year and that post was selected.
When I read the email about the selection, I literally did the whole look behind and said "who me?" pointing to my chest. Yeah, to the computer screen. Because I mean...what, me? I'm so small.
I found a way (via my generous big sister who bought my incredibly expensive plane ticket for my 40th birthday, again...what, for me?) to get to California for BlogHer 14. My only plans for what I was going to do at the conference were to be present and not get too overwhelmed, meet people, learn something and dance, drink wine and celebrate.
The conference was more than I could have imagined. The vibe was techie, intelligent, edgy. It was a diverse group of women and some men--multicultural, young and old, punk rock and all business.
The weekend was about making connections. There were opportunities to connect with businesses in the expo hall, idols like Arianna Huffington and Jenny Lawson, bloggers and writers and designers and activists and advocates. There were opportunities to reconnect with ourselves too.
"Think about the message you have to offer," said one of the speakers, Francheska from HeyFranHey.com. She spoke about emotional threads. "We all have an emotional thread, what's yours?" she challenged the group.
Speaker after speaker spoke about getting through an illness or a scary diagnosis, getting over a divorce, recovering from heart break. The women and men spoke about how blogging allowed them to express themselves, take control and find their voice, and a community that accepted it.
They weren't just stories of healing, they were stories of surviving and thriving. They were stories that reaffirmed what I started learning the past two years. The stories also inspired me to want more, do more, to keep writing, keep learning, keep connecting; to keep trying to make a difference through writing, through blogging, through getting involved, through my emotional thread, my voice.
The Voices Of The Year were printed out on huge boards and displayed throughout the convention center during the reception on Friday night. Posing in front of the display felt good.
|My buddy Greta from Gfunkified.com who nominated my post.|
Then I laughed and drank wine and danced and celebrated.
|And sang karaoke.|
|Yeah, that's RevRun. He DJ'd the incredible closing party.|
BlogHer is for big and small bloggers and people that read blogs. It is a party. It is political. It is educational. It is networking. It is a rally. It is full of women who like to say "fuck" which I find incredibly fabulous and endearing. It is part creative, part business and all kinds of emotional threads.
BlogHer is inspiration.
|My pledge in the Skype sponsor booth, inspired by the courageous storytellers/writers/people that I heard/met at BlogHer 14.|
|The sunrise all full of hope and you go home and say/write/shout/dance something outside my hotel room the morning I left California.|