It’s no secret I’m proud of BlogHer.
It is my community. It is my employer.
It is that safe space I retreat to online when I need my virtual fix of inspiration and motivation.
This will be only the second time I’ve had to miss the annual conference (in person…my virtual self WILL BE THERE VIA SKYPE!) and I’m doing my best to not be seething with jealousy or pangs in my belly whenever I see the tweets or posts or photos of what a great time everyone is having and the rock stars they are running into in the hallways.
But to be brutally honest after last year’s triumphant return to the annual conference I really thought by this time THIS year I’d be working again. I thought you would barely see me at BlogHer ’13 because I’d be knee-deep in some amazing project, wrangling politicians as they came to address our community, executive producing an on-the-spot campaign for one of our clients and somewhere in the midst of it all finding time to say hello and network.
Instead I found myself faced with a choice: speak, in person, at my HealthMinder panel on Thursday and stay to enjoy the majority of the conference and then (after having flown from LA to Chicago) fly from Chicago to North Carolina to meet up with family.
You see, back over the holidays we had to cancel our family trip to North Carolina because I was too ill to get on a plane. It was too dangerous.
But back to the choice(s). The other choice was to stay home, rest up, and fly with my family to North Carolina. And a third choice was to fly to Chicago and back and then let my husband take the kids to North Carolina while I stayed home.
I knew the third choice wasn’t an option. So really, what it came down to, was if my body could handle jet-setting like it used to. Hopping on a flight from LA to Chicago and making the rounds at BlogHer ’13, then hopping a flight to North Carolina to meet up with family and making the rounds there. Then, making it back to LA.
And who are we kidding. A stomach bug hospitalized me for the 4th of July. I really did not want to give up BlogHer ’13. I really wanted another hot dog in Chicago.
I really hate that I’m not yet well enough to be capable of doing ALL THE THINGS that make me happy.
Part of this journey I am on…this path lined with tacks that seem to all stick straight up into my feet…is learning I now have limits. I might not later. They may get worse before they get better (again) and they may even get better and possibly GO THE HELL AWAY. But for better or worse my body has limits.
If you could hear me say ‘limits’ in my head as I type it you’d laugh. It’s this high-pitched whine really. LiMiTs. I have LIMITS!!!!!!!.
Travel takes very careful planning. In order to go to DC we left several days early so I could rest and rest and rest before we had to be at the White House.
In fact, we visited the White House the day before we LEFT FOR HOME. So I knew I couldn’t just jump on a plane and jet my way over to the Windy City for BlogHer ’13 and then hop another to Fort Bragg and then hop another back home to LA…all in the span of less than a week. It was a recipe for another stay at hotel hospital. Or worse, I’d get stuck in a hospital in Chicago. Or North Carolina. Or even worse, I’d have to cancel on family for a second time and once again let down people I love.
It’s true what they say about BlogHer’s annual conference, by the way; it’s totally what you make of it. It can be all parties and hugs and squees or it can be hardcore networking for that big gig you’ve been hoping for, or it can be your coming out party, of sorts. Where you decide to take that leap of faith and go meet those people you talk to daily through that screen on your lap. You know…the ones who make you laugh and cry and think.
The ones who’ve been there for you each and every time you mouthed off about breastfeeding or Pampered Chef parties or politics. They’ve been there from the moment you started to feel unwell, and were there for the first surgery. The second. The third. They sent cards and flowers and unicorn poop cookies. They sent hats and spoons. Some sent gnomes. Books. Silly postcards. Amazing jewelry. Inspirational works of art. Simple notes that made you cry like a child.
And last year they made you feel like a goddess when you were at your most vulnerable.
You even listen to a certain voicemail on your phone, a full year later, when you are once again feeling down and stuck in treatment or a hospital bed or you simply can’t fit into a pair of pants that fit last week before they upped your steroids again.
They wrapped you in so much love that you can’t imagine life without the wonderful women and men on the other side of the screen.
I have come a long way in this battle. I still have a long way to go. Know that each of you have helped me in your own quirky way and I can’t thank you enough. I thought thanking you meant I HAD TO BE IN CHICAGO personally. But practicing what I preach, family must come first. Instead my family will be flying to North Carolina to make up for that trip Lupus canceled over the holidays.
Here is hoping during BlogHer ’14 I will wrap each of you in so much love that you can feel in the hug I give you just how important you are to me. That you can’t imagine life without the wonderful women and men on the other side of the screen. Or better yet, that I’m just a blur during the conference because I’m so busy working we barely had time to chat…but we did have that amazing but brief moment where we embraced and looked at each other knowingly, because we had made it.
Because dammit, I WILL make it.