Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm too sleep deprived to come up with an interesting title. So: Post-BlogHer '09 recap post. Yawn.

Raise your hand if you've never said or done something you really wished you could take back.

The three of you who raised your hand, the ones who are either sainted, mute, or have lived alone in a cave all your life, you can put them down. Your prize is waiting for you over there - a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax and a map of the road to Righteousness. Sorry it's 2009, the GPS to the road to Righteousness.

As for the rest of us, we're human. We say dumb things. We DO dumb things. We have a finite amount of time on this earth to try and get things right but in the meantime we're stumbling around in the darkness, feeling our way along the path to being perfect, until St. Peter comes calling and we have to defend our lives in front of God and a choir of sparklingly clean angels with golden ringlets, floating on downy clouds. Or some shit like that. Feel free to insert your own dogma here.

This does not excuse us, however. It doesn't give us a free pass. When one has foot in mouth disease (as I do, and I was called on it this weekend and didn't do nearly enough bowing and scrapping) you learn to live with the nasty aftertaste. When we do something we dearly regret later, as we all have, we need to live with that memory forever.

Where it gets sticky is in the year 2009 we have this thing called The Internet. And The Internet never forgets.

As internet users and internet writers, we have the responsibility to use our words correctly, and in the presence of others we need to check ourselves because chances are there are people watching who aren't afraid to use their words. Words are mighty. Words are powerful. Things written or said - I'm not talking about specifics here - in jest or seriously can be judged and analyzed, blown out of proportion or taken in correct context. And those words that are said out loud or written will come back and hit you where [choose your deity] split you.

So whether your words are being directed toward a corporation or an individual person, keep in mind that you're not living in a bubble.

I don't judge. Like I said, I have occasional diarrhea-of-the-mouth attacks as well as someone-stop-me-from-being-a-dumbass syndrome. You did what you did because for the .02 seconds it took you to decide it seemed like a really good idea. We've all been there. You'll know better next time.

I guess what I'm trying to say, again without getting into specifics because chances are you know the specifics, is that from now on maybe we can start to remember that what we say, write or do is being watched by the world. And the world? It has access to The Internet and it's not afraid to use it.


This was not the post-BlogHer recap that I set out to write.

What I set out to write was all about the positive aspects of this conference from my perspective because for me there were more positive than negative. But after three different revisions and too many rewrites to count, this is what you got. So if you came here for links to the more unpleasant happenings, sorry. You're not getting them here.

But I'll be happy to tell you about what was good about BlogHer '09, as seen by little ol' moi:

I decided to stay away from the panels this year, not because I wasn't interested in what was being said there - to the contrary, I was very interested and wish there was more time - but because I was set on attending the Room of Their Own breakout sessions. And for the most part I was very happy with my choice. Most were very informative and the ones that weren't, well, at least they were entertaining.

The best party had nothing to do with swag, it had to do with friends getting together and dancing like damned fools. To the ladies at MamaPop: Best. Party. EVER. To quote your honorary gay boyfriend, it was legen - wait for it - dary.

My bags made it to Chicago and back and didn't get lost once. Wheeee!

I had a gracious roommate who tolerated my late night tiptoeing (so as not to wake her delectable baby) and genuinely enjoyed her company, if for no other reason than because she's damn funny and she made me laugh and I'd like to think I did the same for her.

I had great non-conference-sponsored meal conversations with wonderful women that both set the tone for my positive weekend experience and nicely wrapped it up (and please let me know if I didn't link to you because I really want to! I just can't deal with sorting through these business cards yet.), and shared cheesy bacon fries and mutual admiration with someone I expected to like, just not as much as I did. I'm now planning on abducting her and moving her into my home.

I approached a writer, who has long been a favorite of mine, after his moving keynote reading and at the risk of being a fan girl told him how much his writing touched me. I may have freaked him out but he didn't run away immediately, so there's that.

I spent quality time with someone who is becoming a cherished friend and met another who, though tiny enough to fit in my pocket, is a powerful force to be reckoned with and as genuine a person as you'll ever meet. Just don't try to get past her at a party.

I met my twin (okay, not in an outwardly physical way but trust me, twins.) and though we didn't spend enough time talking, we finally were able to speak face to face. And discussed the skunking of her dog. If I could I would take the train to her, rescue her from the stench and bring her to live at my house. I'm thinking of starting a commune.

I introduced myself to others I knew only by blog or Twitter name or avatar; in elevators, in bathrooms, in the hallways, just because. Shook hands and shared hugs, just because. Danced wildly, even though it's not my nature, and laughed hysterically, which is in my nature, just because. Was even coerced into going out to a nightclub at 2am (fer chrissake) against my better judgement and I'm glad I did, just because. But most important I made personal connections, just because I wanted to.

I talked with old friends and made new ones. Yes, the people in the computer are my friends. The gin was only a partial help because a majority of this was done during daylight hours.

All in all, swag or no swag, an experience I'm happy to remember over and over.

And now I need a nap.


Victoria said...

You went link spastic. I admire it. I am just too lazy to link love from blogher.

I have photos... oh do I have photos...

Did you know we throw gang signs? I had no idea. West Coast ones too.

Lara said...

I know, I know, I said this on Twitter already, but it deserves to be said again: I loved meeting you! And I'm still embarrassed that I couldn't see you at first even when you were RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE.

Andi said...

So glad to hear about all the fun you had, it is truly all about the people and the experience that you make of it!

SciFi Dad said...

Here's the thing about BlogHer: every year I read about it as the posts written in anticipation are published, and I feel envious and wish to be there.

Then the recaps start coming in (I don't use twitter, so I wait for blogs to recap) and I am presented with a much more polarizing image: you have this Woodstock-esque peace, love and happiness thing going on at the surface, but beneath that it seems like everyone is taking notes and making lists of all the fuck ups, whether they are about swag or hobbits or sponsorship for BlogHer 2020.

And after reading all about it, both good and bad, I'm sort of glad I wasn't there, at least in some respects.

(That, and the fact that if I ever did go, most people would look at me and say, "Who?" when I introduced myself or my blog. My fragile ego couldn't take it.)

Erin Walsh said...

Great post! Its nice to hear a (mostly) postivie review of BlogHer. For those of us who can't go (or would feel silly because we have no reason to go) its very nice to hear that its not all swag stealing, elbow bashing craziness. Good for you!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

SciFi Dad - But I'd say more than not, most people's experiences are positive ones whether there is drama or not. And there always is and yet we still keep going back so what does that tell you?

And I would know who you are, not by face but still... So there you go.

V - WHERE ARE THESE PICTURES?? And yes, I know we threw gang signs. I have a habit of doing that. It's a problem.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Lara - *smooch*

Jen said...

Awww thanks for the linky love, it was so great to finally meet you! I enjoyed our lunch, one of the highlights of the trip.

AnnetteK said...

I love that we got to spend as much time together as we did, (even if much of it was standing in line at the airport!) and I just adore you.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Aw, cherished friend. Thank you for the goosebumps and right back at you, sistah. Looking forward to our next big adventure. Don't you wish we could fit that little mystical hobbit in our pocket and drag her along for the ride?

Blogher '10---Boston or Bust(ed)!

SciFi Dad said...

Chicky - I know what you're saying about it generally being a positive experience, and I have no doubt that it would be for most people in hindsight. However, in the immediate aftermath the drama always seems to outshine the feel-good stuff.

(And woohoo for me! 1/1400th of the population knows who I am! What would I do with the rest of my weekend after abusing your politeness for the socially acceptable five minutes? I kid, really.)

Heather said...

I often feel the same as SciFi Dad. I want to go then I hear of a lot of drama and negativity and I just don't need that. And also no one would know who I am as well!

I don't know what the first part of this post is about, but if you said something in the moment, yes I agree we've all been there. Hugs to you and don't be so hard on yourself.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I really missed being there and seeing you. Too sniffly to say much more at this point.

BOSSY said...

Oh fer chrissake, more smooches from Bossy.

cryitout said...

I am so thrilled we met -- it was definitely one of the top highlights of the whole conference for me, getting to hang out for a bit. So thank YOU for not running away when I just attached myself to your group for the manel. Seriously, I hope we can do that again. It was wonderful talking with you!

And what sci-fi dad said. It was positive for 99.9 percent, I would bet, but lordy ahmighty -- the before and after drama is quite comical!

Childsplayx2 said...

I'm trying to figure out what the "daylight hours" has to do with you drinking gin. Or was it wine during the day and hard liquor at night?

Anonymous said...

First of all, aside from calling me Alex once or twice (k, once), what could you have said that was so embarassing that it required a whole post? Besides, EVERYONE is stupid sometimes. At least you do it wit grace.

Had a great time with you, Chicky! To more local meet-ups - soon!!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Heather and Jill - To clarify, it wasn't just what I said but different things said or written by a lot of people this weekend that I'm sure they'd like to take back. This is me, absolving of sins. Yes I have that power.

M - What I meant was most of the meeting of people that I did was done during the day, so Hooray! me for not needing liquid courage. So much clarifying, I should not be allowed to write on 0 hours sleep.

Audrey at Barking Mad said...

I was so very glad to read this. It seems like there is a plethora of blogs all too willing to share the negative side of BlogHer '09 and I'm getting a wee bit tired of it.

If anything sealed the deal on me going to NYC for BlogHer '10, it was this post.

Thanks T!

Amalah said...

You were the best roommate. You kept my baby away from power cords, you waited patiently to go downstairs with me while I ran around the room looking for five dozen things every morning that I'd managed to misplace, and also? You have a really nice hair dryer. WIN.

Skippin' Rope said...

A perfect sum up of the fabulousness that was BlogHer 09 for me. I love it! Ya know, just now insert the links of people I meet, and talk about the late night McDonald's run instead of a 2am club HAHA but all in all it's the same right?

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jodifur said...

1st of all, I meant to tell you this all weekend, you are gorgeous! Gorgeous! And gracious. And thanks for tolerating my where is Amy questions?

Lovely to meet you. You have always been one of my favorite tweets.

TwoBusy said...

Huh. That's really nice, in kind of an unexpected way. It sounds like what I'd hope might happen, but would never anticipate actually experiencing.

Good for you.

Ree said...

It was lovely meeting you Tania. I'm so glad we had the chance to hug!

josetteplank.com said...

I loved meeting you. Which is strange to say, because after reading you for so long, I feel like I knew at least a good bit about you. And when I actually met you for reals, I didn't feel nervous or awkward that I'd have to make some, any, impression on you. You are gracious and funny and allowed me to be myself without any reservations on my part, and that is more than just a neat trick for any human.

You know, I said a whole lot this weekend that I now regret. Not because I was intentionally being mean or because out of all the things I could have said, I consciously chose to say the most head-scratching or hurtful thing. In the moment, I'm not always good with my words - which is why, I think, most people say, "I'm more who I am in my writing." We are able to think more carefully about how to say who we are, and even when we write the wrong thing, or with a knee-jerk, we have a chance to edit or at least explain ourselves more fully and without interruption in our writing.

I don't think it's back-pedaling. I think it's just a reflection of the layers of who we are. Yes, I have yet to meet someone perfect. The closest I can get is someone who is self-aware enough to realize that they are imperfect and who tries to, in the end, make their better self heard. Yes we have to be careful with what we say in the first place; I think we need to be more careful not to hold onto our hurts so much that we don't allow people to be their better selves.

I did/said some stupid things this weekend. I was blessed that everyone whose toes I pedaled over allowed me later to make amends and or at least explain my position with more eloquence than I can "in real life".

From one powerhouse to another ;-), you made my experience a BlogHer fan-freaking-tastic.

Chic Mama said...

glad you had fun!

I've tagged you in a Meme.

Anissa Mayhew said...

You make me happy. My bags are packed by the door. I'll be sitting there waiting for you to come kidnap me. Does that make me an enabler?

GAHHH, I love you!

Lisa said...

Am now severely bummed that I couldn't get my sh*t together in time to get tix for this year. But I'm planning to go next year and secretly hope we run into each other!

I'm not saying I'm going to, ahem, camp outside your hotel room...per se... :-)

Unknown said...

Great post! And I loved our non-sponsored dinner - it was a great way to catch up in a relaxed way.


Danielle said...

Tania, I think that this post is wonderful and honest. I agree with you about so many points. I'm glad you were able to mix the good with the bad, and still come out sounding fair.

I wish we had more time to talk when we were kidnapped into dancing! But you'd better believe I'll be looking for you next year, sister.

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