I’m home from BlogHer ’06, and I can’t thank the women who helped me get there enough for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. I have come home with a whole new attitude about blogging and who I am as a blogger.
Here’s what I have to say overall about BlogHer ’06-it was overwhelming, it was exhausting, and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me outside of meeting my husband and having my children. I haven’t had more than one close female friend since leaving High School, and now I have at least a dozen. The feeling of being surrounded by women who were interested in what I had to say, and in me as a person, is indescribable.
Validated. That is how I feel now that I have been to BlogHer. Validated. I went from feeling like no one else could possibly know what I mean when I say “um, well, I write a blog. What’s a blog? Well, it’s like a personal website, where I post stories about my family and photos and stuff”, to feeling like I want to climb to the highest rooftop in town and scream “I WRITE A BLOG!”.
Blogging is not weird. Blogging is not just keeping a diary in online form. Blogging is IMPORTANT. Blogging is powerful, blogging is the future. Being a blogger means being a part of the way women are meeting, supporting, and understanding each other. It’s networking for our social, personal and even professional lives.
Standing there on Saturday, knowing that there were seven HUNDRED other people around me who knew exactly what it is that I do, was one of the most empowering things that has ever happened to me. Having someone ask me for my business card (I have a card!), look at it and say “Oh, Table for Five! I’ve read your blog!” was absolutely MIND-BLOWING.
And of all the things I took away from the conference, there are two that have actually changed the path I see for myself. The first is something I took away from the “Mommyblogging is a Radical Act!” session. You wanna hear it? Hear it goes:
I AM A MOMMYBLOGGER
That’s it. It’s that simple. I am PROUD to be a Mommyblogger. Before that session, when asked what my blog was about, I would hem and haw and say things like “well, I blog about my family, and other stuff“, as if it was important to add that qualifier so that the person didn’t think I was “just” a Mommyblogger.Â If I have to define myself in one category, Mommyblogger is what I choose. I titled this post “I am a BLOGGER”, because I no longer feel timid about telling my family (for example), that I write a blog. I may tell them that it is private and that I’d prefer they didn’t read it, but the next time someone asks where I was last weekend, I’m going to proudly say I was at a conference about Blogging.
The other important, IMPORTANT thing that I brought home from BlogHer is a realization that my self-esteem needs a big ol’ kick in the ass. For example, all weekend people were declaring that they loved me, loved my blog, were so glad to meet me, and my response to them all was something like this:
“Hi, I’m Elizabeth. My blog is Table for Five.”
“Oh, ELIZABETH! I’ve read your blog, I really like it!”
“No, REALLY? You’ve read my blog? No way.”
“Elizabeth, it’s really nice to meet you!”
“No, no, it’s really nice to meet YOU.”
(Notice the annoying self-deprecation. What the hell is WRONG with me?)
I relayed this to my husband, and asked him if he thought I was insecure. He said no. So why was it so hard for me to accept the fact that other people were interested in me? Why do I feel so unworthy? Why can’t I just say “Thank you, I’m glad you like my blog” and leave it at that?
The closing session on Saturday afternoon featured four amazing women who have done great things both with their professional lives, and with blogs. I sat there listening to them speak, and I had what I guess you could call a revelation. I grabbed one of my business cards (because my laptop STILL wasn’t working), and on the back I wrote this:
1. Find your voice.
2. Stop apologizing. Be proud of who you are and what you do.
3.Stop hesitating. Move yourself forward.
4. You ARE worthy.
My friends, you are ALL worthy. Whether you have just started blogging or have been at it for a while, you are part of a mighty force in this world. Somewhere out there is someone who wants to know what you think, how you cope, who you are. Be a blogger, and be proud.