It may sound cliché, but BlogHer manages to top itself every year by making that year's conference the "best one yet." How do Lisa, Elisa, and Jory do it? Oh, with the little things... like booking President Obama, Katie Couric and Martha Stewart. But also with their uncanny ability to remain accessible, friendly and as real as you or I, all while delivering an event that runs as smoothly as any vehicle carrying over attendees is capable of. Their ever-expanding team of talented and smart women (I'm talking to YOU Diane (MomoFali), Stacy (BklynStacy), and Shannon (Mr. Lady), just to name a very small few...) work really hard to make the event come off this well and I'd just like to say THANK YOU.
My roommate Ann, a fellow Madison (where I USED to live) blogger I am lucky enough to call my Blog-BFF and have roomed with for the past four consecutive BlogHer conferences, said, as we discussed the brilliance of some session or interview we had just participated in/seen, and I have to paraphrase here because I can't remember exactly how she said it, "Amy, can you believe the opportunities that we've been given and the things we've gotten to do since we started our blogs?" And I could honestly answer, "No." I really can't believe it. Starting my blog four years ago has led to some of the closest friendships I've made since college, countless opportunities to meet kindred souls and share what I love doing with them, and probably at least ten really amazing opportunities that I completely squandered because I didn't see them for what they were... or didn't think that I was good enough to fulfill them... or wasn't professional enough to follow through on.
What?! I just threw a little curveball in there, didn't I? You see, this year BlogHer has made me reflective about my blogging career rather than my usual post-BlogHer reveling in the afterglow of so much love and camaraderie...
Which brings me back to BlogHer and how during those four days that I attended the conference, I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to—that the career I want to have was literally just there for me to grab, if I would/could just sit down and write every day. I know I have a book (or three) of stories in me and all I need do is write them down—if I could just do that then putting together the proposals and getting the right meetings will all just fall into place....
And then I returned home to my boys, my husband, my house, my life... There is laundry stacked in at least four rooms, there's a line of ants going from the door to the cat dish, the front room looks like the entirety of the mown lawn's clippings have been deposited on the floor, the stairs have kitty litter dribbled down them, and don't even get me started on the dead cockroach that is on the white tile RIGHT BESIDE THE BATHROOM DOOR.
I ended up being a huge grump with my husband when he got home from work the next day. Partially because after I had shared something I hoped to do in the next few months with him his first comment was that I was "reaching." In a bad way, like my story isn't nearly as special as I think it is. He perhaps meant it merely as a reach for the political implications I projected onto the idea, but my feelings were hurt nonetheless. But mostly I was in a terrible mood because it is such a huge letdown to come back home where the seemingly endless responsibilities, the dirt, the kids, the work of a marriage all converge and overwhelm me—and dash my hopes that I will be able to get more organized and "just get the writing done" like I imagined while gone.
After four days of endless parties, taking meetings, doing dinners, talking with the blogging world's movers and shakers, and generally being treated just short of a rock star at BlogHer—coming home feels like the worst coke hangover of all time.
(Not that I would know, but it looks pretty awful in Less Than Zero.)
So now what? Well, I'm going to make my twice yearly attempt to truly organize my days and will set aside 1 hour for facebook and twitter in the morning, followed by two hours of writing, followed by working out, followed by doing all the myriad other things that need my attention for the rest of the time before the kids get home from school. My kids have entered an entirely new stratosphere of homework requirements, so I am writing off having any free time at night until well after bedtime. If I am truly motivated, I will cut my TV schedule down to just the basics, too (but, God, I hope it doesn't come to that—I need my shows!).
I will also be thinking long and hard about a great conversation that I had with Erica Diamond, the founder of Women on the Fence, at the conference. She has dedicated her life to helping other women find balance in their lives and careers and she really helped me work through some of these emotions, assuring me that I could move forward with my dreams, but that it's okay to wait, too, secure with the knowledge that I will still be able to make it happen when I am ready to "get off the fence" and move forward with my career.
Thanks for inspiring me for another year, BlogHer!!! I'm going to work my ass off to try and make the most of everything I took away from this year's conference, so I can help make 2013's BlogHer the best ever, too.
****CORRECTION / EXPLANATION****
Due to some of the comments made regarding my husband, I'd like to clarify that while I was annoyed with him because he hurt my feelings—I also don't expect him to understand a good portion of my on-line life. What we do in Blogland is kind of bizarre (admit it, it's true!) and though I might want him to understand all the nuances, I know that it is unfair to get mad when he "doesn't get it." He tries to get it, though, and respects that I care deeply about it—which is all I feel comfortable asking him to do.
I am fully aware that I would not be in a position to while away the hours writing and honing my social media expertise if I wasn't being financially supported through his efforts and paycheck. Someday I hope that I can turn that around and support him with my career, but for right now we are as happy as any couple in the weeds of parenthood can be. :)