What happens when you get four thousand women together - and not just any women, mind you, women with opinions! Women with opinions that want their voices heard! You get chaos! You get mayhem! You get fun! You get educated and interested and invigorated!
And most of all, you get to be you.
Did you hear that? As you're all frantically searching for just the right wardrobe items, re-thinking that design on those business cards you ordered (or made), going back and re-editing your already perfectly acceptable previous blog posts just in case someone new should read them, and wondering frantically how you're going to lose twenty-plus pounds in a matter of days - in the midst of all of that, you just need to breathe.
I'm going to tell you a secret. It's a secret that's not really a secret once you've met me, but here it is.
I'm not a supermodel. I'm a single working Mom, and I can't afford a lot of designer clothes. And even if I could afford them, I probably wouldn't buy them. Well, maybe for my daughter....but, anyway....
I'm not overly thin, overly wealthy, overly beautiful or overly sophisticated. I can be sarcastic as hell, a bit too perky, and by Saturday, I may be wearing yoga pants, flip-flops and my favorite "Mommy Needs A Margarita" tee shirt. I won't care. And my guess is, you won't either.
The beauty of being a blogger is that if I want to, I can sit at my computer in my pajamas (or worse!), kick aside the Lego action figures littering my living room floor and just write. I can tell my story, or my thoughts on someone else's story, and add to the myriad of voices all over this wonderful thing we call an internet. Blogging has taught me, more than anything, that we are all in this together. All voices with something to say. How many terrific voices would have been ignored if we all posted an accurate picture of ourselves in that moment? Or if we all let one bad post or boring post or trolled-upon post silence us? How many interesting people would we all pass right on by?
As women, we're accustomed to feeling like we're on display in a thousand ways every single day. We're not pretty enough or successful enough or trophy wife enough or supermom enough or [you fill in the blank].
I'm here to say that you're enough. Just as you are. Just as your words, just as you.
I went to my very first BlogHer conference last October - BlogHer Writers was held in New York, right at the very same venue we'll be gracing at the end of this week. I was nervous as hell. I've been blogging for over ten years, and I was even one of those rarities in the Blogaverse - a paid blogger. But still, I felt like I was less than. Not good enough. Scared I'd make the wrong impression.
I walked through those doors, got my badge, and before I'd pinned it on, someone stretched out a hand and said hello. That hello was followed by dozens more, and me stretching my hand to countless others. I met amazing new people and got terrific information. I laughed and teared up and told my story, even as I drank in the stories of others.
We're all here to tell a story. If you see me at BlogHer, please stop, and if you have a minute, tell me yours. I want to hear it.
So stop worrying about swirling bits and pieces, and show 'em your game face: the one with the mascara smudges and the little handprints on your shirt and the sweat under your arms and hair in a messy ponytail because you have a full and beautiful life and can't stop for any of that.
I'm looking forward to a few thousand women showing NYC how to live out loud. Let's do this thing!