*Edited: For those wondering, I read this. There's a rumour about a video, too.
35 million mom bloggers.
Um, that's a whole lot of us and stuff. I spent three days in San Francisco at Blogher '08 with a handful of them and other incredible women bloggers (and a guy who still can't remember who I am, bygones). I am really not awake enough yet to even begin to talk about this weekend, but let's just say that it's changed my outlook on about 87.23% of my life thus-far.
My experience was so narrowly personal that I don't even want to begin in on it until I've had a little more time to process it. Being more or less internetless this weekend, I missed the opportunity to write as I thought, and so I have to remember things. Through the fog of a hangover incurred Thursday that still hasn't quite dissipated yet. It just might take me a while.
I want to tell you about the people I came to love more, the people whom I swooned with pride for like they were my own KID or something, the new friendships I've forged, the hearts that wrapped around each other, the old friendships concreted for life, but that will all come later (when I can remember it all more clearly, and with stolen pictorial evidence.) For now, I just want to try to sort through what I learned about blogging, since I was at a blogging convention and all.
What I know, without doubt, is that the community of us, all of us, every single motherfucking one of us, is something. We mean something. We're doing something big here. It doesn't matter if you're a mom blogger or a dad blogger or a poli-blogger or a tech blogger or whether or not you made it (by the skin of your teeth in my case) to a BlogHer convention in San Francisco or if you have 2 comments or 1,000 on your posts or if you write on Blogger or you self-host or if you blog anonymously or lay it all out there for the world to read. Blogging can change the world. Blogging is a powerful medium, and no matter how or why we do it, it matters.
People I'd never met, people who have never seen me or heard of me, came up to me this weekend and held me. They cried. They told me their story. They touched my cheek and said thank you. And I touched them back and said thank you, too. Because in the span of a few seconds, through run mascara and heavy breaths, we connected for just a moment. One woman came to me backstage after I read, crying, thanking me for my honesty and bravery, and then 10 minutes later turned around and read the most heart-felt, gut-wrenching, brave, honest, open, touching thing I've ever had the privilege of hearing. In that, I believe I was more humbled than I could ever hope to be. We connected. There was no thought of comparison and competition, and we just HEARD each other. I think I will be friends with her for the rest of my life.
I stood in the lobby of the Westin with Lesbian Dad (who better be damn glad there is a Lesbian Mom, or I'd totally have called dibs on her) and we tried to talk about our experiences. We tried to find the words for what we felt, what we realized that all of these millions of blogs actually do, and after a while we came to one conclusion; we touch souls. We give freely, and openly, and at a great risk to ourselves, and we hope that maybe one person out there can relate or benefit or at least understand. We connect on a level that is, I dare say, almost deeper than that in real physical company, because on our blogs, we don't hold back.
35 million mom bloggers. Every end of the spectrum. Every style and flavour.
I don't even know how many women bloggers. I couldn't begin to fathom how many men bloggers. I am just one small person floating in this turbulent, open water. We are all doing the same thing, even if we don't agree with how it's done, even if we make an assumption as to why it's done, even if we question the motives behind or the reasons for it, we are all on a level playing field. The biggest mom blogger in the world would still be doing this if she had my traffic and my total lack of income from it, because she loves it, she has to do it, she needs it. The smallest of us would continue to do this the exact same way we do now if we could make a living off of it, because it's where we go to create, to share, to write, to touch, to express, and to grow. We are all one small person floating in that water, and we are all slowly finding our connections.
35 million mom bloggers. Each a different type of writer, each a different color of the rainbow that makes up the blogosphere. We're finding it; we're all helping each other, teaching each other, finding each other. If we take just a moment to set aside our differences, our pre-conceived notions about one another, our biases and our safety nets and just reach out to each other, and reach out wide, we'll realize that we're all one big thing, one big rainbow connection...the lovers, the dreamers, and me.