BlogHer :The Hangover

July 30, 2013

Just Write. Even if you’re still afflicted with a social hangover.



Okay. I can begin now. On the new laptop my husband brought home yesterday because I shit a cartful of kittens over my missing laptop.

He’s a keeper, that man.

But I’m still bitter and probably will be until about 2022. I might be over it then. Might.


There are roughly 532,899 re-caps of the spectacle that was BlogHer13 floating around the interwebs this week, and I will add my voice to the ring. Just this once, though.  This week and last week are a complete grinding bore for those women who were at BlogHerHome, and I’ve been there, so believe me when I apologize, Homers.

I did better at this BlogHer than I did three years ago. It was still too much, too fast, too…everything for me, but I didn’t return home feeling completely deflated and borderline suicidal like I did after that first maiden voyage.

While some asshole was busy stealing my laptop I was sitting on the plane home, I wondered about that. What was different about this BlogHer than the one three years ago? What had shifted? What had changed?  Why wasn’t I the Poster Child for Internal Wreckage like the last time?

The answer was: nothing was different about this past BlogHer. Fundamentally, it was the same BlogHer I attended three years ago. The same nutjob, wildfire, neuroses-inducing BlogHer. The thing that changed was me.

I changed.

I didn’t know I’d changed, but I did.

Dana’s Big Philisophical Barf About Why This BlogHer Didn’t Suck Donkey Balls:

At my first BlogHer, I’d been blogging for almost exactly two years, which actually translates to one year, since I started out knowing ZERO and had a skill level of ZERO and spent most of that first year lurching around, hands flailing, underwear soiled.  That first year really didn’t count, which was okay by me since nobody read the darn thing so I could be as dorky and ass-backward as I needed to be.

By year two, I  had some readers and even some bloggy buddies, and I’d found bloggers to admire and follow, which was nice. It no longer took me 5 hours to upload a picture to my blog. I still had tons to learn, and I knew that, and that’s why I attended my first BlogHer.  I wanted to learn, and I wanted to connect with my dozen or so bloggy besties.  I envisioned bringing home a binder full of helpful notes and wisdoms, of long walks and talks with the women I’d read for months and desperately wanted to meet. To know.

Of course, that didn’t happen. It was too much to ask. I barely had time for a little chat with these women, let alone a heart-to-heart. Some I didn’t connect with beyond a wave across a crowded conference room. Some of the seminars didn’t deliver half of what I’d thought I’d learn.  I left feeling crushed and alienated.  Many women seemed snobbish and condescending, preferring to socialize with only their select coterie. Everyone was bigger, more important, more savvy than I was.  I cowered in my hotel room after the end of the first afternoon and rarely left the rest of the weekend. I had only myself to blame. Some shy, unskilled, small-potatoes blogger had  no business at something like this.

Guess what? I am still shy. I am still pretty darn unskilled. I am definitely small-potatoes. I still didn’t learn nearly as much in the seminars as I’d hoped. I still broke into a sweat during meals when I had to join a crowded table of women I didn’t know. I still didn’t get those heart-to-heart walks and talks with women who are soul sisters.  I didn’t even get to meet many of them.  I still couldn’t bring myself to attend more than one party over the weekend.

And yet I’m not wrecked. Strung out, lackluster and exhausted, yes. But not crushed.

Maybe because after 5 years doing this blogging thing, I don’t feel so desperate to belong. I feel calmer in my skin, having occupied this space for a while. I’ve made it clear who I am, neuroses and all, and you still read my words. I don’t have to pretend to be brave, which I tried so very, very hard to do in the beginning. I didn’t have to convince myself that I could put all of my insecurities aside for 3 days and ROCK the personality at BlogHer and meet the future agent of my book and fake being a slick, hear-me-roar writer.

I tried to do that the first time and I went up in a flaming pile of poseur poo.  It wasn’t me.  I wanted it badly to be me, but it backfired. I can’t be that woman. There are plenty of women like that at BlogHer and I envy their extroversion and verve, believe me, but I can’t stand in that corner.

And yet. That corner seemed so exclusive, so golden, so arrogantly off-limits to me the first time I attended BlogHer. Not so much this time. Some women still shimmer brighter than I do, but that shimmer doesn’t snuff out any of my own light.  I learned that this time.

Those shimmering souls still have weirdo lanyards around their necks. Like you. That big-time blogger you have a crush on and want desperately to meet but shityouaresonervousyou’llmakeanidiotofyourself? That blogger has her own crush on some other blogger milling around in the room, and isn’t sure whether to approach. She does.

In my case, my own insecurity and doubt created that hostile environment I felt (like a steel blade) the first time. I didn’t think I belonged, so viola! I looked around the room and I didn’t. But I was looking through a crooked lens. My own.

Truth: You are sisters in weirdo lanyards. You are here for the same reason, for the same shared interest. Shine in your own way, like only you can.


***I wrote this for any blogger who was a first-timer at BlogHer and is feeling like raw, bloody meat inside. I see you, and I feel what you are going through right now. Give yourself time to feel what you feel. Take a little time off if you need to. But don’t give up. I may never attend another BlogHer–truly–but don’t close yourself off just yet.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexandra July 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

THIS is so beautiful, Dana. So achingly true and heartfelt and real. I LOVE YOU.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I love you, too. You give the best hugs.


Abby July 30, 2013 at 10:00 am

Amen, and I wish I had gone if only to be a weirdo with you as well. But I don’t think BlogHer is really that different than anything else. You get what you put into it, and everyone goes with different expectations.

I’m a blogging peon. I can be a social riot, but I can’t kiss ass and run around like a maniac collecting business cards and promoting myself like a queen. That’s just not who I am, and I wouldn’t want to change to fit an ideal. I am me. You are you. You survived, and minus the laptop bullshit, even thrived ;)


Alexandra July 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

Abby, was this post not wonderful??? xo


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm


I didn’t come close to thriving. But I avoided the bad place.


Shannon July 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

I looked all over for you. And I would have loved to walk and talk. Next time, if you choose to go, we need to exchange numbers and we will have that walk and talk. I hope.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm


I was pissed that we missed each other. I looked for you, too. I think the two venues made it that much harder to connect. I’ll walk and talk with you any day…but maybe not with 5,000 chicks underfoot.


Arnebya July 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

I am grateful to have been that lanyard-wearing weirdo beside you, sometimes leaning, oftentimes trying to climb inside you, wide-eyed at everyone, at everything full of chaotic peace.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm


You got me through.


Jamie July 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

I still don’t really get what BlogHer is or does (even after browsing the website) so in my opinion, you’re super cool for being in the know! You’ll always have a dorko fan girl in me, kitch.

Also, you know if we had both been there your hangover would be alcohol induced and not social, right? ;)


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm


You + me + BlogHer stress = Hoo-Boy.


Lindsay July 30, 2013 at 11:43 am

Love this, hilarious and true.


Katybeth July 30, 2013 at 11:49 am

I felt bad when I realized BlogHer was in Chicago, the Saturday BlogHer was in Chicago. If I had realized, I would have come for the day just to meet you in person and offered to pick up from the airport and even offered you a room at our crazy house . WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY BLOGHER IS IN CHICAGO, MORON! Of-course, I should have known. But didn’t. The Pioneer Women let me down a long time ago with her recipes that don’t work and are poorly explained so the “Big Bloggers” would not have been a draw for me, but I do get excited over new tips and tricks. Mostly, I would want to hang out on the expo floor. I thought about buying a ticket for Saturday but it was too scary. YAY YOU for facing down those fears.!
Hit me upside the head the next time your in my neighborhood. I drink little cokes, but I have a stocked bar…..
Having your laptop stolen sucks. What can we do about that? I would love to make American Airlines miserable. There are a lot of us….surely we can do something.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm


Since the Pioneer Woman gave the opening address this year, be glad you didn’t attend. She sang to her dog. No foolin’.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me July 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm

For real???


Mandy Fish July 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I’m an introvert at heart and struggle with BlogHer too. This was my third time going and I just lowered my expectations and made plans with people I know. That’s how I make it work for me!

Great post.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

If I ever go again, come to my room. I have Twizzlers.


Erica July 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Hey, I don’t blog anymore but I still keep coming back to get a dose of TKW. I love you just the way you are.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm




Lindsey July 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I love this. Recognizing that others can shimmer without diminishing you, well, that’s one huge life lesson right there. As you know I didn’t have a good time at BlogHer 2010 (how I wish we’d cowered in a room TOGETHER – that would have been much better, on so many accounts) but I haven’t been brave enough to go back. You inspire me to consider it.


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm


You are the one person I know who came back from our first BlogHer as wrecked as I was. Remember how we vowed never to go back?

I still can’t believe I did, and I did it at the last minute at my husband’s urging and as soon as my flight was booked, I felt sick. Couldn’t breathe or sleep sick. The morning of my flight, I begged my husband to let me stay home, but I also felt guilty about the investment. His faith in me. So I boarded the plane.

If you decide to go, I will cower with you. But I don’t think you will need to cower any more. You can do this, if you want to (or think you should). I will bring the chardonnay and gummi bears. Dear God, I ate so many gummi bears. xoxo


Amy July 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Amen! Just had my first BlogHer experience and felt just that way. Icky and inept wishing to blogginly belong.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 9:58 am


I hope things are starting to feel okay for you? I was down for months (seriously). If you need someone to talk to, email me, ok? xo


Absence of alternatives July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

You gals can fight about who’s going to be Bradley Cooper. But when a musical is made for the BlogHer version of hangover,Zach Galifianakis’ character is mine!


TKW July 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm


You bring the joy, my friend. I laughed so hard that night (and stole your Catwoman boots). Oh, and stole other things, too…


Absence of alternatives July 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm

You drink bourbon straight, woman. You got this baby. You got this.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes July 31, 2013 at 5:07 am

Taking note for when I finally get to go? Maybe next year…


Alison July 31, 2013 at 6:45 am

Damn that asshole who stole your laptop.

I’m glad you went and that you got out of it what you hoped, whatever that may be, even if it wasn’t what you expected (or did?). xo


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon July 31, 2013 at 7:35 am

Shine on lady!


Kim Jorgensen Gane July 31, 2013 at 8:01 am

I frickin LOVE you, roomie!!!! Even if you weren’t talking directly to me, it felt like you were. And thanks, I needed that. I was beating myself up a little-ish. I’m so glad you got a new laptop. Hubbies ROCK!!


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm


NO beating up! Love you.


Geek Girl July 31, 2013 at 8:27 am

I did not get to attend BlogHer this year. Plan to next year. You are most definitely someone I would like to meet. Until then I will take pleasure in reading your words that ring so true. :)


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Geek Girl,

With a name like that, I know I’m going to love you.


dauneobrien July 31, 2013 at 8:51 am

There’s just somethin’ special about you, girl. And not every body has that effect on the world. I feel honored to have shared a beef tip with you. Rock on with your bad self. xox


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm


I will share a beef tip with you any time! I love how genuine you are. Nothing but shine.


elizabeth July 31, 2013 at 10:36 am

If I recall, that first BH did allow you to steal away and see the High Line, Chelsea Market, the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, along with Michael and yours truly. :) So it wasn’t a complete wash, right?

No, but seriously–conferences I have to go to for work are exhausting enough, so I can easily imagine how overwhelming this one would be, and with so many people out and about.


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm


Meeting you and Michael and eating my way through nyc were the best things about that experience! xo


Rob July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am

You have such a way with words: Donkey balls. I just have to laugh :)

It does suck that someone stole your laptop. I would lose so much personal stuff, because I never remember to backup anything. Can you hold American Airlines responsible?

I’m glad you found Blog Her better this time. I thought I really wanted to go last year. Now, I’m not sure if I ever want to go. But, I did love reading your post about it.


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:38 pm

American Airlines is doing NADA. Fuckers.

And, like you, I had stuff I hadn’t backed up on that thing. Like the beginning to a *gulp* memoir.


And you are right. I do know how to turn a lovely phrase. With donkey balls.


elizabeth July 31, 2013 at 7:01 pm

If you’re still seething and have some time, try these channels:

Because that’s fucking bull-shit. American is the worst, and I say that because we sat at JFK for three-fucking hours in a tiny tin box to fly to Madrid last year. Your issue is far more egregious, and I think you could be successful in getting SOME restitution.


Tiffany July 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I am so thankful you had a more enjoyable experience this time…,because you are amazing and everyone is lucky to have met you!!


Jennifer July 31, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I love you and there are no words for how happy I am that I finally got to hug you in real life. Even if Arnebya and I did fight over you before you got there.


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:40 pm


You give excellent hug. Thank you for making me feel so at home. But I am still mad that we didn’t get to hide Arnebya’s eyeball. I love you.


D. A. Wolf (Big Little Wolf) July 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Ah… calmer, no need to belong… good, wise, mature woman

Waving madly from across the – no, not the conference room – the country, where I’m content to sit (small) with laptop (bastard who stole yours!!!!), and sighing deeply at the thought that women still make other women feel badly about themselves, even if unintentionally.

Rock on, my wondrous, smart, talented some-day-I’ll-get-to-meet-you friend.


TKW July 31, 2013 at 5:40 pm


Meeting you? I cannot wait.


Chrisor July 31, 2013 at 9:34 pm

This is one of the best #BlogHer13 recaps I’ve read! You really “get” how I felt this year as a newbie. You give me hope that it will get easier each time and to keep trying! I so wish I’d met you. Sorry about your laptop being stolen. :( That is beyond shitty.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 6:52 am


That first time is a killer.


Christie August 1, 2013 at 4:54 am

I adore you. Sorry about your laptop!


Dude Mom August 1, 2013 at 5:11 am

I seriously want to curse right now, and you know I don’t do that in blogland (real life is a whole other story, just so you know). You were at BlogHer?! How come you were at BlogHer and I was at BlogHer (mostly, or like, sorta), and I didn’t see you?! I HATE when I find this stuff out. I totally probably made googly eyes at you in the expo hall (that’s what I do at BlogHer, stare at people and think they look familiar but never go up to them because I don’t want them to give me the whole don’t-you-know-who-I-am-thing). Sigh.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 6:51 am

Dude Mom,

You were there? Dang! We probably missed each other because I only spent 30 minutes total at the expo!


Kim Jorgensen Gane August 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Dude Mom,
YES! Sit there and make googly eyes at people you want to meet, but too scared to go shake their damn hand! *sigh* That was me, too. :/ (I also refrain usually from publishing the F-word, but I’ve let shit fly.) We should hang next year! We’ll have a sign or something to tell each other when to quit with the googly eyes and go say hello!


HouseTalkN August 1, 2013 at 7:34 am

First, damn that asshole thief! Second, this is beautiful. Thank you for linking up.


kari August 1, 2013 at 8:45 am

I am now following your blog bc my friend and roomie at Blogher talked about your blog all weekend and how she hoped she would meet you.
Just thought you would like to hear that.
This was my first time and thank God I went in knowing people or I wouldnt have gone at all.
Because I hate large groups of women.
Love your blog.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 9:48 am


Did I meet her? PLEASE tell me I met her? If I’d known, I would have made sure we connected. I’m all warm and fuzzy that she told you about the blog. And a big thanks for letting me know and for sticking around!


marty August 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m a dork and just want to quote you back to you because all the fist bumps and yeses in the world can’t show how much I agree with this:

“Maybe because after 5 years doing this blogging thing, I don’t feel so desperate to belong. I feel calmer in my skin, having occupied this space for a while. I’ve made it clear who I am, neuroses and all, and you still read my words. I don’t have to pretend to be brave, which I tried so very, very hard to do in the beginning. I didn’t have to convince myself that I could put all of my insecurities aside for 3 days and ROCK the personality at BlogHer and meet the future agent of my book and fake being a slick, hear-me-roar writer.”


TKW August 1, 2013 at 9:50 am


I like dorks. Dorks are good people. Welcome to the club. :)


Alex@LateEnough August 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm

This was me 2010 vs 2012 BlogHer. I’m glad I gave it another chance because I needed to see the conference and my place in it differently.
I’m also happy went again this year although for different reasons. I’m sorry we didn’t meet though. It helps that I can remind myself I’m pretty disappointing in person. I mean why else would I blog? Heh.


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