I just got back from my second BlogHer conference and it was…validating, empowering, fun, amazing, and rejuvenating.
I felt nervous about being there, but was excited to have two roommates waiting for me at the hotel. I am seemingly extroverted, but am terrible at meeting new people and small talk. I was so thankful for Cheryl and Kimberly!
The first day, my mind was preoccupied with two things: meeting Flourish in Progress and reading my post for VOTY later that night. I felt like I was holding my breath through the keynotes and sessions - even though they were all incredible and I absolutely loved Tig Notaro! I also got to hug LTYM creator, Ann, and the most wonderful New Cities Mentor for LTYM, Melisa. On top of all the meeting people in real life, I also got to meet some new folks. Little did I know that they would become my tribe by the end of the conference.
But let me get to my personal highlight for the first night. This was my view during VOTY:
Before VOTY started.
After VOTY… WOW, right? WOW!
Then, this happened:
Flourish in Progress was one of my inspirations to keep on blogging! It was pretty amazing to meet her in real life and to just talk with her and spend some time with her. She is authentic, beautiful, and a rock star. Thank you so much for being out there and for your words…
It was strange to give voice to my post and to actually say the words, “I wish I was white,” out loud - in front of people. It was heartbreaking, empowering, and cathartic. I am so thankful to BlogHer for giving my voice a chance to be heard.
I was completely floored by all the readers. I had so many moments where I was wondering, “How did I even get chosen to be up here?” backstage. When I looked out at the audience, though, I said, “Wow,” because each and every one of them - they were a mirror reflecting back at me. I was worthy because they are all worthy. I could speak my words because they have already been speaking their words. I was up there because of them. Because of YOU.
The next day, was equally as amazing because I just got to meet more amazing people and to also feel a bit like a rock star because of all the “me, too” moments that people were sharing with me. I felt bonded, united, and blessed to be there.
I was so excited to hear Kerry Washington and was definitely pleasantly surprised by Kara Swisher, but was also so grateful for ALL the 10x10 speakers on both days. I also decided to spend some time in the Expo Hall before the closing party and I was glad to have one of my roommates join me. We decided to stop by The Mrs. Band booth where they had this huge mirror. Our hotel room mirror had these clings on them that read, “I’m enough” and it was quite inspiring - it was a little promo thing that The Mrs. Band had for BlogHer attendees. Here’s my selfie:
So, the mirror in the Expo Hall was something similar, except it had headphones. We waited in line and I wasn’t sure what to expect. After putting the headphones on, I heard a women talking to me and I just talked back to the mirror. She asked me if I was a writer and she asked me to do a little dance - I did. Then, she asked me to look in the mirror. So I looked. After a moment, she said, “What do you see?” I looked at that mirror and myself again and I just cried. The first things that came into my head when she asked that were terrible, ugly thoughts of myself. When I couldn’t really say anything, she said to me, “Do you know what I see? I see a strong, amazing, beautiful woman.” And she continued to affirm me while I just cried. I cried because a complete stranger was speaking truths about myself to me - truths that I could not even say to myself. It changed me.
That night, Rev Run was at the closing party and I danced like a 13 year old girl. I felt confident. I felt powerful. I felt beautiful. I felt like I belonged.
I looked around and I saw my village. Within this beautiful village, I found my tribe:
As I reflected on my BlogHer experience for the past two days, I came to realize something. BlogHer ‘14 was the mirror that changed me. BlogHer, you reflected back to me every brave heart, every authentic voice, and every beautiful soul that is within each and everyone of us. You are the writers that I aspire to be. You are the role model that I have been looking for. You are the voice that needs to be heard. You are the mirror that has changed me, empowered me, and made me see ME for who I really am.
And for all these things, I am forever grateful.