There are those experiences of which you cannot compare, and BlogHer11 was one of those. Over 3,000 women bloggers and writers arrived in San Diego to learn, network, share of themselves and take in their own experience. Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, have created an organization that is truly unique. Better yet, they've created a community that supports women as only women can.
This was my 2nd conference, and the growth of attendees from 2,0000 at BlogHer08 in San Francisco to close to 3,600 this year was pretty mind boggling. Yes, it can be overwhelming - and it is. But, it is also an amazing opportunity to set eyes on your friends. Whether it is a blogger whom you've followed for years, or someone you've recently come across, making that connection in person is powerful.
I immersed myself in sessions from Essential Writing & Editing Skills to Success on Our Own Terms: A Discussion with Huffington Post Women, to Owning your Beauty: If We Change the Conversation, Can We Change the Culture?
I sat in awe through the Voices of the Year- a handful of bloggers picked for their amazing writing in the last year. Women who stood on the stage, making us laugh or slaying us with their words.
And, of course there are the parties... After all those sessions, you have to party. You have to...or, you go crash in your room. We partied at the People's Party, nearly tripped on Drag Queens swooping into the hallway during Queerosphere, we Sparkle Corned, we watched lithe men gyrate at the Social Fiesta, we Aimed Low and we ended with CheeseburgHer.
But, my favorite part, as always, was spending time in conversation. Whether it was sitting in the bar into the wee hours, or having a discussion around the table, BlogHer would not be BlogHer without the amazing conversations. And, the hugs.
I am still sorting through the weekend. Moved to tears often, the echoes of laughter are still in my belly, and, yes.... my feet are still sore. It was important for me to go. To feel the energy of so many women, and to know that we have a voice. Which brings me to my favorite quote of the weekend, said to me, of why another woman decided to come:
I've been feeling this movement, an energy, that women are gaining a voice. And I wanted to see it. And, it's real. It's actually real.