I had been working on this post for a while. I had been waiting, hoping it would not be necessary. Days are ticking by and I have yet to find a companion blogger for the upcoming BlogHer 2010 conference taking place this August in New York City.
I am going.
I’ll be one of at least 1500 bloggers attending, and though I have made quite a few connections through this blog, none of them are attending the conference. The only ones I have heard of who will be there are the “A List” bloggers, the ones with thousands of followers and at least 100 comments per post. Sure, I know of them and I enjoy their blogs, but they do not know me and they do not read mine.
Oh, of course I have it in the back of my head that I could walk right up to some of my favorites, like Mom-101, Sundry, or The Blogess and say “Hi, I’m Maria from Mom et al, and I think you are a kick ass writer!” *Have I told you I SUCK at networking?* I could totally pull that off and would attempt do so sans any starry-eyed gushing. No problem, right? They are just people after all, and I believe in myself enough to know that I deserve to be there among them.
Positive affirmation: I can do this.
But there are moments; wide awake in the middle of the night quiet moments when my brain shouts at me, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?” I can walk up and say hello, but then what? Stand there smiling and looking awkward before I run and hide under a table cloth? No, no, no. That will not do.
These A List Bloggers (an affectionate term for them from over here on the D List) have been writing for a long time and truly are considered celebrities within the blogging community. They have already formed their circles of friends and while I am certain they would smile and be gracious and say “thank you” for my compliments, they will not be spending their time with me, or with any of the other 1000+ bloggers just like me in attendance. I need to find my own circle of friends. Even just one would be nice. Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil warned that I could have a hard time at the conference on my own if I do not find companionship, and I fear she may be right.
Here I am a few months away from the conference with the ticket paid in full, hotel booked, vacation time reserved, a travel idea involving passage by train formulating, a mental packing list continuously evolving, and no one to talk to. No one to ask, “Hey, what are you wearing?” I’m crazy. I’m totally insane. What was I thinking? I cannot do this by myself. I am in desperate need of a buddy system.
Perhaps a heartfelt plea? A shot in the dark? OOOH! A classified ad!
WANTED: Blogger, equipped with a ticket to the BlogHer 2010 Conference in New York City, and seeking another blogging friend to share the experience. Reservations for CheeseburgHer and Sparklecorn a plus. If you share a love of blogging, all day meetings, food, and astounding conversation, contact Mom et al! A passion for beer and wine appreciated.
When I boldly signed up I concentrated on the fact that the conference is taking place only a few hours away from home, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I refused to sit home again this year, green faced and watching everyone enjoy it over Twitter. I knew there had to be someone else out there who was just like me; alone, but compelled to take the chance and go anyway.
I simply have not found her yet.
Sometimes I am OK with that. What I am realizing, is getting through this trip traveling solo means as much to me as attending the conference. This is me producing the person I have always found myself too afraid to be. I do not like to be alone. I do not like to do things alone. I had spent years living in fear of what was out there. Sometimes the desire to isolate and hide still creeps in on me. What if I become lost? What if I do or say the wrong things? What if I am not accepted? What if I allow every childhood fear I have ever had to run amok?
I will not allow that to happen. I will go. I will have fun. I will get my extroverted ass out there and make friends. I will have the weekend away I dream this can be. I will converge with like minds and learn how to better my craft.
Or I could cower away in my hotel room, hiding in the bath tub and jumping in a fright when the maid service tries to enter.
Obviously there is a part of me who is still quite timid about this. As the conference draws closer I experience a range of emotions on a daily basis. At any time you could find me somewhere along this line:
Hyperventilation——What Have I Done——It Could Be Fun——I Got This Bitch
Blogging is an amazing vehicle for me. It has awoken a quiet strength. There is a bizarre safety behind these keys; something about being faceless that allows you to speak words on page with much more bravery than you would ever permit to pass through your lips. I have felt the change within me. It is as though the part of me here that can exclaim and admit and condone and celebrate just about anything through my fingertips is slowly tuning the cords of my larynx. Cords that have so often lay dormant are exercising, thickening. I believe this personal journey enabled me to find the courage to purchase that ticket. I just need to dig a little deeper and then let me out to benefit from the experience.
Positive Affirmation: I know I can do this.
Still, if you happen to be going to BlogHer and are looking for a friend…