The things I carried home from BlogHer ’13
I over-packed for BlogHer ’13. It was my first time attending the mega blogging conference, and I had the luxury of driving rather than flying, so I felt free to bring excessive amounts of stuff.
I left my car in the suburbs, and my aunt kindly drove me to the Sheraton. When I walked into the lobby, dragging my heavy luggage, I felt a rush of nerves. New setting. No familiar faces. Free cupcakes. I didn’t touch the cupcakes, which is a testament to how displaced I felt. I have a sweet tooth that frequently overrides my common sense. However, I didn’t feel as though I’d done anything to earn a cupcake yet, so I passed them by and sat to await my roommates, the fashionable SEO queen Elaine Griffin and the ever-lovely duchess of doodles Melissa Aiello.
Ten minutes later, I realized I had left my hanging dress clothes in the back of my aunt’s car as I cheerfully waved farewell to her. Well, at least I got my first mistake done with early. My aunt came back with my nice clothes so I wouldn’t have to wear pajamas to the expo.
Then I promptly went up the wrong set of elevators to try to get to my room. I just wanted to be thorough and get my second mistake out of the way.
The next two and a half days passed quickly, and it seemed as though between one heartbeat and the next I found myself at the end of the trip. As I walked out of my hotel room and heard the door thunk behind me, I carried home much more than I had brought.
I took home the expected Bag o’ Swag, full and only semi-sorted. My favorite acquisitions were an Eggland’s Best spatula won from an eggy slot machine and a pink Nerd from the Chuck E. Cheese booth. I earned my Nerd toy in classic Awkward!Blogger fashion: I went into a wind tunnel machine to try to win it. However, only after having tickets blown through my hair and into my cleavage did I find out that the sponsor was giving the nerd toys away, no win required. Oh well. At least I amused Melissa and my darling friend Linda Anselmi.
I also carried home, tucked safely away in my luggage, a steampunk coloring book and a pad of paper with kisses all over it, given to me as gifts by the sweet and cuddly Karen Sandoval.
Tucked between sandals and shirts, I brought home Joey, my kangaroo. Joey came to me all the way from Australia via Michelle Burke.
I was able to spend time with Michelle because she tweeted me and asked me whether I’d be at the Gale Ann Hurd keynote. I had planned to crash on my bed for an hour, but Michelle and Gale were both well worth sacrificing a nap. (In fact, I even wrote up Gale’s keynote on the BlogHer site.)
I carried home the knowledge of how impressive Jasmine Banks is. I first spotted her on a Serta bed, melting into it as she lay next to a friend, with Neil Kramer smiling down at her as he stood by her side. I’ll always remember how much strength it took for her to come to BlogHer after a deep personal loss occurred only the day before.
I took home some personal sadness that I didn’t get to spend more time with Abbie Gale and Michelle Lewsen and Georgia Johnson and so very, very many others. I wanted more time to find people and more time to spend with them.
I brought home forty-eight business cards — fifty if I include two accidental duplicates. Actually, the number is closer to fifty-five if I count some hand-written contact notes. I did not acquire business cards from everyone I encountered. For instance, I spent some time with Delfin, but we were so busy chatting that I never got his card. (S’all good, though, ‘cause I know where he blogs.) In many cases, I had only a few brief seconds to exchange a hug or handshake. I estimate that I met or encountered about eighty people.
I was unable to take any of my new people home with me. They all refused to climb into my luggage. And I really don’t understand what JC Little’s objection was because I’m sure she would have fit. Still, even though I couldn’t keep the artist, I did take home a flattering piece of toonswag, but only after spending a hilarious evening with her and Aliza Worthington and Linda Anselmi.
I’m still carrying with me the hug I received from Tyrone Farley after delivering my BuskHer ’13 performance, where I stood in the hallway outside of the Fashion Show Reception and delivered some poetry and a section of my book that I’d memorized. The busking was the thing I’d been working on, what I’d been gearing myself up to accomplish at the conference for over a month. And I almost chickened out. I actually almost didn’t do it despite the fact that I’d poured hours and hours into the preparation. I never had a proper rehearsal, and the conditions were never quite right. I meant to do it Friday, but that plan fell through. On Saturday, I had to accept that I wouldn’t get perfect conditions, and I dove into the performance regardless. I performed in front of my friends. My sense of self faded away, leaving only the words to be shared. As I spoke and dredged up all my theatre energy from the past, a few people stopped briefly to watch and then moved on. Tyrone, though, Tyrone stopped to watch and stayed. And at the end, he came forward and embraced me, and I cried just a little with relief and gratitude, and he told me about his love of theatre in his soothing voice, which I think would be GREAT for Shakespeare.
Thank you, Tyrone. Thank you. You helped remind me that my book and story are worth all the effort to reach out to even just one more person.
I brought home a desire and an idea to start a new project, a vlog. Between the Video 101 session by Stacy Calvert and Julie Yamamoto and my own theatrical antics, I know I have more to learn and share, new opportunities for growth.
These are just a few of the things I carried home with me. They are the weight of dreams and purpose. I’ll take that cupcake now.
Actually, no, hold the cupcake a little longer. I have more work to do.
(Note: I couldn’t call out absolutely everybody that I love and adore and met in this post, but that don’t mean I don’t love you! MUAH!)