On #BlogHer15 and the Extent of Community

So far, every week this month, I’ve stayed in a hotel. I’m starting to feel like I really work. Last week, I was away for my state church convocation, and the week before that I was in New York for #BlogHer15 and the week before that I was in Chicago, albeit, for #SoFabUOTR. I can’t complain though. Each outing gave me what I needed at that very moment, but it was something that went on at #BlogHer15 that really let me know that my presence online is appreciated way more than I thought. 

It’s easy to get lost in the blogging world. So many people are in this space, and it’s hard to feel heard when you aren’t on a major platform. However, there is something about being in one place with bloggers from around the world, that feels so much like a family reunion, that it’s impossible to ignore. This time, I was reminded exactly how much of a family my bloggy friends had turned into. During a group text with my dad, and my brothers, I reminded my oldest brother that I would be in his neck of the woods for work, and before I knew it Poppy (my dad) had decided to accompany me on the trip as well. Since I tend to drive almost everywhere that I can that’s under 15 hours, my dad worries a bit. He won’t admit it, but he does. 

That brother that I’m talking about? He’s actually my oldest YOUNGER brother. He’s okay. For the most part. I think. He lives in Jersey, and he was pretty integral in making our first night in the city go a little bit better. 

But that’s not where the story actually really starts, although that’s where my community starts. As much as my family can get under my skin, I know that they have my back when I need them to. If there is a certain way that can’t support, they’ll find the way that they can and put 210% into it.

We left for New York late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning if you will, because I like driving at night. Except this time, I didn’t drive my dad did because I’m a daddy’s girl, and I was sleepy. I had just come off of a full day of getting prepared AND attending a community meeting in my, duh, community. I was exhausted. I’m sure my dad was too, but he wasn’t going to say anything. We picked my grandmother up from my aunt’s house because she was coming too. There are a couple of things that you need to know about my granny. She’s 84. She’s our Miss Daisy (at the end of the movie, when you like her, not at the beginning,) and she’s independent. Fiercely. She also happens to have diabetes and the caveat of her going with us, was that she followed all doctors orders to a ‘t’. Ahem. 

Our trip was without any type of excitement until we got to the Lincoln Tunnel. It was HOT and HOT and HOTTER and crowded because instead of getting to NYC at 2 pm like we planned, we got there around 4 pm and it was rush hour, and it’s THE LINCOLN TUNNEL PEOPLE. BTW, that toll is $14! Shouldn’t everything that needed to be fixed be fixed by now? Where was I? Oh, yeah, the excitement. As we were entering the Lincoln Tunnel the air conditioner in the car suddenly went out, and I popped up from my state of sleep reclining, and immediately asked why my dad turned the a/c off. He replied that he didn’t and that the battery said that it was running hot. Not good. Then I looked back at my granny, and it looked as if she wasn’t doing so well either. Long story short, she had a diabetic episode which included EMTs at the hotel we finally arrived at, and my alternator and battery died.

 

This is where this story starts to get all weepy. Not only did my BlogHer peeps tweet out offers of help, so did friends from NY who aren’t bloggers, and friends back in Chicago who ARE bloggers. Friends in California and New York also hit my phone up to make sure that I was okay. It was a bit overwhelming, even though when THIS photo was posted, we were basically okay. I think my dad had his fill of New York by this time and he was totally okay with heading to Newark to hang out with my brother. 

This is also the point in time where I should have started to feel sorry for myself, and avoid going to any of the sessions that I had signed up for. I didn’t. Something about the situation let me know that I was going to be okay. I mean, I know that you all know that I totally prayed over the situation, and that also gave me the sense of peace that I needed for this weekend. BEFORE leaving for #BlogHer15 I lost both of my roomies, and resolved myself to not going. Except MrsTDJ convinced me to ask in a group of people for a replacement. Enter The Cubicle Chick to the rescue. Danyelle let me room with her last-minute. Just like she did when I was a blogging newbie at my first TypeA Conference. Full circle y’all. 

THEN this lady, and her partners in making me feel like an upright puddle gave me a package to make the dying of the silver bullet feel not so bad. Like literally, I had to go into a bathroom stall and do an Oscar acceptance cry. Or, crying like a “movie star” as my brothers coined so long ago. They embodied kindness in a way that I didn’t think that I needed, or didn’t even expect. I’m not often caught off guard, but it happened, and for that I’m humbled. 

 

Then you have run ins with people who you’ve seen tons of times before, and never before, and the smile on your face grows bigger and bigger. You meet brand new friends that you didn’t know you needed, and you connect with friends that you keep up with over the year in between the conference. Your bloggy soul is refilled. It’s like a great big Sunday sermon of the blog variety, and the bucket that has been emptied over the year from sponsored posts, and tutorials, and learning which light photographs well. You talk shop, you talk dreams, you talk late into the evening. You laugh like loons over a late night dinner of street meat, and wipe the tears from your eyes while doing so, and then you realize that the conference is almost over, and you’ll have to say goodbye soon. 

We often talk about ROI (Return On Investment) in the blogging community. Of course it’s all about making sure that we’re making a great living doing what we love. Everyone wants that. However, the ROI of #BlogHer15 is going above and beyond what I thought. Long before I left the city of New York, my emotional bucket had been filled. One of these days, I’ll write about the sessions, but I NEEDED you all to know that my community rocks, and exactly how hard. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kari
    July 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

    First of all, I love that you had your dad and your granny with you. That makes me love you even more. Your love of family is what makes me feel so close to you and I get the whole road trip thing because I am all about driving whenever possible.
    Second, I am still upset that the Traverse did you wrong but I can relate because of my Tire o’ Death situation. I am so glad you are okay.
    Third, I am so glad Granny is feeling better!

    I love this post so much because it related what I think gets lost in recaps about blogging conferences. Yours is such a personal recap and I love that what could have turned out disastrous ended up being amazing.
    You have great friends because you, my friend, are pretty amazing yourself.

  • Reply
    Mrs. Pancakes
    July 30, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Loved this because so true that our community rocks! The kindness of people at blogher was just overwhelming for me too. Your story of others coming in to help is a true testament to how awesome blogging fiends really are. And MrsTDJ…she is just over the moon wonderful!

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