in which i am anxious about the prom. i mean blogher12

I’ve been to a lot of conferences and have the pile of name-tags somewhere to prove it.  The conferences blur together: large industrial-strength hotel, lots of people swirling through elevators and escalators, people talking to other people in small rooms and in big rooms. Mostly it’s people talking.

Talking is one key component.  The other? Anxiety.

Conferences and anxiety go together. Are you job hunting, job hiring, presenting a paper, introducing a paper, meeting new colleagues, “networking,” dodging the person with whom perhaps you had a wee indiscretion at the last conference?  Whatever your situation, there’s anxiety about it.

This year, I’m going to BlogHer, which started a while back as a small, intimate gathering of women who did this new-fangled thing called online web logs…and now it’s a gathering of about 4000 online writers (not all of whom are women), gathering to talk tech, writing, politics, sex, laundry, unicorns, pretty much everything. The conference is in New York (might want to avoid midtown that first weekend in August, lest you be mowed down by iphone-wielding folk instagramming everything in their paths), I’m going to be in New York, I figured, hell, I’m a conference veteran, I’ll just sign up and go.

Easypeasy, right?

But now? Less than three weeks out? Oh good lord the nerves. Who will talk to me? Who will I talk to? Will I end up making chitchat with some sad crudite platter at the cash bar?

I’m looking forward to meeting all the wonderful writers who have become friendly voices in the loneliness of my first expat year…but I’m worried, too: the great thing about online friendships is that no one can, you know, see you.  Right, I know, that’s the entire principle behind, but still. On the page I can be witty (or try to), or political (or try to), and I have a profile picture that doesn’t show all my chins. What if my in-person multiply chinned fabulousness falls short of my online fabulousness?

There must be scientific research out there demonstrating the link between confidence and new shoes, so maybe when I get to New York I should go shoe shopping?  What about a new outfit? And oh my god I don’t even own a purse. I’m a canvas satchel kind of gal…but maybe a new purse?

Yeah. If I have new shoes, I would definitely have the courage to introduce myself to The Bloggess.


Even writing that sentence makes me all sweaty-palmed.  I think I’ll just talk to the crudites, instead. I’m sure the carrot sticks have a really interesting story to tell.



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19 Responses to in which i am anxious about the prom. i mean blogher12

  1. Varda (SquashedMom) July 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    You know I will not be letting you spend one minute in the corner, right. And I’ll be introducing you to Jenny. The Bloggess whether you like it or not. Also? I suggest COMFORTABLE shoes – the Hilton is large, and the “short walk” to offsite venues often long.

    Can’t wait to see you, my friend, even if i do have to share you with 3.999 others.

    • Deborah Quinn July 21, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

      it will be lovely and I don’t need to actually MEET the fabulous jenny. just to know that i’m breathing her oxygen – if i breathe her air, will i get funnier?

  2. Michelle Longo July 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    I am a giant bundle of nerves too. As in, a total mess! And as much as it scares me, I am looking forward to meeting all of the wonderful people I talk to online in person!

    • Deborah Quinn July 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

      we carry the yeahwrite banner forward!

  3. Stephanie July 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    I wish I were going. I would talk to you. I’d even make eye contact!

    • Deborah Quinn July 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

      I think you should do a blogclayher & represent all the layers of Big Famous people, small nervous people, and the endless chatter in between…wish you were going to be there. i’d really love to meet you in a non-clay-fashion.

  4. Ado July 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    1. I will talk to you!
    2. I will hang around the sad crudite platter with you!
    3. If we see The Bloggess I’m daring us both right now to go mob her and get a picture taken with her. (-:
    Truth is, we will have so much fun.
    Bring your flip flops.

    • Deborah Quinn July 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      bloggess stalking, carrots waving, madly chatting. that’s us. maybe not flipflops. the air-conditioning in those mammoth hotels will freeze my toes off. BRING A SWEATER. Inside: freezing. Outside? Meltingly hot & probably smelly. Oh lord I miss New York. (really. I do!)

  5. Alexandra July 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    I’ll tell you. I could write VOLUMES about what I learned the first time I went to BlogHer.


    But I’ll save that for our face to face, where I like to sit holding hands, stroking your forearm.

    Might as well let you know right now what it’ll be like to be next to me.

    So you’re, you know, prepared and stuff.

    STICK TO ME LIKE GLUE, PLEASE. Safety in numbers when you are the type that we are: frozen stiff in the headlights from all that comes at ya.

    But, really: anything negative/surprising/shocking/hurtful/mouth agape/soul aghast/psyche rendering/life awakening/esteem riveting that happens at BlogHer — and it will — is BEYOND words.

    I came back floating on air: I actually felt like I was floating on air.

    My feet did not touch the ground from the experience of being with so many that finally got me.

    I mean they understood, to talk blogging, to meet some who were more incredible than I could imagine to meeting some that I let make me feel as small as an ant. Which, I will never allow again.

    I learned. I am who I tell myself I am.

    And the unpleasant cannot be allowed to overshadow all THE LIGHT that happens from fantastic people like the BlogHer staff, the dedicated women that bring BlogHer to us. They make sure we have everything we need, they keep us fed, comfortable, informed, inspired.

    The BlogHer stuff is a group of women I picture with angel wings.

    They are tremendous.

    So don’t let the BIG ones who really are SMALL get you down.

    And don’t let anyone treating you like you’re a flea get to you.

    BECAUSE BY FAR the amount of awesome is 99:1 in proportion from any bit of “sloughing off” you might get.

    There was a male blogger I follow, I went to greet him at the bar to tell him I enjoyed his posts, and he wouldn’t even turn around to look at my face.

    True Story.

    There was a BIG female blogger, I introduced myself to tell her I was a fan and she tossed my card back in my lap and said, “never heard of you.”

    I made the mistake of letting those two color my world that first day and so ran and hid in the bathroom and cried and was so tempted to grab the next plane back home.

    But then I knew I couldn’t : I had spent too much money to get here, and I was BlogHer ‘s choice for VOTY/Humor. I had to stay.

    And glad I did, because after that: I found myself. And sometimes, you have to wade through shit to see yourself again: and the stuff you’re made of.

    Sorry about the novel: but BlogHer , with it’s 4500 attendees, sometimes can’t all fit into a little white box.

    BlogHer is awesome, and is awesome, and is awesome.


    • Deborah Quinn July 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

      and imma gonna smack that blogger in the face who tossed you back your card. that’s just BAD MANNERS.
      and i’m a toucher too, so we can sit in a corner and sort of pat each other. i can’t wait for it all, anxiety be damned.

  6. Andrea July 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I’m going. And I will find you. Somehow. Or you can find me. And we’ll be new friends. Fast. Fast new friends. 🙂

    • Deborah Quinn July 21, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      hee hee, it’s like “The last of the mohicans,” when daniel day-lewis, with all his hair rippling in the wind says “I WILL FIND YOU.” so yes. find me; i’ll find you; we’ll find each other. i’m there as of thursday….whee!

  7. Arnebya July 21, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    I am there on Thursday as well, hoping one of you will coax me out of my corner seat. The nerves. They haz struck.

    • Deborah Quinn July 24, 2012 at 12:47 am #

      the noives, the noives!! i think there’s talk of a “yeahwrite” get together – maybe at the Friday AM “newbie breakfast” …???

  8. Lady Jennie July 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Hi! You’re on this little list I’m making of darling dears I want to meet.

    • Deborah Quinn July 24, 2012 at 12:48 am #

      fantastique! will you be bothered by my fantastically fluent faux french? mon dieu. and etc. when do you get in?

  9. anna July 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    yay, can’t wait to see you! so excited you’ll be there, a highlight for sure – YOU are my bloggess.

    better go get myself some new shoes…

    • Deborah Quinn July 24, 2012 at 12:48 am #

      BLUSHING. yes yes yes let’s meet. when are you coming in? are you there thursday?

  10. Kristin July 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    I’m so late in catching up with reading! I am fairly certain that Jenny Lawson will not be attending. I heard it on Twitter, so, you know, it must be true.

    So…you can meet me instead! It’ll be kind of like trading caviar for sardines in mustard & beer sauce, but still tasty!

    I hear all this talk about people being nervous, but my anxiety stems from trusting that talk and then finding out it’s like the gorgeous, svelte, hot friend bemoaning how (fill in the negative adjective here) she looks in her jeans, and then finding out she looks gorgeous, svelte, and hot. Me? I’ve decided to embrace my own hotness. I may even wear my Tevas with socks. We’ll see.

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