This is for anyone who’s been somewhere alone and had to overcome fear of being too shy, too lame, or like my fear: turning into an awkward stand-up comic and ultimately offending people.
Yes, it’s true, like many of you, I have lot’s of virtual friends. Whether they’re old high school buddies that you communicate with mostly on FB or blog commenters, the entire twitter community, or exes you have kinky late night sexting with (I don’t judge), you’re aware that this tech bond exists.
I’ve been blogging for about 4 years, and over that time I’ve made many many many virtual friends. I don’t want to brag, but tons of people, who don’t know me, really like me.
Wait, I feel that came out wrong.
Anyhoo, I got to meet many of those people this weekend and I think some are still my friends. Though these meetings didn’t come without their share of fear and trepidation. Yes, I was in the 7th grade this weekend – a grade I categorically erased from my memory after I did a solo performance of Madonna’s “Get Into The Groove” at that year’s talent show, during which I fell to the floor and cried.
I attended my first real blog conference, MOM 2.0 Summit, which is the ultimate in upscale blog conferences, as I’m sure you already know, I mean, DUH? It was at the Ritz – obvi. The peeps were successful, the speakers were brilliant, and the liquor was filled with alcohol.
I spent the first hour walking back and forth from my room to the registration area, as I was scared to talk to anyone – and I had nothing else to do with myself. After the woman in the sign-up suite looked at me for the 5th time and said, “Um ma’am just give us 3 more minutes.” in a Why the f@ck do you keep lollygagging and peeking in? You clearly don’t belong here and simply want to steal a DOVE gift bag – well, I’ll throw off my bifocals and beat you down to the ground – BITCH. Kinda way. What? I can tell what people are truly thinking. It’s a gift.
Hour 2 and 3 – I spent at the pool – by myself. On a lounge chair – alone. Ordering and eating my lunch – solo. Staring at my phone and pretending I had a ton of work to do on my iPad, which was in fact, dead. Yes, I was somewhere between giggling and crying as I wrote pretend emails, in reply to pretend messages.
I saw a group of women that seemed to know everyone, That’s my crew, I thought. I walked up and introduced myself. The first woman noticed me, Ciaran of Momfluential a virtual friend who I’ve Skyped and become friendly with over the last 4 years, she introduced me to another woman, whom I had admired years before coming to this conference – Stacy Morrison. Yep, the Editor in Chief of Redbook that made me fall in love with the mag, who is now the EIC of Blogher, who shocked me by being quite lovely, approachable and funny.
Though, at that moment, all I could think was, why the hell did I walk over here in my bikini? You shouldn’t meet people you respect in a bikini – unless you’re a hooker at a pool party, or a Sports Illustrated model – of which, I am neither.
Then I was introduced to a fun, smart, tall drink o’ water, Rachel of Back’NGrooveMom. She was a recent virtual friend and she rocked her Tory Burch one shoulder bathing suit, which made me feel less slutty. Phew.
After that, my fears began to subside. I met two long lost big sis’s who I’ve written with, laughed with, been inspired and mentored by at various points in my career: the out of control Tracy of Lost in Suburbia, and the mesmerizing Jen Singer of Momma Said,
Then I met Farah, my amazing editor at Huff Po and yes, the Motha‘ of all Mothers, Lisa Belkin from Huff Po! Nervous and starstruck, I managed to blather on about something or other and she said something like “we love your writing” and gave a huge hug, so I think whatever I said was good, unless it was “could you please hug me?” which would be not good.
Well, the signs seemed to imply that all was going well. By this point I was at a white party, P. Diddy style, and I hadn’t spilled anything on myself or anyone else – that’s my definition of a successful evening.
I Found kindred spirits in Self made Mom and Meridith Sinclair and got to talk to the writers and editors at one of my new favorite sites Cafe Mom. I refused a pearl necklace from the always fun TimeDog guys, but enjoyed them, none the less.
Wait, that came out wrong.
I met two new BFFs, Jenny and Emily of Mommin’ it up, who rocked their LandsEnd Frocks and told me Deliverance style tales about getting spray tans in people’s basement showers. They ultimately finished out my fabulous foursome.
I realized my true value at the metrics panel and enjoyed follow up talks with AlphaMom – Isabel Kallman, and Adam Keats , which is why I will now charge 1 billion dollars for any product spokesperson work or ambassadorships that I do, because I shouldn’t give it away for free.
Wait, that came out wrong.
Wait, that also came out wrong, though Jess is my new boo (love you)!
I pitched myself to Pom Wonderful, because they rock and Minute Clinic, even though one of the ladies there tried on multiple occasions to get me sick and transmit her germs. Then she gave me free shit from Salma Hayek’s new line, Nuance (which I LOVE BTW) and we made up, until she coughed on me and I ran to the Pom Wonderful table for a shot to counteract.
I also got a ton of swag, I mean, I didn’t even have to take the soap from the hotel room because Dove supplied some (Full Sized) they also supplied girls in need with 15k, so I gotta give them some props. Nice work Rob Candelino!
I’d say it was a success. I got over my fear of knowing no one, made some incredible contacts and turned virtual friends into real friends, which will become virtual again, but maybe we can start sexting to keep the intimacy going. Of course I couldn’t mention all that made an impact, as my regular readers may be bored to tears by now!
It all came out Just Right. See you next year!!!
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R BABY: R– Baby is a charity incredibly close to my heart! One of my oldest friends lost her infant daughter (Rebecca) due to insufficient training and equipment at her local hospital. For 5 years she has been on a mission to make pediatric emergency care and education available at every hospital, so that lives can be saved – not lost. PLEASE, I implore you to take 30 seconds and sign a petition that will help pass a bill to make this HAPPEN! CLICK HERE TO SIGN