Sophomore Year: BlogHer (What I Am So Glad I Know This Year)

By this time last year, I’d spent an obscene amount of money putting together “outfits” for BlogHer ’12.  I was fully whipped into a frenzy of impression management, J. Crew emergency purchases, and anxious spasms about whether I would “do it right,” because I was sure there was a “right” way to do a blogging convention.

My posse from BlogHer '12

My posse from BlogHer ’12

Oh my god it’s so much more fun this year already.

First, I already know BlogHer is a massive, chaotic blur of people, swag, adrenaline and inspiration.  Oh, and how can I forget about the flip side of inspiration, which is the total humility of looking out into a sea of 5,000 bloggers knowing that I am just one of the pack– the ginormous pack– and that some of them will be courted by publishers or IKEA or Gordon’s Fish Sticks, and I will go home having handed out maybe 5 (of my 1000) business cards? Let’s not forget my eloquent French fry analogy of last year. (FN 1)

Most importantly, I know it doesn’t matter what I wear.  Unless I am trying to make a dress-made-of-meat kind of statement, it’s pretty hard to stand out among thousands of bloggers.  It’s not like I am there to have Tim Gunn discover my unique sense of style.  So, this year I want to be comfortable and stay within my financial and moral budget, so I’m not buying anything new.  I may not even shave my legs, so if you see me in jeans, you’ll know that I didn’t.

Oh what a year can do!

As I look back on the year since my maiden BlogHer voyage, I think back about the people I met there and the ways that the river of my life changed course that weekend.  It was BlogHer that gave me the confidence to start pitching story ideas to other publications.  When I attended a workshop about book publishing, it was like pouring gasoline on a tiny camp fire in my soul.  I sat next to a woman who was a lawyer-turned-literary-agent and struck up a conversation with her.  I didn’t mention that I had about 10,000 words of a novel written or that it would be my life’s dream to have her card (and have her take me on as a client).  But this year, hell, I just might.  But just sitting in that room allowed me room to be audacious: maybe I will finish that book and see what happens.

So I’m going in open for inspiration, but I’m as prepared as I can be for it to be a totally different experience.  I have a picture on my bathroom mirror of me, Sara of Moments of Exhilaration and Carinn of Welcome To The Motherhood, neither of whom will be there this year to hold my hand or laugh at my “jokes.”  Also missing this year is Michelle Longo and Deb of Mannahattanmama, both of whom I plan to miss wildly.  It was at BlogHer that I met Rachael from The Variegated Life (and I could hardly stop staring at the beautiful baby she had strapped to her chest), and Jessica Woodbury Severson from Don’t Mind the Mess.  Those encounters enriched me beyond what I even understand fully today.

I’m letting myself miss all of them as much as I want and for as long as I want with one caveat: I must make room for the people who will be there this year.  Like A Teachable Mom, Naptime Writing, What Now and Why, Neil Kramer, and Fierce Diva herself (NOTE: not all of those bloggers know I am alive).

I have no plan or strategy for the weekend, except for bringing snacks, staying open to what falls in my path and celebrating the other Voices of the Year winners.  I am honored that my post about my breast lump was recognized and I want to celebrate that.  Because at its core, BlogHer is a celebration– of writing, and connecting and healing and voices and visibility and storytelling– not a fashion show, a contest or a Miss America pageant.

I’m so glad I have that straight this year.

* * *

FN1: Excerpt of a real conversation I had after BlogHer ’12:

Her: So you enjoyed the conference?

Me: Yes.

Her: Were you inspired by all the great people you met?

Me: Totally inspired! And that’s why I am now suicidal.

Her: Makes perfect sense.

Me: Really?

Her: NO! What are you talking about?

Me: There were so many great people there. They can write so well and they are hilarious and successful and entire nations follow their every word. It makes me feel like small potatoes.

Her: Small potatoes is not the worst thing in the world. You don’t have to kill yourself because you are not a big potato.

Me: You don’t understand. It’s not that I am a small potato, like a mini-red-skinned one you put in stew.  It’s like I am barely a French fry.  Right! I am not even a French Fry from stupid McDonald’s.  I am that burnt little nib that falls off and lands in the corner of the French fry pouch that you have to lick your finger to get me to stick so you can pop me in your mouth. I probably only have about 8 calories to offer.

Her: I like those little nibs. They are salty and crunchy. I love licking my fingers and pressing them into the corners of my French fry bag so I can eat them up.

Me: You are so sick.

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51 thoughts on “Sophomore Year: BlogHer (What I Am So Glad I Know This Year)

  1. See you there, small fry. 😉 I say that with a certain amount of irony, because if you’re a small fry, then I am one of the uneaten crumbs at the bottom. Or maybe the seasoning…
    Also, congratulations on the VOTY! What a well-deserved honor.

  2. I really needed this laugh today! What a perfect Monday post. That transcript at the end should be given its own award it’s so hilarious (classic last line killed me!).

    Aww, Jimmy Dean. That night I crashed your room with Sara was one that I will remember forever. Before then, I can’t remember the last time I felt so inspired and invigorated (although you haven’t stopped moving me since!).

    BlogHer is a great time with amazing people — and I stressed way too much last year too. I could see myself enjoying it more this time around. Maybe 2014?

  3. If you’re a small potato, I must be of the fingerling variety. Hoping to meet you there – and I have the same “pitching” session on my schedule.

    • Stupid phone…

      You’re adorable. Of all my neurotic friends you’re my most hilariously neurotic.

      I am used to huge, faceless conventions, so I’m poring over the schedule with a multicolored pen. Which session will inspire me vs. Which is better for my career…

      So excited. Not in the “what will I wear ” way, but in the “how much learning can I cram into two days” way.

  4. So. Jealous. If it was in NY again I would totally be there, but my summer schedule got manic all of a sudden and traveling that weekend is tricky. Have the best time. You are totally a big potato this year. You wrote a book (that I am dying to read!).

  5. Oh, we are *so* jealous. We desperately wish we were going to BlogHer this year. It sounds like you have great plan and know what you’re doing! This isn’t your first time at the rodeo! (and Congrats on the VOTY!!) We hope you write about all you learn when you come back…for the rest of us!! –The Dose Girls Ps. We did meet the Fierce Diva at Charlotte’s Bloggy Boot Camp. She is more wonderful than words can say. We love her!!

  6. I was so super thrilled to meet you, too. Even if it required extensive texting and schedule-arranging. And for me it was a lightning rod of inspiration. Without it I don’t know that all the things I’ve done this year would’ve happened.

    (Also I *might* be going again, but I’ll let you know when I find out for sure…)

  7. I’m sorry to miss it! Maybe someday, but this summer is too nuts (and hello, puppy!). But what I really want to know is: Is Blue Baby going again?

  8. So excited to meet you at BlogHer! And thank you for alleviating my fashion fears. I’ll pack jeans too now and not care so much. And congrats on your VOTY. That is awesome and well deserved!

  9. I am going this year for the first time. I’m very excited and a tad terrified. I hope we get to meet (maybe at the VOTY?). Congrats on being honored!

  10. And I will be there! First blogging conference ever. Business cards, thanks for the tip. I’m really looking forward to seeing you. Will you still be wearing that same straw hat?

  11. I’m a first time visitor to your blog…and a first time BlogHer attendee…and a first time BlogHer speaker (Writing Lab on humor). Thanks for putting things in perspective. Women with unshaved legs (or partially shaved or whatever) unite.

  12. I, for one, am now pumped at the possibility that I might get to meet the Jimmy Dean sun. Now THAT’S exciting. Great post for all us freshmen and will try to remember to focus on what I’m writing and not what I’m wearing to BlogHer.

  13. It’s my sophomore year too! And you’re not just the baked potato, you’re the loaded baked potato with extra bacon. Congratulations on VOTY and I hope I see you there!

  14. Thank you so much for this – it’s exactly what I needed to read. First time for me this year. You just saved me emergency trips to Old Navy, Nordstrom, Gap, Nordstrom, DSW, Nordstrom, The Loft and Nordstrom. And that was just my plan for tomorrow morning.

    I am also celebrating a VOTY – I cannot wait to meet you! I’ll be the other one in jeans. 😉

  15. Hilarious post, and I love those tiny crunchy bits, too : ) Congratulations on your having your post recognized by Blogher – fantastic! I will be there this weekend and I would love to meet you in person!

  16. LOVED your French Fry analogy! Thanks for the funny and informational post — it’s my first BlogHer so I need all the advice I can get! I’m a VOTY this year too — hope to meet you at the reception!

  17. Really loved reading this!! First time at BlogHer and did allllll of the stuff you just mentioned. So funny! But I do plan to be comfy! I too am headed into the break out sessions for writers. I’m really excited!! And def looking forward to writing a post after the conference.

  18. Do you see what happens when you let your inbox get out of control? You get a shout out and you don’t even see it for nearly a month! (Thank you for the shout out!!) I was also avoiding the BlogHer talk a bit because I was sad (read: jealous) that I wasn’t going. I’m still a little sad. I’m hoping next year I can make it work.

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