I’ve been in San Diego since Wednesday for BlogHer ‘11, a massive blogging conference that I’ve been attending annually since 2009. Like the picture above, it was a blur of happiness, awesome, and sweat. It was both a confidence boost and a payoff for several years of hard work. It was a mixture of culminations and new beginnings, a reminder that life in general is a constant blend of beginnings, middles, and ends, of journeys in progress and in motion.
I’m going to try and just hit the highlights. Because I love you.
On Friday, I was fortunate to be one of the bloggers who presented at the Voices of the Year Community Keynote. I was terrified going into the event, but ecstatic to have been selected as a reader. This is, in my opinion, one of the highest honors that BlogHer can bestow on a blogger, and it’s something I’ve actively dreamed about for two years. The reality was even better than the dream.
Sitting backstage with the other readers was, surprisingly, just as much of a highlight as actually reading on stage. There was this amazing glow of support and encouragement as we shared our nerves and then our stories and congratulations. I was part of something behind that curtain, and it was beautiful and rare and a moment to be treasured rather than forcibly reconstructed.
On Saturday, I was part of a panel called ‘Til Blog Do Us Part, a discussion about the effects that marriage and blogging can have on each other. I pitched this panel to BlogHer several months ago and I was so proud of the result. I feel like we offered the people in the audience solid takeaways and important ideas to think about, both of which I value when I attend conferences. I think I’d like to spend more time pursuing these types of experiences in the future.
Saturday night, Aiming Low – a blog for which I write and edit – hosted a community party. The theme of the party was Come As You Are and it was designed to reflect the welcoming, accepting message of the site itself. One way we did this was by using stickers that said “You Are…” – we would filled in the blanks with things like “beautiful” or “patient” and put them on guests. Our labels were a mixture of funny, intimate, and generically kind, and my God it was lovely to have the job of putting positive labels on people I’d just met. Women smiled, glowed, and thanked me for my kind words and it was a gift for me to be able to give those gifts to others. Loved it.
Of course, the entire trip was filled with people. Beautiful, fun, creative, encouraging, wonderful people. I was lucky to have some of my closest girlfriends there with me, women whose ties to my life cannot be contained by an Internet connection. I am always so grateful of the opportunity to breathe in the love of real girlfriends.
And now, I’m headed home. And as great as this trip was and as fluid as my home address currently is, I couldn’t be happier to get my butt back to that little tin can filled with the three people I love most in the world.
Happy Monday, y’all. May we all have a fabulous week.