Friday, July 27, 2012
Countdown to BlogHer '12 Starts Today! (Must. Take. Deep. Breaths.)
One week from right this minute, I'll be in New York City for BlogHer '12.
At the Community Keynote, listening to my fellow bloggers read their work
Waiting for my turn to read.
And trying not to throw up all over my favorite shoes.
I'm excited. I'm really, really, excited. But OH MY GOD am I scared, too.
First and foremost, it's in NYC...home of my soul, tied only with the beach on Nantucket for my one true happy place. I cant' WAIT to ride the subway, drink bodega coffee, and maybe even steal a minute or two under a tree in Central Park. Even if it's 100 degrees in the shade under said tree.
But I leave my kids almost never, and being so far away from my family is hard. I'm anxious. I'm going to miss them and worry about them (and maybe need a Xanax for takeoff and landing...)
I may be loud and confident here behind the safety of my laptop screen...but in real life, I'm shy. Really shy. (Really!) Will anyone talk to me? Will people think my piece is funny? Or relevant? Will there be crickets when I'm done talking? (Oh please god don't let there be crickets...)
For me, BlogHer feels like a strange combination of fairy godmother and the Big Bad Wolf. I'm beyond honored to be a Voice of the Year for an organization I dearly love; I'm still waiting for someone to tell me there's been some sort of mistake. I can't wait to be back in NYC. I'm excited to soak up every minute of learning, networking and socializing...but I'm scared of leaving my family behind, of being wallflower-shy, of feeling out of my league, and of making a fool of myself in front of hundreds (thousands?) of people.
So not kidding about the might-throw-up-on-shoes thing.
Last year, BlogHer '11 in San Diego was my very first blogging conference. I didn't know what to expect, (though I read "what to expect at BlogHer '11" posts obsessively.) I overpacked, overscheduled, and overestimated my ability to be everywhere and do everything. I barely ate or slept. I went to parties and stayed out too late and walked home barefoot through the Gaslamp District because I was wearing ridiculous shoes. I sailed on a catamaran around San Diego Bay. I spent time with amazing people, including my two wonderful, supportive roommates Eva and April, my beautiful partners-in-crime Jennifer and Diane, and a whole lot of inspiring bloggers I was absolutely thrilled to get to know in real life.
I had a blast. But this year? This year is different.
For all of that networking and partying and meeting people, I barely made it to any sessions. I never set foot in the expo hall (so much for connecting with brands!) I wore insensible shoes. I spent a disproportionate amount of time attached to my breast pump. I didn't eat or sleep nearly enough. And I came back to my family so exhausted and overwhelmed I could barely see straight.
This year, I want to take things slow. I want to savor every minute. I want to catch at least 3 or 4 sessions and listen to the keynote speakers. I want to spend time with people I'd never get to meet otherwise without rushing off to the next next next thing on my chaotic agenda.
I want to enjoy the city.
I want to cherish the small moments, not stress about doing it all.
I want to learn stuff.
I want to feel exhilarated, not exhausted.
I really, really don't want to throw up on my shoes.
In the coming days, I have a LOT of preparing to do: I need to pack (oh, the stressful fashion decisions!), prepare my family for three days without me (what will they EAT?) and practice reading my piece and walking gracefully in my favorite wedges (without throwing up on them.) I have plans to make with some really cool people I can't wait to meet. I need to get a grip, take deep breaths, and stop letting the "scared" part of "excited and scared" threaten to ruin the whole experience.
Because who's afraid of the big bad wolf...right? I'm going to let BlogHer be my fairy godmother instead--a vehicle for knowledge and inspiration and change.
As for the rest, I'm going to keep everything in perspective. Keep taking deep breaths. Keep my shoes clean and my MetroCard handy. BlogHer '12 and NYC...here I come!
As I was writing this post, I searched through my archives for the BlogHer '11 wrap-up post...and realized I never wrote it. OOPS. In a much belated shout-out, I'd like to thank my long time bloggy hero Cheryl, Christina and Sherri (for becoming dear IRL friends), Lerner and Fadra (for letting me be starstruck AND crash your table at lunch), Nichole, Natalie and Tonya for being lovely and genuine, Galit (for letting me attack you like a psycho-fan,) Adam (for that awesome sail around the bay) and the incomparable Mama Kat (for smiling me in the stairwell of the Cheap Sally party.) You made my BlogHer '11 experience truly wonderful. And if there's someone (or several people) I'm missing...forgive me. It's been a year and my Mommy Brain is worse than ever.
An extra special shout-out to the ones I can't wait to hug THIS year: Rachel (my cosmic internet BFF), Kerry and Mary Lauren (my amazing Moonfrye writers) and Megan (the sweetest and most supportive blog reader ever.) Plus, I hope, many more!
And to John Mayer, who I hold personally responsible for keeping my other half, Katie Hurley, from being by my side when I need her most...I may or may not boycott your new album out of spite.
That is all.
Posted by jenny at 2:30 PM