So I celebrated the latter half of Winter Break: The Breakening (alternate title: The Sky is Gray, the Days Are Cold, and Life is Joyless and Yet Too Brief; in Germany: Tod Kommt Für Uns Alle) by getting the hell out of here and hightailing it to Texas for the Mom 2.0 Summit. Sorry, Scott and Henry. Enjoy the rest of your Winter Break! So long, suckers!
(Very smart to have a conference during the winter doldrums, when everyone is desperate for escape. Take note of this, Other Conference Organizers! Next year: BlogHer 2011 at the end of January, in the Bahamas. All panels will take place on the beach. The lunch buffet will feature giant urns of daiquiris and piña coladas. I am onto something.)
It’s always hard to sum up a conference when my own experience is so colored by my wacky internal landscape that it’s kind of hard to say exactly what went on. (Did I really take my top off during my panel, like everyone says I did? Seems hard to believe. But when everything went black and I woke up wearing only a hotel blanket, who can say what happened in the interim?) (That part is a joke.) (You know that. I know you know that.)
I can say for certain that the panels I attended were illuminating, that I was thrilled to spend quality time with some of my favorite Internet people, and had some amazing conversations with people I hadn’t met before. (Apologies for not calling these people out specifically, but you cannot know how terrified I am of forgetting someone and having that person wonder why I didn’t mention them, do I secretly hate them? Which is what I would do, because I’m like that.) (I am allergic to hurting people’s feelings, did I mention? Literally. I swell up.) (Not literally. Which, also, you know.)
What always gets in the way of me talking objectively about the kick-ass conference and all the amazing people is the fact that—how I do put this—I don’t seem to do well at these things. I mean, I get by. Do not pity me. But I find them emotionally overwhelming, and spend the whole time shaking like a rained-on Chihuahua. After the last BlogHer I attended (which, okay, was a few months after a miscarriage, when I was suffering from some kind of post-miscarriage postpartumness) I determined that I would never again attend a conference. But I was assured that Mom 2.0 was different—smaller, more intimate. And it was. It was lovely.
And yet. I spent most of the time hiding in my hotel room, and when I walked into one of those giant conference rooms I felt the floor spinning. When I spoke to other attendees, all I wanted to say was, “Don’t you want to run away?” And they would say, “I’m having the best time!” and I would be all, “Me, too!” And then I’d sit in my hotel room and shake.
This puzzles me, because I’m typically a sociable person. I like people! Well, mostly. I mean, let’s not get crazy. It’s not like I shy away from attention, you guys. I enjoy the stage. I am comfortable with a microphone. (Anyone who saw my panel will know I had a hard time giving up the mic.) I had nothing but great interactions, and I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I don't want to avoid conferences, because then I'd miss out on discovering all those great people. What I could do without is the inability to sleep and the low-grade nausea and the, well, the trembling and sweating. What the hell, me?
I would love to know if any of you have similar experiences. Maybe I’m simply a delicate flower. Maybe I’m reacting to the wall-to-wall carpeting. That’s it: it’s dust mites! Next time I will attend in a plastic bubble.