Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Three years ago I had not heard of BlogHer. Now it is my annual retreat.
The place I go to be me. Not mom, not wife, me.
At BlogHer I feel like a writer. I'm not sure I can adequately convey how meaningful that is.
Then there are the basic joys of not being responsible for the health, nutrition and entertainment of two children.
No laundry, no housework, no cooking.
If I want I can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner that someone else prepared.
At every break someone has thoughtfully set out drinks and snacks. I can help myself without listening to thirty ever changing requests. It's just so effortless. Instead of focusing on a packed schedule of school, camps, food shopping, play dates etc. I can sit with a cappuccino and peruse the session schedule.
The first few hours are disorienting. I don't quite know what to do with my unscheduled self. Then the magic starts.
In sessions, in the hallways, getting coffee - I start talking to other bloggers.
Actually talking, uninterrupted. Soon I am lost to so many compelling, interesting, funny, thought provoking stories.
Even blogs I read and love don't compare to meeting the author and hearing their words in person. Going a little deeper. Sharing, laughing, supporting, empathizing.
The parties are havens. There are women (and yes a few men) of every size, shape and skin tone. They dance with abandon.
No trying to impress. You don't need to care if your outfit is fashionable enough. You can be fully made up or wearing your skin au naturel. At 40 these are things I don't take for granted anymore.
At the Voices of The Year keynote and Listen To Your Mother Open Mic, I listened to blogger after blogger transform their words from the page to the stage. It was so joyful - even when the stories were heartbreaking. I will fully admit to the ugly cry several times. I also laughed from my belly.
In those all too fast days at BlogHer I feel at home. This is a place to find inspiration. The atmosphere is so friendly, fun and encouraging. These people want each other to succeed. They want to listen and celebrate. It's something I don't always find in my 'other' life. It's like coming home - if home was full of people who were endlessly nice and supportive.
I want this feeling to last. The hope in endless possibilities. The reminder of the strength in women to make changes in the world with their words. The honesty and bravery in telling your story regardless of the pain involved. Laughing, carelessly with friends.
I miss my tribe already. Roll on BlogHer 2012.