Saturday, August 07, 2010

In which I gnash my teeth and wring my hands...

because I didn't go to BlogHer this year.

Last year I went to Chicago for BlogHer09 and felt a whole lot of social-anxiety induced angst reminiscent of being a not-at-all-popular girl in high school. I whipped up business cards and exchanged them like they were Garbage Pail Kid cards (yeah, I'm that old) and bought shoes that made me feet feel like bloodied stumps by the end of the night. I crammed into a few sessions where I could find room on the floor, but didn't really get a whole lot out of anything except the session run by Neilochka; I can't remember what exactly it was about, but it wasn't about the business of blogging (which I didn't realize even existed until I attended BlogHer)--it was about writing. Which is why I loved it. I wanted to be inspired and rub elbows with the "big" bloggers in hopes that one day just maybe I'd be one of them. SQUEEEEEE!!!

But just like in high school, most of the time I just tried not to hyperventilate when I opened my mouth to talk to someone I didn't know. And my dream that attending BlogHer and tossing out my blog card would somehow catapult me to bloggy-stardom? Well, that's just embarrassing and makes me laugh at myself now because it's no different from a 17-year girl from the middle of a cornfield somewhere hopping a bus to LA and thinking she's going to be famous (well, minus the descent into crack-whoredom). I was overwhelmed by how many "big" bloggers there were; and embarrassed by how many of them I'd never even heard of. Oh yeah, if you'd said, The Bloggess to me before the last BlogHer? I'd have given you a blank stare. I'm not proud of that. I hurtled myself at Amalah and gushed about how I was such a fan because I am possibly the biggest dork ever in the history of dorkdom. I *think* I held my own talking to Jen Lancaster, but then, I do remember at one point going into detail about the death of one of my cats. OhMyGod. My face gets hot from embarrassment just thinking about it. I need to be stopped.

So, you know, there were the negatives of feeling socially inept and stalkerish and clingy; and the negatives of dreams being dashed against the reality of "zomg, there are SOOOO many of them and they are probably ALLLL better writers than me because I suuuuuuuuck," (I missed the day in writing class where the teacher talked about silencing your inner critic. Mine runs the show & she's super bitchy). And there was the dawning of the realization that blogging, for a lot of people, is not about writing. It's about reviews and brands and give aways and SEO (I still have to google what the hell that means) and then there was all this talk about blogging with integrity and I was all "hell, yeah! Blog with integrity!!" But then I didn't really know how that applied to me because I just tell stories about my day. And zOMG, what if that's not good enough and I don't belong here with these people and lather, rinse, repeat until you've spiraled into the big sad ugly place of self-doubt and futility. Oh, and? Your feet are fucking killing you because shoes at BlogHer are kind of a big deal.

BUT. Sigh.

So. much. fun. I wrote about it here and here. Meeting my bloggy friends, the girls who actually read my blog and I read their blogs and we kind of love each other and all that? Was the greatest part of the experience. And there was a ton of laughter and silliness and feeling like a part of a small, amazing community within this larger, overwhelming community. I left feeling a swirling mix of emotions but when it all settled, what remained was the realization that I had a place, even if it was just a teeny tiny one, within this world of blogging. That was worth the trip, without a doubt.

And this weekend, though none of my friends from last year attended again this year either, I'm missing the newer blog friends I've "met" and shared this past year with through our writing. I've been following Kate's and Corinne's tweets all weekend and wishing I could have gone to Central Park with Kate and hung out in the Serenity Suite with Corinne. Last year when BlogHer10 tickets went on sale, I was also hoping to rendezvous with my best friend in NYC, which we haven't done in years and years. I bought my early bird ticket and tucked away the idea that I'd be going to BlogHer10 in August.

BUT. sigh. Again with the "but". For several reasons, it was not to be and I decided I had to sell my ticket. I don't regret the decision because it gave me the opportunity to come back to the DC area to visit friends and family I would otherwise not have seen for another year. But I'd be a big fat lying liar telling lies if I said I didn't stalk twitter last night for #BlogHer10 updates and shed a tear or two at the tweets from friends and the insane party fun I saw unfolding 200 miles away while I laid in bed next to my snoring 4 year old (who I definitely love more than insane drunken parties and chocolate fountains and toe-mangling shoes, but still....).

Yesterday BlogHer announced that next year's venue is San Diego. Um. ROAD TRIP!


Sarah said...

I would LOVE to make it a yearly tradition to hang out with you and Becca and Amy, but BlogHer itself didn't really do it for me. I thought the sessions were kind of meh, and I only really had fun with you guys. So, I miss seeing you, but not necessarily the conference, does that make sense?

Grandma Bear said...

Sarah and Sarah,

You both make perfect sense. It really is about the interaction. My Sarah, your dh in one of his very wise insights in his teens said, in response to my comment one day that virtual classrooms would abolish schools said, "no, its the social part that wouldn't happen and people won't want to do that." Not sure if, in this age of expensive travel -- that this won't be true more out of necessity --- but the fact is that it really is better to get together with friends, whatever the origin of that friendship might be.

So -- if "BlogHer" doesn't work, create your own razon d'etre for getting together.

Becca said...

I agree with Wisc Sarah!! I would love to hang out again, but I would not love to pay $300 to go to the conference to do so again. I only enjoyed one or two sessions. The parties were fun, but the best part was hanging out with you guys in the hotel room!

It also really cemented my reasons for blogging, which are to stay in touch with my blog friends, to write, and to keep my family up to date on my kids. So, no need to go back to the "Mommyblogging: Finding Your Tribe" session. Which was hands down AWFUL.

sarah said...

Sarah & Becca, I agree w/ you completely! So, when and where do we meet for the group family vacation! LOL

Hyacynth said...


End of story. I don't want to hear another word about how you are not a superfabulousawesome writer. Ever.

Also, this post summed up exactly how I feel about conferences in general. It's like a love/hate relationship. I'm all oooooohh, you're so pretty. And then I'm all, but if you're so pretty does that make me not so pretty? And then I'm all, maybe I don't give a rip about pretty and maybe I don't even know what pretty is.

Or something like that.

But really, I've never been to a super-huge blogging conference, and I imagine feeling much of these same things because that's what I think about until I remind myself we are all just people.

And I have no idea who the three people you mentioned are exactly. I guess I have some homework to do before BlogHer11?

Amy said...

Totally agree with everyone -- it was hanging with you guys and eating and drinking and gabbing that was the fun. That's what Jen and her crew do now -- they skip the conference and just hang out and have way more fun.

We need to make this happen!

Major Bedhead said...

I had a blast this year (so thank you for selling me your ticket!) but I agree - what I got most out of the conference was the conversation I had over coffee with borneochica and Neilochka and Deb from i_obsess. Meeting up with people I've been reading for years, who are not big bloggers, but whom I've developed relationships with over time, and just hugging them. I did attend a couple of really terrific sessions this year, both of which focused on writing, which is what I was after. You summed it up perfectly - making connections that reside inside this huge community of bloggers. That's worth the price of the ticket for me.

Well, that and Sparklecorn. Lawd almighty, that party kicked some serious butt.

lonek8 said...

a) I missed you there
b) my husband is sort of already planning this whole, go to San Francisco in advance and then I can drive down to BlogHer'11 with you, so um, yeah. Road Trip!
c) I'm inviting myself to the group family vacation. Just so you know