The treacherous journey to BlogHer14 is over and I am back in my world where hardly anyone knows I blog and no one ever asks to take a photo of me because I look like The Little Mermaid. I can safely say that any fear or anxiety was entirely unwarranted– no one gives a rats arse how your toenails look or whether you wear the same belt every single day (I did– until I sneezed on the flight home and it completely snapped in two). Beyond that, I have to admit there was a lot about this weekend that caught me totally off guard and it’s taken a moment to process and properly glean The Good, The Bad, and The Awkward.
THE GOOD: People Are Awesome
My very first internet person that I got to meet was Jana from Stop Me If I Told You…and shortly after that, Katia of I Am The Milk. They were even cooler than I’d imagined they would be. I can also brag that I’ve seen the actual human faces behind the avatars of Darcy Perdu, Foxy Wine Pocket, and Princess Rosebud (though hers was only briefly, as she vivaciously flounced in, placed seashells around my neck and then yelled “I’ll be right back, I have to go get my husband drunk!” She was like a magical apparition and I never saw her again after that.
My roommate, Gunmetal Geisha, arrived that evening and picked me up like a hooker on the side of the road. I was so excited that I spontaneously started dancing, which was apparently seen by a few people who later met me and were like “oh yes, I saw you dancing on the street corner.”
I am very good at cultivating a positive reputation.
THE BAD: Want To Publish a Book? Tough Shite.
I attended the pre-conference Pathfinder Day on becoming a published author– not realizing I’d actually signed up to attend one man’s masturbatory exercise in proclaiming his immense worth to the world. I don’t mean to be ungracious about the opportunity… but if I’d realized I was flying in a day early and paying an extra $150 to hear this guy talk about being the most impressive and most original whatever-the-hell-he-was since who-the-feck-cares then I would have stayed home and filed my toenails or reorganized my iTunes library. Here is what I learned from him:
1. The whole of humanity should prostrate itself at his feet and beg for the opportunity to listen to his voice.
2. Self-publishing is for losers, don’t do it. People will laugh at you.
3. Blogging isn’t really writing, but if you have 20 MILLION hits a month then maybe you have a chance.
4. Don’t bother trying to find an agent, they won’t want you. You have to be impressive like him and win some amazing award so that 7 agents will call and beg to represent you.
5. If you’re ever as immensely successful as him, you’ll have the opportunity to wrestle with such problems as “should I turn down this $100,000 advance?”
6. He doesn’t know Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor, he knows him as “Arnold.”
7. In order to be successful, you have to “hope that lightning strikes you” and that there is “good voodoo” but most likely… it’s not gonna happen.
The one redeeming aspect of this whole show was Margaret Dilloway— author of How To Be An American Housewife —who shared her story of becoming a published author– spoiler alert: She’s a great writer, who did a lot of work, networked, and was open about the struggles she faced along the way. It was quite refreshing to hear from the normal side of the room since I was beginning to think I’d strayed onto the set of The Hunger Games and that if I even dreamed of publishing a book The Capitol would take my children from me and make them fight to the death.
Margaret even sat there and emailed her agent throughout the session to have our questions answered. It was almost as though she wanted to be helpful and not just hear the magical sounds of her own voice booming through a microphone.
ALSO BAD – I Fail at Sexy
I had every intention of being an amazing Girlfran and sending racy photos to The Boyfran, whom I assumed would be brokenhearted and in the depths of despair over my absence. I went ahead and snapped these photos while my hair was at it’s cleanest and the lighting at it’s kindest and then proceeded to accidentally transfer every single one of them onto Gunmetal Geisha’s laptop. Not only did this security breach mean I was setting myself up for episode #2 of having my naked photos go viral but the transfer had deleted them from my iPhone which meant no fun for The Boyfran. I did, however, send him this:
THE AWKWARD- I Don’t Know How To Behave In Public
I managed to mistakenly assume that a woman was trying to reach backwards and shake my hand when, in fact, she was asking for a business card– so I put my LEFT hand sideways onto hers and sort of awkwardly moved it around as well as my bent elbow would allow. She gave me the sort of look your friend gives you when you’re stopping for gas in the middle of nowhere and realize you’re in a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think she actually tried to scream in horror but it was like a bad dream and nothing came out.
That night at the expo, Gunmetal Geisha and I were on a mission to obtain as much free booze as possible. This mission was thwarted by my newly manifested drinking problem, as I spilled the same cocktail on myself 3 separate times.
STOP YOUR FRETTING: No One Cares What You Look Like
Unless, of course, they can make money off of you. The “swag bag” we were given at check-in contained three separate brochures for cosmetic enhancements like botox and other things you can inject in your face. If that’s the route you want to go, more power to you– but it seemed a bit jarring that two of the biggest messages we were repeatedly told were “I Am Enough” and “Selfiebration!” yet they were immediately appealing to whatever insecurity they could find from the second I walked in the door.
“You’re enough– but with poofier lips, you could be even more!”
DIRTY DETAILS: Were The Women Biatches?
Absolutely not– 100% of the people I met in person after knowing online were even cooler than I’d expected. 99.2% of the people I met otherwise were also awesome but who wants to hear about that? Let’s focus on the .8%
#1: Surly Girl I Tried To Talk To Outside The Bathroom – she looked at me like a piece of shite she’d come very close to stepping on and then narrowly missed. Her friend then joined her and they linked arms (might have made that part up) and walked away discussing what I’d just said, while laughing (didn’t make that part up).
#2: Angry Woman At Crosswalk – She started berating and snarling at Gunmetal Geisha and I because she and her friends had accidentally followed us across the street like mindless lemmings.
“Excuse me, why did you walk while the orange hand was up? That’s not when you walk.”
GG tried to explain the wonders of red lights and the fun of risky behaviors but the woman interrupted her.
“But there was broken glass in the street. And a cop was watching, he could have arrested all of us because of you.”
Only a few hours earlier, I’d met a charming transient named Gavin who had agreed to be in our video and then started smoking pot on that exact same street corner, because “the cops don’t bother you unless you’re already wanted by the law.” I hardly doubt we were going to be arrested for rushing a crosswalk. My theory is that this woman missed her children so much that she was on the hunt for anyone she could snap at and nag for merely existing.
FUN: Some Things That Definitely Happened
1. I took Jell-O shots with Julie DeNeen, who did all the techy stuff for this site. I ended up with a hickey on my upper lip that sort of looks like a shadowy mustache but is tragically impossible to capture in photos.
2. I danced my arse off whilst gulping sangria and eventually ended up traipsing around downtown San Jose whilst eating out of a happy meal box.
3. I preached to a hotel room of women about the merits of not wearing underwear.
ALSO FUN: Some Things I Think Happened But It’s A Bit Foggy
1. I welcomed a group of non-bloggers onto the Fairmont elevator and told them I would be their guide for the journey we were about to take.
2. I paid a street magician named Justin $1 for guessing my card right— King of Diamonds, if I recall.
3. We stood on top of a concrete ledge and a guy on the sidewalk took our photo after I told him he better not steal the phone because I’m a fast runner (this is not actually true + I’d just consumed a Happy Meal)
OMG: Famous People!
Kerry Washington was lovely and very normal. I don’t know why she’s billed as an activist but maybe they got into that after 1PM– which was about the time that GG and I left to go order champagne at a nearby cafe.
Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) somehow managed to be even more cool than she is on her blog or in her book. She blew my damn mind. She told us to cut the arms off of babies, revealed she was wearing fake hair she’d bought in Colorado since she couldn’t buy weed, and looked out in the crowd and told us that one of us might someday be sitting on that same stage, delivering a keynote. I felt dreamy eyed that perhaps she was speaking to me… but then realized that would likely never happen, especially thanks to the video (DOWN BELOW) that GG and I made to document the TRUE experience of what it’s like to attend BlogHer.
CONCLUSION: I Give it 8 out of 10 Goats
It was an amazing experience, but mostly because of the people I got to meet and hang out with. I cannot stress how unbelievably cool everyone was. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about (and I’m talking about you). I’m hoping for more opportunities to meet up with people offline and I can’t wait to see how many photos get uploaded in the coming days that include me carrying out my mission to photobomb as many people as possible. Hopefully no one snapped any sneaky photos of me looking like a weirdy– which is exactly what I’m guest-posting about on Meno Mother today– photograph at your own risk, you may end up falling on your arse. If there is anything I ultimately took away from this experience, it’s that I need to learn how to take a selfie without my damn mouth hanging open like a fish waiting to be hooked.
If you were at BlogHer— how does your experience compare to mine? How would you react to someone telling you your dreams or ambitions were hopeless? Do you feel like you’re “enough?”
And finally…. as though this post weren’t enough, here’s what it’s REALLY like at BlogHer:
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