Last weekend I went to Chicago to attend my first ever BlogHer Conference. Fifteen hundred (mostly) women all under one roof, all there because in some way, shape, or form, they are involved in blogging.
I bragged to Mike beforehand that I wasn't nervous at all. Even though it was my first BlogHer, it wasn't my first blogging conference. I saw multitudes of posts in the weeks before trying to help me shed the supposed nerves I should be wracked with. Posts on what to wear, what not to wear, how to fit in, how to not stick out like a sore thumb.
"I'm so not sweating this." I told Mike the day before.
The next afternoon my family dropped me off at the lobby of the massive Sheraton. I checked into my room, surveyed the lobby filled with bloggers in cozy groups, and I went right up to my hotel room and cried.
I was so sweating this. I didn't recognize a single familiar face, and I couldn't bring myself to introduce myself to anyone new. Suddenly, spending most of the conference curled up in my hotel room seemed like a very good idea. I'm not sure what changed in my thought process, but after about an hour of this nonsense, I decided to put on my big girl panties and just get out there. I walked to a party hosted by the very nice ladies of the Social Luxe Lounge ALL BY MYSELF. And I didn't die. The room did not part into a sea of women laughing and pointing their fingers at me and my teeny little blog.
I mingled and I met people and before I knew it I was having a blast. I met some of my blogging heroes and I met people who I know will become my blogging heroes. I laughed my ass off and then turned around and cried as women shared some of their deepest, most personal stories in front of all of us.
At one point I was sitting in on a panel titled, "Have You Found Your Mommy Blogging Tribe?" One of the panelists commented that after BlogHer, there's a significant number of bloggers who quit. It's too overwhelming, they don't know where they fit, they're not well-known and probably never will be.
I was sad to hear that, but it also made me reflect on how lucky I am to be here. I don't know quite how it happened, but I've found my tribe. Those of you who have read me from the beginning, because you know me in real life and care about me and my family? Thank You. Those of you who found me through my friends and family, and have chosen to stick around? Thank You. Those of you who I've met at Blissdom and BlogHer, who have followed me here? Thank You. Those of you who have stumbled upon me once, from God knows what you searched in Google, and read something? Thank You.
I don't do this because I ever think it will bring me money or some kind of bloggy fame. I do it because I have a running narrative inside me, stories that I feel compelled to tell.
I do it, quite simply, because I was:
* Teeny disclaimer here. Yes, this shirt is part of the dreaded swag that has sullied the name of BlogHer09. Rest assured, dear readers, that no babies were elbowed in the head in pursuit of this swag. I even said Please and Thank You, and might have let a few others cut in line.
Thanks to all of you for being a part of my dream and my tribe.