I haven’t been completely new at something in a long time. Maybe not since my freshman year at college. 1972. Farrah Fawcett hairdo that I had to hot roll four times a day, guitar in hand, singing “Puff the Magic Dragon”, not having a clue what the song was really about.
Vulnerable. Hoping to make friends, learn, get connected, be accepted.
That’s how I felt at BlogHer in Chicago. With no guitar. And thank the good Lord, no hot rollers.
I was amazed at my experience. For those of you not knowing about BlogHer, there were bloggers there who blog on everything from gardening to peace activism to how to set up a nursery. An incredibly diverse group. And huge. Thousands of people were there. Umpteen hundred seminars. It’s like your approach to the mall on Black Friday. You have to have a plan.
I had sent out a message to two much more seasoned bloggers than I, Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington of Grown and Flown about coming to the conference. Not only did they invite me to share meals, but introduced me to their colleagues and invited me to join the mid-life bloggers group, Sharon Greenthal’s Generation Fabulous. That spirit of inclusion reigned throughout the conference. Women were constantly helping each other. “Do you know about…?” “Make sure you go to…” “Have you been to that booth?” “That might be a great idea for you.”
I had some of the best experiences when I boldly sat down at a table where there was not a familiar face and asked to sit down. It was there that I met a young woman named Lori Duron, who has a book coming out soon on her gender creative child. She and I must have talked for forty-five minutes or more. Fascinating, mature young woman who I think is going to be leader in this field through her research, experience and love for her son. Then I was having a marvelous time yuckin’ it up with a lady on the bus at the end of a long day. Turned out it was co-founder & CEO Lisa Stone’s mother-in-law! I of course complained that there was no yellow pad of paper in our bags because I like to WRITE notes, which she laughed and said she would report.
And I was lucky enough to actually meet Lisa herself the next day and took the opportunity to tell her how well run I thought the conference was. (I also told her about the yellow pad issue, because I am just that kind of person…). She invited me to join her in going to a seminar that I might not have attended if I had not run into her, and I was so glad I did. The four winners of the International Activist Scholarships spoke. Stories of either persecution, racism, other struggles and staggering achievements. Perspective is so easy to lose and such an incredible gift to attain. I was blessed to run into Lisa for many reasons.
So what did I learn at BlogHer? Not just new terminology, not just new strategies, not just clarification of where I am going or who I am as a blogger. I was reminded to remain inclusive, that it is in cooperation and coordination where we all can feel empowered.
Shared wisdom. That has always been my tenet with my patients actually. So it fits like an old shoe.
Thanks for the reminder, BlogHer.