Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not Fiction

I've been home for several days. Back to the daily grind. Back to work. Back to the kids. Back to teaching karate twice a week. Back to exercising and staying up too late in an attempt to find "me time," all the while forgetting that sometimes the best "me time" is to sleep. Yeah, I don't get enough sleep. And I never seem to have enough time to write.

NYC and BlogHer was a really great experience for me even though I did not buy a knock off hand bag. Years of heartbroken disappointment after annual meet-ups with another organization taught me to know my limits, to set realistic expectations, and to accept myself for who I am, not who I think I want to be.

The people I expected to be awesome were awesome. So awesome in fact I commented to them, at the end of the weekend, in a quiet moment when some of us were in the same space but surfing Twitter or the Interwebz from our phones, that I was so happy it was so comfortable with them. That it was like walking away from my computer screen and an awesome Twitter conversation, and in to real life and an equally awesome conversation face to face. It flowed naturally and being around them was just easy. And I love them. They inspire me in different, simple and wonderful ways.

There was a little drama, but I expected drama. I was a little dismayed that at one party many women looked down their noses towards me because I was not already a part of their crowd. My attempts at conversation were thwarted early. But that's ok. After listening quietly for a short while I knew the loss was theirs, not mine. And I left happy to have spent an evening one-on-one with the friend who I attended the party with.

I sang karaoke at a real karaoke place. And for someone who sings a lot and sings fairly well, someone who has acted on stage and sang solos, I was terrified. But it was very late, I was tired, and I am glad the music was loud to sort of drown out my voice, the flashing glittery globe masking my jitters. I am grateful for friends who cared more that I was there than what my voice sounded like.

I met a lot of amazing new people. Several made me laugh, laugh, laugh out loud. Hard. I enjoyed honest conversation with others. I found the nerve to tweet Linda and ask her if I could find her and say hello. (And whoa I was a total dork) I did not find the nerve to introduce myself to others. I hugged Heather twice. And it was all ok. I am happy.

I am also incredibly grateful for a friend back home who held my hand virtually on Friday when I was so overwhelmed with the size of the conference and the constant "go-go-go" of an over scheduled day.

My fondest memories of the conference are not of the parties nor the 3 boxes of loot en route somewhere between NYC and here. They are not of the panels or the elevator hell. They are of the people. The smiles. The hugs, however brief the moments we caught them. Knowing that those I think are so awesome on Twitter and their blogs are really amazingly real, and not just fiction. I needed to know they were not just fiction.

Pictures to prove it!

I capped the weekend visiting with friend I have known since I was eight. The last time I saw her was her wedding seven years ago. She brought her young daughters to the city to spend only a couple hours together with me. And despite the seven years with scarce (if any?) phone calls (but annual birthday emails), we picked up right where we left off, caught up, moved forward, reconnected, and created new memories. Seeing her was like a piece of my heart finding its way back home again. There is something special, very, very special, knowing the comfort of that kind of friendship.

I will go again to this conference. It might not be next year but I will go again. There are many more of you who couldn't go, didn't want to go, or chose not to go. I want to meet you too. I want to know that you are real and not fiction.