Many days later and do I have a clear understanding of what impact BlogHer will have on my life?
Nopes. Not even close.
I broke down the conference from the ground up, but this one – is from the sky. Where my new dreams, goals and aspirations reside.
Own your work. Listening to the founders of #BlackLivesMatter (and later in my last session with Feminista Jones, Beverly Gooden and Mikki Kendall)- I’m sure at some point, they all thought: it’s just as hashtag. Then it became something bigger than them and they were all moved to stand up and say I own this. I run this. This is something I created. It took me a long time to call myself a blogger and writer. But now? I’m a less likely to hold myself back.
Your attitude is key. From Soledad’s Starfish to Tenisha’s tenaciousness – bad things will and do happen to good people. Sometimes the only difference can be in how you eat those bad things (vs letting them eat you). Hard work, determination is important here too – but belief and faith are pretty high up there. When I started this blog – I had no idea what I wanted it to become. Though I’m still not sure, I’m going to make sure that I remember that words mean things when I speak of my circumstances.
Why not me. Voices of the year (which seriously next year should be sponsored by Kleenex) was incredibly moving and heart-wrenching. From the moving images to the written word – it was about honouring people who produced amazing content. I thought to myself – I produce content! There’s nothing that separates me from those honorees (except Luvvie of course. Lol) other than writing the right piece and the right time. I could be up there someday.
Heroes may fall, but continue to have them. Before I left, I wrote about wanting to meet specific people that I look up to. And while watching the Bill Cosby situation unfold tells us that heroes can and do fall everyday – we do still need to believe in them. Bumping into Luvvie and her knowing who I am, getting to sit and chat with Feminista, introduce myself to Erica – they will tell you they are just regular folks, but are still gracious enough to withstand the peaks and valleys that come with being put on pedestals. They inspire me to be bold, brave and bawse!
You are (good) enough. If there is something universal about women is that we are really really REALLY good at downplaying ourselves, our talents, our abilities. We say oh it’s just a ___ blog, it’s small, it’s no big deal. All of us do it. From Gwenyth to Ava, The Pitch to VOTY’s – we diminish ourselves. It’s so ingrained in how we operate, we don’t even know until someone else points it out and slaps us on the hand. Moving forward, I will try to not do that, but I’ll also try to remind any woman when they are doing it.
Ava’s keynote went viral when she said : “copy the white men”. Men don’t ask for permission. They don’t diminish their accomplishments. They just take and do. They are fearless in the pursuit of their dreams. Can you imagine how much a force we women could be if we were the same?
Defining moments. I booked my flight to New York in January. Before the conference. Before registering for school. Before my career epiphany. Before I knew who was going to watch my son for 5 days. I took leaps of faith in hopes of the puzzle pieces falling into place and gaining clarity on where and who I wanted to be. I dared to put myself in the same room with giants. I stretched before I knew what that meant. And now that I’m here – I know why my job search of 4 years (four years) has proven to be futile.
I know why the caged bird sings. I know I can’t look back or stay here for too long.
No longer knowing that my future holds (or at least pretending to know) is scary. But since I’ve been back – I’ve never felt more free. I’ve never slept more sound (when I sleep). I’ve never stepped more surely. It’s an amazing feeling.
Finally, don’t wait for permission. All the panels I attended had a common theme – if there’s something in you to write – just write. You can be a food blogger and write about SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage. You can be an Asian blogger and write about your parents. You can be a beauty blogger and write about #BlackLivesMatter. You can write fearlessly. Unfollowers, loss of brand partnerships be dammed. Ask yourself: What’s it worth to you?
One of my personal key takeaways is that it’s not weird or as crazy as I thought to write from an alias. I’m actually giving myself freedom that others may not have. Special thank you to fellow Canuck – The Ethical Thinker for the peptalk on this very subject.
So that’s it. (Well not really). It not hyperbolic to say that BlogHer truly changed me and my life. Thanks for joining me on this journey to somewhere.
what’s your word? did i leave anything out? did any of my readers attend this conference?
ps: i wanted to include my thank you video I made on the pier..but..can’t figure it out. womps.