About 6 years ago, I was home, consumed by depression. My husband and I had been trying to have another baby and spend pretty much every dime we had, and then some, on IVF only experience repeated loss and failure. I had envisioned my life living in our beautiful house on the hill with our two babies even though I had two of those things, and on paper, my life was idyllic, the absence of that last baby, and the repeated failures ate at my soul. I could barely enjoy the child I had because I was so exhausted from trying to carry on like everything was perfect.
Which is really confusing, because as I just said, everything was very close to perfect. Just look at the paper! But neither grief nor loss give a shit about what it says on paper.
People could point out my very close to idyllic life and tell me I was lucky. They would detail how they saw my life from the outside and tell me how jealous they were. But these things don’t matter when you are in the depths of a depression. In fact, in many ways it made it worse. It made me extremely aware of my “self pity” and made me feel even worse about not feeling blessed with my life.
Because no one can make you believe how lucky you are, or how pretty you are, or how happy you are. Those are all things that come from inside. Those are all things that you have to believe about yourself no matter what the outside world is telling you.
I bet about now you are wondering where the hell BlogHer comes into all this. Hold on. I’m getting there!
Coming out of depression and moving past grief is different for everyone. What worked well for me, may not for you. But what worked for me, slowly, but surely, was writing a list of things I wanted to do. A bucket list of sorts of places to go, things to do and learn, to reshape my idea of the life I would be leading to help me move past the life I would not be living.
On of the things at the top of my list was to attend BlogHer. I was terrified when I bought the ticket. I had never met anyone who was going to be there. It felt incredibly selfish of me to buy the BlogHer ticket, a plane ticket to San Diego, and reserve the hotel for several nights when we spent so much money on IFV. It felt selfish to leave my child, my last surviving fetus, with my husband while I flew out into the unknown for several days.
I didn’t even know if I was going to have fun. I didn’t know if I would get up the nerve to talk to anyone. I didn’t even understand why I wanted to go as I wasn’t making any money from my blog, and at the time, it was a secret blog. Very few people in my real life knew about it. No one in the blogging world had read it. I didn’t use my real name or my picture. Also? I talked about sex. And not just sex, kinky sex. And infertility. When blogging how-to’s tell you to pick a niche, I’m pretty sure I over-shot with “Infertile Kinky People.”
But really. All the bloggers I read talked about food, and crafts, and parenting. You know how many talked about sex? None. You know how many talked about kinky sex? LESS THEN ZERO. So I obviously wasn’t heading to BlogHer for the community. Right?
I made myself feel better about the money by finding three other roommates.
(ProTip: If you want to have a bunch of roommates, which is a great way to meet people and save money, so you totally should, get them all from the same time zone. Packed into my room, I had women from an EIGHT HOUR SPREAD. There was, truly, someone awake in that room at nearly all hours. Do not do that.)
I was terrified when I walked into the newbie breakfast. Jess Weiner was the speaker and she talked about not fitting in. About embracing the things you were good at. About not being ashamed to be you. At the end of the talk she asked women to stand up and tell them what they were good at. She would call on them and they would speak up and everyone would applaud them.
“I’m a good friend.”
“I’m a good listener.”
“I’m a really great cook.”
I saw my chance. At what? I don’t know. I would say something. I stood and waited to be called on. My mind raced. Good lord. What was I good at? Why did I stand up? What was my… Jess points at me.
“I’m really good with a single tail.” I blurt out.
Jess asks me what a single tail is.
“I’m a dominatrix and it’s my favorite kind of whip.”
And in one terrifying moment, I found my people. Because as it turns out, even if they were all writing about food and crafts and parenting, some of them were very curious about the girl who had the ovaries to stand up in front of several hundred people and dare to be different. The girl who dared to be herself. The girl who could give them sex tips.
This year I’m thrilled to give away a ticket to BlogHer to one of my readers. I can’t promise that it will change your life. Because, like believing in yourself, outside forces don’t change your life. You change your life by stepping outside of your comfort zone. It’s like building a muscle. First step out a little bit, then a little more. It gets easier every time and each time you will feel more empowered with your ability to do things that make you happy.
Empowerment Through Adventure.
And yes. My title is a bit of click-bait. BlogHer didn’t change my life. I changed my life by stepping out of my comfort zone and attending BlogHer.
Now it’s your turn.
So lets get this adventure started, shall we?