Saturday, August 01, 2009
I had an amazing and transformational time last weekend at BlogHer09. Plenty of other bloggers have written far more eloquently about the experience, so I'll just say it was all of that and more. I met many new lovely people and re-connected with folks I'd met last year, and laughed so hard I needed to keep my inhaler handy to regain my equilibrium. All these people in the computer? They don't even know my real name and yet we can talk to each other and laugh and somehow we all just GET each other. In my opinion, it's the single most wonderful thing about BlogHer (and blogging in general), that it gives us so many chances to connect with each other, far beyond what daily life offers. It's meaningful shit, yo. I had a couple Deeply Contemplative Moments while in Chicago, from my heavy duty nostalgia at being back in a city that I love to my gratitude at the relationship I have with my cousin, who was my roomie and wingman during the weekend. I loved getting to know a few people better and participating in the swap meet and listening to the amazing stories featured in the Community Keynote session. I learned last year to listen to my brain when it tells me "ENOUGH!" and skipped out on sessions and parties when I needed to, and honestly? It was all good. The session that has stuck with me the most was the "Blogging Identities" panel, where The Redneck Mommy, The Caffeinatrix aka Izzymom, and Annissa Mayhew discussed their experiences blogging both anonymously and in the public eye. I've been blogging on this particular blog for almost 4 years using a pseudonym and have been pretty hardcore about not telling anyone in my life about my blog. I started telling a few people about it last year, and lately a few more. I left the panel thinking, "Someone is going to out me eventually, and I really need to prepare for that." Here's where the convergence comes in: after that session was over, I headed out to an impromptu special-needs blogger gathering right outside the ballroom, and while I was standing there checking out name tags, I saw a woman who had the same name as someone I went to high school with. I covertly watched her, thinking, "Same jawline - it's her!" and then, "Nah, too young looking - I must be a couple years older than her" and dismissed it... until she said, "Your name isn't Velma...!" I was soooo BUSTED! Actually, it was the loveliest outing possible - someone I actually was friendly with in high school has grown into a woman who, despite our short re-acquaintance, it seems I could still be friends with. We share children with similar issues, and I hope we will reconnect more in the future. I just couldn't get past the timing, though... I walk out of a panel thinking, "Oh, man - as careful as I have been to segregate my dual lives, I'm going to get found out..." and then - BAM! Convergence. Blog life? Meet real life! To top it off, I've been planning to re-vamp this blog into a shiny new one, but all the traveling this summer has made it difficult to get started. I've wanted to expand my platform here to encompass more of the things I do and care about, but I kept thinking, "After BlogHer, I'll figure it all out." I've been having a hard time posting the last few months, and I've wanted to take advantage of more opportunities blogging has offered me, and I've been holding back because of my need to stay anonymous. I attended my first "blogger event" at PBS two days before I left for BlogHer, and while I'm not ready to throw off my Velma identity, I have an awful lot to think through about where this blog is headed. Convergence. Between figuring out where I stand on the Promo-Mom spectrum and Blogging with Integrity and re-opening my Etsy store and twining more of my real life relationships into my on-line world and wondering if I need to go back and sanitize my posts, my brain is bubbling away. It seems as if all these threads are being pulled together, but I'm going to need to go slowly with my weaving so I end up with a fabric rather than a tangled knot.