Did you see her? She was right there. Standing in the doorway to the entrance of the ballroom, lunch plate in hand, trying to find a place to sit. Everywhere she looked were tables, full of people engaging with one another. But no actual room for her. She paused at the entrance, then turned around. I still don't know where she ate lunch.
Or maybe she gained entry to one of the parties, and stood next to the wall, hoping someone would come and talk to her; help her to bloom. Did you ask her her name? Did you leave her standing in the lobby alone when you went off for the after party activities? DId you notice?
While we were busy running to our next session/lunch date/invite-only party what was she doing? Did you wonder if maybe she gave up and went to her room early? Who did she eat dinner with? Every year, I have an amazing time at Blogher seeing my friends and partying it up. I would be willing to bet that you do, too. But every year, someone comes home and writes THAT post. You know the one. Blogher sucks, people are unfriendly and I am gonna just go eat worms. And while we are not completely responsible for her choices, could we be more open to new people?
This was my third Blogher. I am kind of old-hat at this point. I am also old enough that I don't give a flying loon what people think of me, I am going to have fun. I recognize that I have a responsibility to get my ass out there, not hide in fear. So I don't. But what about those who cannot make themselves "just do it?" I may show no fear now, but there was a time, back in high school, where I didn't fit in. I was too "cerebral." (I know, right?) and wasn't part of the in crowd. That is, back when I thought all of that mattered. I still remember the hollow feeling in my stomach that came from knowing I just didn't belong. I don't wish that feeling upon anyone.
When I saw her, I did try to introduce myself. I invited her along with us. Sometimes. But I admit, often it was too much trouble, or I wanted to "hang" with my friends, and didn't feel like making that extra effort. Going back over the weekend, her eyes are haunting me. Full of naked yearning and wanting nothing more than to belong. And I was in a hurry, so I pretended I didn't see her.
But not next year. Honestly, I loved seeing my friends, and I had a great time with them all. But maybe there is more to this Blogher thing, you know? Maybe it's about women empowering other women, even when all that is needed is a place to belong. So, next year, I am going to make more of an effort for new people. Instead of seeing them as invading my territory, I am going to do more than just widen the circle when she comes up to talk.
How about you?posted from my iPad