- So I’m sitting here at Millennium Park in Chicago. I came here a few days ago for the biggest blogging conference in the world. Blogher. I heard mixed reviews before I went. Some told me it was a giant sorority party, and I wouldn’t be invited to any of the parties. Others told me it was fun but I wouldn’t learn anything. People told me I absolutely had to go if I ever wanted to network and grow my blog. Other people told me it was the biggest waste of time ever.
- I’ll tell you what it’s been for me: exactly what everybody said it was. All of them. Parts of it were a waste of time. I went to a session presented by people who clearly just wanted to plaster “spoke at Blogher” on their blogs. Very little preparation, nothing of substance to say. I’m 90% sure one of them said “you must dream out of the box.” At that point, of course, in the interest of survival, I turned off my brain and started Facebooking. Not that I Facebook without a brain. OR DO I?
- On the other hand, I attended a couple sessions that opened my eyes to whole new areas of publications and possibility, and inspired me.
- One of the keynote speakers said to get girls more interested in science and tech we need to make it “sexy and cool,” at which point I almost jumped on the stage and kicked her ass. Some dude keynote said “behind every successful man in social media is a woman” and I wanted to dropkick his face, I mean COME THE FUCK ON, what? Right. Because ladies are such “social butterflies,” clearly we’ve got that social crap dialed! Vomit. But one of the other keynotes was the female producer of “The Walking Dead” who said it was impossible to be both “liked” and “respected” as a female boss. For obvious reasons I loved the shit outta her. I don’t even know if I agree. I’m just happy when any woman will admit she doesn’t give a shit about being liked. It’s just so anti-social! Boom.
- I rode in the shuttle from the airport with 3 women armed with spreadsheets and perfect hair who spoke endlessly of private parties, none of which I’d heard of. All I felt was relief. Thank god I don’t have to decline those invites. I die at shit like that.
(Okay I’m not in Chicago any more. I’m sitting in my bed, finishing this post, so let’s start with new numbers, TO LIVE ON THE EDGE.) God I’m pathetic.
- But here’s what happened that made this trip fucking amazing: I met my people who I didn’t know were my people. I met Stephanie and Momma be Thy Name (who I knew was my people via writing but we’d never met) and the infinitely delightful Colleen at The Family Pants (who is like the karaoke god, apparently). I met the lovely Lea from Becoming Supermommy. I met the wicked smart badass Grace Biskie, who is trying to reframe Christian discussions of race and racial reconciliation. And I met Mary Bowers, a freaking great writer and my new soulmate, who you can read here and here, who I may or may not begin to stalk.
- I met people who are doing things and saying things that are worth saying. And that’s fucking awesome, right?
- And on Sunday, I got to hang out in Chicago by myself. Like ALL BY MYSELF. As if hanging out in a hotel room by myself for three nights, in a bed with nobody but me, in a hotel room with nobody but me, wasn’t rad enough, I spent a day in Chicago just hanging out. I took the train through the city and it was the first time I’d done that since I was a college student in Spain.
- And as I was sitting there cruising through the new city, taking in all the buildings and people and signs, it occurred to me how many years I’ve spent wishing I could go back to that place, wishing I could go back to the days when I hung out in cities across Europe, untethered, smoking cigarettes with new and old friends in cafés, feeling all Hemingway-esque and shit.
- And as I sat in the park in Chicago and walked around, by myself, though I wasn’t smoking cigarettes or drinking wine in cafes, and I wasn’t 22 and pretty and untethered, I was exploring a new place, and it was just as fun and exhilarating as before, only now, I was thinking of my family. I was thinking of my husband and how I wished he was there to see the crazy no-ketchup sign. I thought about how much Ava would love to see the old Chicago library. I knew Rocket would flip out looking at The Bean. And Georgie, well she would make friends with half the damn city, bringing all that crazy light and love like she always does, my “big boy.”
And so I realized: I’ve spent ten years wishing to go back to a place that was half of what I’ve got now.
I spent ten years filling the time with nostalgia, when the fact is my life is fuller and brighter and infinitely more interesting than it ever was before.
It’s strange the way we’re set free all the sudden, from the shit holding us back and down, if we’re willing to see the truth, and all the ways we’ve been wrong.
Oh, yeah. And Georgia turned 3 on Monday August 5.
I’ll be okay. I’m okay. I’m totally fucking okay people so stop asking.
My best friends threw her a “Big Boy Monster Truck Dinosaur Party,” because those are the things she loves the most and I have the best friends in the entire world. I mean it people. The Best.
Also, p.s. I kind of got away from writing these “week in review” posts, but I’m going to start writing them again. I didn’t mean to stop writing them…it just sort of happened as I sort out writing for other websites, etc. (Look: When I say I’m disorganized and barely pulling shit off, I’M NOT JOKING.)
with all kinds of love,