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I went to BlogHer and all I got was…

a(n all TOO) close encounter with irritable bowel syndrome, an inflated inferiority complex and my period.

Before I get into the moment by moment break down of my conference experience I think I should first preface this post by saying any and all general negativity derived cannot really be blamed on any one or thing other than myself.

This experience taught me, if nothing else, that I am not a particularly good social networker, either on or offline and although I think I might possibly one day be an a’ight blogger, I will never be anything close to an “elite” persona because it’s just. not. me.

I am pretty sure my perspective of the conference was different from that of most attendees. I didn’t stay at the hotel or attend any of the keynotes or parties. 

Because of this?

I’m pretty sure I missed out on a large chunk of the experience. Again, nobody’s fault but my own. From the beginning I wasn’t really interested in attending parties or the immersing myself in the overwhelming social aspect of this event.

In retrospect, I guess that was my first mistake since so much of BlogHer is about hobnobbing and gettin’ down during off-hours.

*sigh*

Let’s do this shall we?

I start Friday morning off fairly well. I get up, have my coffee, get dressed and I’m actually out the door ahead of schedule!

We-ow!

My main goal is to attend all the available sessions so I can gain as much how-to-be a better blogger tids and bits as logistically possible.

There is a welcome breakfast followed by something called “Speed Dating, BlogHer-style” that I’m not all that keen on making it to NYC in time for. Knowing what I know now, my lack of interest in activities such as these should have probably been an early sign to me that I wasn’t going to get as much from this conference as countless others BUT I’m stubborn, so on we go…

Everything is going according to plan, I’m in the car driving up the turnpike, listening to a little Rilo Kiley for inspiration and good vibes when ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of a sudden… my innards start shouting Mayday! and I have nary a floatation device at hand.

If you know what I’m saying…

I’m talking this is the WORST and I do mean The. Worst. stomach pains I’ve ever had so far away from a toilet in-my-entire-life. I don’t have much recourse here but to take deep breaths and pray to a god I’m not so sure gives a shit about my GI problems.

The severe pains persist all the way through the Lincoln Tunnel up into Manhattan.

Have I mentioned that at this point I have fallen a bit off course and I’m now stuck in traffic on a street I shouldn’t have turned down in the first place?

Because I am.

So I get to the Hilton with some time to spare and I ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun to the bathroom where next to nothing happens. That’s right. Next to nothing. Let’s leave it at that. So whatever, I’m still on schedule and I didn’t crap my pants.

The first session is O.K. Kind of vague and over-generalized and initiate my feelings of inferiority in this particular atmosphere.  It’s at this point where I first start to fear that: I do not belong.

Lunch feels like something out of the first day of highschool; shuffling my way into a large room cautiously glancing about for the sight of a familiar, or at least non-hostile, face.

I begin to feel as I often do when stressed and unsure: not hungry.

After lunch, or as I had – half of a 1/5 of a sandwich and 2 pieces of watermelon, I skip outside to partake in an activity often used as a crutch, security blanket or just plain god-awful but for whatever reason, unavoidable, addiction: smoking. I’m not proud to say that I still use cigarettes as a social tool but I never said I was perfect. Anyway, thank GOD for smoking because that’s where I start to feel the natural ease of fraternization return.

I often use the term organic when referring to situations that unfold in a natural, unforced way. I hate being fake or feeling fake or pressured to “perform” in order to adapt myself to large social settings.  I’m not in the business of getting people to like me under false pretense. I am who I am and unfortunately (for me) that means I’m not all that marketable, at least not to those who aren’t willing to break through my crunchy exterior and the find the warm and gooey mess that lurks beneath my crackly shell.

Try not to take that last part too literally…

I did meet one person who seemed up to the challenge of my (apparently) prickly personality though I doubt I made a huge splash with most of the other folks at the conference. I’ve always been that person who is often pigeonholed as snobby or aloof when really I just hate small talk. Is that SO wrong?

Ugh. It is isn’t it?

So, instead of fitting in or making friends right off the bat, I usually come off as a strange awkward alien or I just make unintentional enemies. The honest to god truth is that of the (very few) people I am still friends with since my childhood I can’t think of a single one who upon first knowing me who just did NOT like me. Then again, I am a shitty friend so, I guess I fooled THEM!

foolish, FOOLISH, sucka...

So day one is over and I leave feeling at least a little better now that I had found ONE person who seemed to not want to flee in terror from my presence. I get seriously lost on my way back to the Lincoln Tunnel due to my having absolutely NO sense of direction (thanks, Dad!). I finally make it home, just a lot later than I should have.

Day two’s drive is EXPONENTIALLY better than day one, with no almost-exploding-bowel-syndrome or inconvenient slow-motion tours down 7th Ave.

On a Friday.

During rush hour.

Because that was fun.

I meet up with my new friend for a smoke before the first sessions of the day and already feel better than I did the day before.

*objects in this picture are not as close as they seem. (i'm pretty sure my camera was on 20x zoom or, as I like to call it, super-stealth-stalk-mode a.k.a. i'm way too embarrassing to actually go up to her and ask for a real picture so this will have to do)

I attend the session with Jenny the Bloggess, mainly because I think she’s cute and hilarious and a complete and total inspiration to me as both a blogger and a humorist and she proves to be all that and more. She is probably even more cute and funny in person even though I never thought it humanly possible or particularly fair to the rest of us. There are numerous times she has the crowd lol-ing in their seats and at one point I’m thinking someone might misconstrue the literal SCREAMS of laughter for screams of slaughter.

Apparently no one else was all that concerned…

As far as day two of the conference, this is the highlight of my day. Aside from lunch, that is. The rest of the sessions leave me feeling *kind of* depressed. I begin to feel more and more out of my element as the day wears on and being that it’s the bee’s birthday my mind is most definitely elsewhere.

I swear that in writing about this experience it was not my goal to bad-mouth or bash BlogHer. It just wasn’t really the right fit for ME. Had I been a bit more immersed in “the scene” or been a mom, or more of a business oriented woman of tomorrow, it may have been more impactful. In a good way. Instead I just felt like I didn’t belong. It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that I discovered this thing called “Birds of a Feather” where you sign up on a list to sit with/meet like-minded bloggers.

Had I known about this sooner, I probably would have exchanged a lot more business cards…

All in all it was a learning experience and I did walk away with a lot more knowledge than I had to begin with but more than anything I learned that I just don’t belong with the BlogHer crowd. In a few years time? Perhaps. I think I would benefit from a smaller blogging offline network, one where I wouldn’t feel like SUCH a small fish in an all-encompassing ocean of internet experience and clique-ish-ness.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh yeah. I went there…

I want to wrap this up by saying that in almost every way BlogHer lived up to the expectations I set around it before I ever set foot in the Hilton. I knew it would be clique-y and miles above my head technically and professionally. The problem that I had was BlogHer didn’t exceed my expectations, which I had so hoped it would and probably all of us hope will happen no matter what situation we’re thrown into.

And, yet again, whose fault is this?

***please point fingers in direction of computer screen***

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probably, definitely not worth it…

Perhaps you noticed that there was no new “Bee-ject’s” post this past weekend?

Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, not. 

Either way, the-bee-weekly-reject-picture-posts are being put on an indefinite hiatus.

Now, before you turn into an inconsolable bleary eyed rage-ball that throws their hard drive through the window screaming “WHY INNERNETS, WHY?!!!“, this (possibly permanent) loss doesn’t mean that the bee won’t continue to document his daily picture-taking project on his blog (even though he’s been like SERIOUSLY lax with posting regularly. again, i implore you to go visit his site and leave him a strongly worded comment in ALL CAPS so maybe, just maybe, he snaps out of it).

ANYWAY…

Life is complicated and busy and I can relate to not being able to meet every single self-imposed deadline no matter how much I might want to. I’m still anticipating the stress and doubtless crippling social-anxiety that will afflict me at next week’s BlogHer conference, but I’m doing my best to take things in stride. Due to that, posting will likely be light for the next week or so while I gather the strength/attempt to re-wire my nerves so that I might function like a “normal” human being in a massive social-networking group jam session.

Or whatever…

In my last BlogHer freak-out post I mentioned my lack of excitement over the prospect of designing a business card for the BlogHer ’10 event. However, it appeared to be a necessary evil so I sucked it up and did it. Here’s what I came up with:

I’m sharing this with you now because maybe you’re not going to BlogHer and you’re just really interested in how I pretend to be successful and “grown-uppy” (not sure how grown-up vomiting cats are but, whatevs). Even if you are going and we actually do end up meeting at the conference, I’m not entirely sure I’m going to have the guts to hand these out. I guess this is due, once again, to my persistent lack of self-esteem and the shitty school of thought that repeatedly pokes me in the brain saying “What makes you think anyone cares about YOUR stupid blog, huh?!” which, clearly, isn’t doing me any favors.

An area of self-deprecation that I am, no doubt, deserved of is being a hopelessy hopeless loser-faced procrastinator. Although procrastination tends to serve me well since I tend to thrive under the pressure of last minute-ness it RARELY helps me out in the frugality department.

Take these business cards for instance…

I found a reasonably priced outlet to create the card, uploaded my own design, bing-bang-boom, move on to check-out only to find that the cards would likely arrive AFTER the conference.

Shit.

Thankfully they had an expedited option which promised delivery within 3 business days! Too bad the cards were now going to cost me DOUBLE what the original quote was.

Now, had I just ordered them a week earlier I could have saved myself a good heap of cash. So, by early next week, I should have in my possession 250 custom business cards that likely won’t get much more action than getting carelessly jammed into my bag and if they’re lucky they’ll spend some time between my two front teeth in lieu of a more common pesky food eradication device.

Which makes me think the expedited shipping was probably, definitely not worth it.

It’s also hotter than a sub-Saharan monkey’s butthole (and no, i have no idea what this means, if it’s true or even geographically possible. i just like the way it sounds) up in here and even Stinky is feeling the heat.

His desire to be as close to me as humanly possible at all times seems to be outweighed by his need to maintain a healthy body temperature so his innards don’t start to liquefy which means he’s been alternating sitting on my lap and sitting on the floor inches from my desk chair all morning.

and that's not to say what his super-furry heat-conducting-ultra-lap-warming-self is doing for my already sweaty nether-bits. TMI?

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I B Freakin’

A few months ago I wrote about how I was still on the fence about going to BlogHer ’10. Long story short, I spent so much time straddling that damn thing that I missed my chance completely. Early bird registration came and went and then so did all the regular priced tickets. I figured it just wasn’t meant to be and even though I signed myself up for their waiting list I was secretly happy that I wouldn’t have to shell out a few hundo for the event.

As more time passed I started to think maybe my saving myself the money hadn’t been worth all that I would miss at the conference. As much as I’d like to envision myself as a Dooce or a Bloggess in 10 years time, I don’t know the first thing about blogging for bucks or even blogging all that well, so if I ever wanted to chase that dream, this was my chance.

As they often do, the fates aligned and I got my chance at BlogHer redemption. Reading through blogs (as I am wont to do during the work day) I came across a post that Mayopie wrote, offering up his 2-day conference pass that he no longer needed. Maybe BlogHer ’10 WAS meant to be after all! After a few days of back and forth emails the pass was mine and I was one step closer to world domination.

Given all that…

Can somebody please tell me why the reality of all this makes me want to upchuck my lunch?!

BlogHer is about 3 weeks away but already I feel like I’m going to be my normal awkward, anti-social self who will wish she could turn around and go home the minute she steps into the Hilton/find the darkest loneliest corner to hide in until it’s all over and OH GOD! What if somebody tries to talk to me?! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhh! but, Oh NO! What if NOBODY talks to me?!!! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh…

How big of a mistake have I made by signing on for this thing?

I just read through the BlogHer ’10 “Checklist” of things to bring and things to do in preparation and let me tell you, it’s not making me feel any more relaxed. Especially the part about bringing a “Business card with your blog’s URL and/or Twitter handle”.

BUSINESS CARD?!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Ugh.

I read a post that Schmutzie wrote on tips to consider when creating your business card which was actually quite informative but I’m at an impasse: what the hell kind logo do I create for my card when I can’t even decide what kind of blog it is that I have here?

Am I a personal blogger?

Yeah, kind of. I talk about my life to an extent but I don’t really get into grittier topics for good reason (Hi there, Mom! Dad! Gramm!) and I do hold a lot back that I would most definitely share if I were slightly more anonymous. I’ve got some killer stories that will forever stay on the shelf because some of the people involved actually read this blog and I’m not in the business of hurting anyone’s feelings or alienating the few friends I have left.

Am I a humor blogger?

Eh… maybe. SOMETIMES. Though I think some of my funniest stuff is often times unintentional.

Good thing? Bad thing? You tell me…

Am I a photo blogger?

On occasion. I like to take pictures and all but are there people out there that DON’T? Doesn’t that kind of make everyone a photographer? That’s a lot of competition, yo. How the hell do you make yourself stand out with that?!

I dunno. Maybe I’m over-analyzing all this and intensifying the negative (that is what I do best, after all) but in the year or so since I started blogging, I have not found a way to appropriately “brand” myself. Maybe it’s because I hate labels and trying to fit things into neat little compartmentalized categories even though I will still try to do it because of my own obsessive need for order.

Have I mentioned that being me is AWESOME?

The more I read about successful bloggers the more I hear that one of the biggest pieces to completing that puzzle is to find your unique niche or brand so you will stand apart from the rest. But what if you can’t? Does that determine imminent failure from the start?

I’d really love to hear some feedback on this subject. Are YOU going to BlogHer this year? Have you ever attended a BlogHer or like-minded conference? Are my biggest fears irrational at best or am I totally in the right for freaking the fuck out over this thing?

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BlogHer Bound?

I’ve only got 3 more days to make my move on early bird registration for this year’s BlogHer conference in NYC. The Bee has been on my case to sign-up for a while now but, as usual, I’ve decided my best bet is to wait until the last minute and then stress over the impending deadline. I am not even entirely sure that I belong at a place like that but here’s to finding out!

The crap side to this story is that this year’s conference falls ever so inconveniently on The Bee’s birthday and that means I’ll be there and he’ll be, well wherever he wants I guess. It’s his birthday. Maybe a full day away from me is the best birthday gift I could give him….

Needless to say, I’m torn

and chicken shit.

I’m just scared that it’s going to be me, alone, walking into a convention hall full of seasoned and sought-after bloggers only to end up sitting alone in a corner wishing I was just a speck of dirt on the carpet hoping some vacuum would come by and suck me up already.

Nobody likes to feel like a friendless loser but I suppose the only way to “make friends” is to just be present and try for chrissake.

*quick sidenote*

My gramm likes to embarrass me by telling everyone that I’m “shy” when the truth is I generally like to sit back and observe my surroundings before jumping into anything headfirst. Being called shy generally drives me crazy, 1. because I don’t think I am and 2. because for whatever reason, when you are being referred to as such it just comes off negatively, like being that way is a major defect to one’s character.

That being said, I could use some feedback:

What would you do?

Will YOU be attending BlogHer ’10?

If yes, will you be my friend?

Any past BlogHer experiences/tips/suggestions you would like to share?

Am I freaking out unnecessarily or is it totally appropriate to feel like throwing up about something that’s still 6 months away?

HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP!

Oh yeah, and THIS is the view from outside my window:

yet again.

Pretty and all but, really, nature?

REALLY?

I think it’s high time to QUIT. IT.

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