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Monday, July 27, 2009

My BlogHer09 experience

When I was a kid I was shy. Not shy like most people claim, the oh yeah I was kinda shy sometimes in groups of people, type of shy. No, I was the hide behind people so I'd not have to meet anyone, shy. The stand directly behind my aunt in my mom's wedding, so no one is looking at me, shy. The vomit on the substitute teacher in first grade, because I didn't think I could just get up and run off, type of shy. The not ask my dad and step-mom to buy me tampons on vacation out of embarrassment and instead spend four days with loads of TP in my underwear, type of shy. The only reason I had friends growing up was because I knew them my entire life. They insulated me in a way. I never needed to make friends, never needed to talk to new people, because I always had five built in best friends. I was outgoing with them, but they were like my siblings almost, for as well as I know them.

A lot of you know I freaked out about going to this conference. I've been blogging off and on since 2005. I didn't go to the 2005, nor 2006 conference because I didn't think I had it in me to be confident in front of people. I read later about how all of my friends had a blast. Honestly, I wasn't even jealous. I was almost relieved. I wasn't online for 2007 and started this blog the week before the 2008 conference.

This year (and this blog), has been different. I am different then I was back then. I wanted to meet all of the people I've become friends with in the past year. I wanted to hug them and tell them how much I adore them, how much I love them for being so supportive, so I signed up. I wondered from that second on if I could do it. I wondered if I would hang out in my room. Hide behind plants, like I said on Twitter. I wondered if I could make myself talk to people I didn't know. I wondered if I could really get up there and read at that keynote.

A week ago today, I decided to email all of the people I knew were going, people who I talk to often and give them my cell number and ask for theirs. It was kind of my way of protecting myself. Of making sure, I'd have people I knew around me.

On Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, I flipped out. You can see that post below if you so choose. I thought in that moment of panic that I couldn't do it. That I'd not get on the plane, that if I did, I'd stay hidden the entire time.

On Thursday when I got to the hotel, I was feeling overwhelmed. I wanted to hide. Instead I did something I never do. I took a deep breath and then I walked up to a group of eight women, who I was assuming were there for the conference (easy to tell by the squee's, sorry Kirsten) and I said, hi, I'm Issa, do I know any of you? Not surprisingly they all said no. I exchanged a few cards, hung out for a few seconds and then moved on.

I did this all weekend. I talked to more people that I could even tell you. I have 48 cards for people, whose sites I have never been too. I have just as many for people who I did know. I went up to people who I've read for years and said, I'd just like to say hi and tell you how much I love your writing.

I texted people and tried my hardest to make sure everyone I did know, was invited to each meal that I left the hotel for. Can't say I succeeded at that, as my phone service was shotty at best. But I tried. I tracked down as many people as I could.

I invited people standing in the lobby, for coffee, as I walked to Starbucks each morning, to come with. I invited people to dinner, who I saw in the lobby as well. I tried my damnedest to attend every party, even if just for a little while.

I spent four days living confence life to the fullest. Enjoying as much as my BlogHer experience as I could. I had a blast. I will never speak for anyone else, but my experience was awesome.

I won't discuss the drama on here, there was some, as there always is and others are more qualified to discuss it. Was there some? Of course. Weirdness? Of course. Hurt feelings? Yes, I know there was. Were their things I saw and heard that bothered me? Yes. But it doesn't matter anymore. I had fun, I enjoyed myself and that, for me, is what mattered.

The BlogHer conference is what you make of it. Me? I made my experience fantastic. I had a blast with my friends, I enjoyed the panels I went to. I am honored to have been a part of the keynote, which you can see each reading HERE. Truly, watch them all when you have time. Some of the most amazing posts ever. I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing experience that was, nor how it felt to have strangers talk to me about it for days. It was awesome.

Now? I must relax, because tomorrow my kids come back from camping and my relaxing will end the second they show up.

32 comments:

Allyson said...

I'm so glad. So proud. So grateful that you're my friend.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

Ooh it sounds like you really challenged yourself and had a great time because you were willing to take risks and go outside your comfort zone.

Maybe I'll meet you at BlogHer 10

Jessica Gottlieb said...

Ooh it sounds like you really challenged yourself and had a great time because you were willing to take risks and go outside your comfort zone.

Maybe I'll meet you at BlogHer 10

Becky said...

i'm so glad you had a great time and came out of your shell. i'm shy like you and i totally wouldn't have even went up to people i didn't know to pass out cards. i'm so happy for you!

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I'm really sorry I wasn't there to finally meet you. (Ugh, it sucks every time I type that to someone like you whom I want to meet so much.)

But I'm also really excited that you mustered up the courage to go and have a good time. BlogHer is such an amazing conference, regardless of the hiccups along the way.

jen said...

way to go! so so hard to do ... i've been there. well ... not THERE ... but in the same boat.
maybe blogher '10 ... you can show me how it's done?

mommygeekology said...

I loved meeting you. One of the highlights of my trip.
*muah*

Jaden Paige said...

You rock. That is so great, that you stepped outside of yourself, let go, met people, and had a blast! I just knew you would. :) Maybe someday I'll go, too...

Amazing Greis said...

It was so great to finally meet you. I had a great weekend and am so happy that you were a part of it.
You were awesome up on the stage, I can't tell you that enough!!!

I'm so glad that you are one of my many IRL bloggy friends!!!

XOXO

alissasanderson said...

You? Are awesome. Awesome. I could NEVER do what you did. I am jealous and impressed and proud and sad that I missed it all at the same time.

We must meet someday.

EatPlayLove said...

hey bloggie friend, I am so glad you had a great time. Maybe someday in the midst of a heated google chat, I'll get you to divulge gossip. Just kidding, kind of.

BTW, saw your reading, wonderful job. Brought me to tears.

Christy said...

I am so glad I met you - you were awesome in the community keynote - made me cry!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I NEVER would have thought you were shy. EVER. I am so glad I met you. You were a great person to hang out with, and I'm glad you introduced yourself to me. I can only imagine the pride you must feel at doing something so courageous. (I know I feel the pride. I've never done anything solo before!)

anymommy said...

Recommencing stalking...now ;-) You are amazing, your reading was perfect and I was cheesily (word?) proud to be your friend as I watched that keynote event. Thank you for making my BlogHer an incredibly positive experience.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I am SO happy to have met you in person. I had a bit of an opposite reaction in that I didn't expect to feel so shy and want to hide, but live and learn. You were one person I was dying to meet and I am so glad you kicked ass in the keynote. I think that from now on, if anyone comes up to me and whispers "Uncle Marky" in my ear, they'll be able to watch me tear up and sniffle.

feefifoto said...

Just added you to my reader. You can send a thank-you note to JD at I Do things.

OHmommy said...

I am so glad you invited people around you. I did that too! That's what it should be like. Bravo... I wish there were more people like you.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

You are amazing! I too used to hide behind my parents. This weekend, I felt like I belonged. That's HUGE for me. Thank you for being a part of that! Xoxo

Susan said...

I was not a shy kid (or adult) and I can say that I am waaay impressed with you, or anyone else for that matter, being so outgoing. Glad it was a fun time!

Marinka said...

Your keynote was amazing. I feel lucky that I got to hear you read it live.

Maura said...

I was very proud of you at the keynote and you did a stellar job. I was very glad that I was there to hear it.

Capital Mom said...

So glad you had a good time. And that you pushed yourself to meet new people.
I am a new blogger but I bought my ticket for next year and I'm exctied. I will have to track you down. :-)

Bridget said...

I am so glad I finally got to meet you! And that I was prepared for Chicago *or* Mongolia after lunch at Dick's.

I just wish my "circumstances" (shall we say???) hadn't left me unable to attend some things I would have otherwise attended...

CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) said...

Well you did an awesome job at the keynote, I will remember your reading every time I think of my inaugural blogher experience.

Keep on keeping on!

Kirsten said...

Meeting you was seriously one of the highlights of my trip. Only a true friend would save me from hotel coffee. And I forgive you for the squee.

Your keynote was amazing. Gave me chills.

I'm already formulating FlappyHer for us west coasters.

Gray Matter said...

I am constantly amazed when people describe me as an extrovert. "No, I'm totally an introvert in extrovert's clothing." So great that you put yourself out there the way you did and if BlogHer is what you make of it then I'd say it's no wonder that you had a great time. And, by the way dude, if you're impressive enough to be reading at the keynote then you totally deserve to be the Belle of the Ball. Hope you'll come to BlogHerNYC next year--then I can meet you.

Mom101 said...

I love that you had a wonderful time, and like Jessica said, you had to push through the issues to get there. That makes it so worth it, doesn't it?

But BAH why didn't we meet? I looked for you a couple of times but I guess the whole not knowing what you look like thing made it hard.

Carmen said...

You were *amazing*.

That's all. :)

debra said...

I am so glad you enjoyed yourself! I would have had to push myself too. Big crowds are not my thing. Sounds like you had a blast!

SUEB0B said...

Well I loved our 20 seconds of face time. Wish it could have been more. And I was as proud as a mama on graduation day when you were reading at the Community Keynote.

I'm glad you stretched and did things that were challenging and rewarding. I had a blast, too. Smooches.

Danielle said...

Even with the freaking out, I'm so glad that you went. It was an honor, an absolute HONOR to share the stage with you.

You are fabulous.

wheelsonthebus said...

glad you had fun. i think if i went, i'd be the one with hurt feelings...