Ur Doin It Wrong

Whenever I talk about going to BlogHer 09 in Chicago I feel like people want to stick my photo up on lolcats with a "Ur Doin It Wrong" message. Or like they want to stick a "FAIL!" sticker on my forehead.

What is it that I'm doing? Not a whole heck of a lot and that is what seems to be the opposite of what most people are doing (or what it feels like). Where should I start.

Clothes and shoes:

I'm really not worried about what I'm going to wear. Ok, that's not entirely true because I am but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. As was mentioned in this What To Pack post at Blogher, I am concerned about what to pack. You see, I'm going to be gone for a week - a week in which I'll be doing very different things. We're going to be spending about 3 days in a car (1 full day on the way there, two half days on the way back) and that means I need Comfy Clothes but you know, ones appropriate for public viewing. Then Lee and I will be playing tourist for a few days and hanging out with Denise and ThatWoman and whatever members of their family that are around. (And I'm bloody excited about that because I haven't seen them in six years. I think I might even be more excited about that than the conference.)

Anyone who has ever played tourist knows that shoes are important because you walk around a lot. Lee and I are particularly stubborn tourists and prefer to walk a city rather than take public transit whenever possible. Even though we'll have our car we'll park it somewhere and walk from there. We walked around so much the two weeks we were in Europe that I had to destroy the shoes I wore when I got home. The summer weather here can be summed up as RAIN and because of that I haven't really gotten all my shoes worn in properly and I'm worried about blisters.What shoes do I pack? I have no idea. So I'll probably pack way more than I'll need or wear.

The conference is at the end of the week and I need to be sure that I have clean clothes left for it (or remember to do some hand-washing or something in the hotel). This all requires planning and I honestly suck in the clothes planning department. I really, really do. Add into that that fact that I'm chronically over pack with items I won't wear and don't pack in enough of what I need to wear (except underwear, I always pack oodles of underwear) and yeah, I'm worried about what to pack.

I can also honestly say I'm not worried about what Tim Gunn or Carson Kressley think about what I'm wearing. I actually had to Google Tim Gunn to figure out who he was. (Hi! I live under a rock! It's nice and cozy here.)

What will I be wearing? Like Heather B I'll be wearing what I wear everyday, which is pretty much the same things I wear into the office. What's that? Anything from jeans with a studded belt,  an AC/DC t-shirt and a Team Canada hoodie (we're a rather casual office) to a pencil skirt with a tailored shirt. On my feet you'll find anything from flip-flips to 3" red heels. It kinda is going to depend how I feel when I wake up in the morning, what's clean and how much walking I'm going to do that day. If you see me wandering around the conference hotel late in the evening there's a good possibility I'll be wearing a tank top and satin pajama pants.

I'm also not getting a manicure, pedicure or anything waxed. I will admit that I recently got my hair cut and coloured but I hadn't had it done since March and I would have gotten it done regardless of whether or not I was going to BlogHer (roots and greys showing and OMG the split ends). I may or may not put on makeup. It depends on my mood when I get up in the morning. I'll probably wear my glasses rather than contacts because my eyes get too dry when I wear my contacts all day. Plus I just bought new glasses and I'm excited about them. (After years of wearing contacts I've pretty much fully embraced a switch back to glasses.)


I have not RSVP'ed to a single party. And I don't intend to. Nor have I signed up for any of the other activities like karaoke or bowling (though the bowling does sound like fun). I don't think there's anything wrong with the parties and activities. I think they are a great for many people. Just not for me.

I'm very much an introvert, despite my often chatty online persona. I worked from home for about 3 years and I even now I only work in an office half days. I find large crowds overwhelming and less than fun.

I attended last year's, much smaller event, BlogHer Boston. There were about 250 attendees I believe (feel free to correct me in the comments if I'm wrong on that). It was only one day and I found it a bit overwhelming. By the last session of the day I was starting to feel undone and rather than attend it (even though I really wanted to) I hung out in the ballroom at the Geek Lab. I needed the time to chill out.

BlogHer 09 in Chicago is going to be much, much bigger. I'm absolutely expecting to be completely overwhelmed. I'm attending events that are on the schedule. I'll  be going to the cocktail party and keynotes. I'm not bowing out of those and I do expect I will enjoy them. And there's almost always a corner I can hide in. And you absolutely must feel free to come join me in my corner - I'll be hiding from the crowd, not from people. At the end of the day I'll be tired and overwhelmed. The last thing I should do put myself into a situation where there are going to be even more crowds.

Plus, I'm bringing my family. No, I don't have children but Lee is coming and he is my family.* I would actually like to see him as I rather enjoy spending time with him. He's even less interested in the parties than I am. (He thinks that y'all are wonderful but en masse you intimidate the pants off him.) We're not party people. We're walk along Navy Pier and eat hotdogs or hang out in Denise and ThatWomen's hotel room and watch What Not To Wear in our pjs people (ok, Lee would rather watch ESPN but we won't quibble about that).  And again, anyone who wants to join us is welcome.

I know that I will read about all the parties and I'll feel a twinge that I missed out on some good times. At the same time I know that it I tried to go that the chances of me having a good time are not as good. I know that whatever I do in the evenings I'll be having fun and making memories the Sassymonkey way.

The Conference:

I have not planned what sessions I'm going to. I haven't decided if I'm going to go to any of the Room of Your Own sessions. I don't know if I'm going to do this stream or that stream. Some people don't plan this at all. Other plan it excessively. I'll decide when it's time. There's probably a decent chance you'll find me hanging out in the Geek Lab again even though I'm not what I'd call geeky. The Geek Lab is chill and I learn things. That's part of the reason I go anyway, right?

So what am I doing?

I know it seems like I'm not going much of anything to "prepare" for this. It's not from a lack of enthusiasm. I've been around BlogHer since the early days and I'm bloody thrilled to be going. However, I've also had the benefit of learning a lot these last few years when I haven't been able to attend. I know it's going to be big and overwhelming. I know it's going to be a ton of fun. I know that not everyone is going to know who I am or want to be my friend. I'm not expecting any of that.

I'm expecting to go and learn. I'm expecting to be overwhelmed. I'm expecting to meet fantastic, inspirational women. I'm expecting to hang out with friends, be they people I've know for years or people I've known for five minutes. I'm expecting to bawl my eyes out at the community keynote. I'm expecting to feel like I'm on the world's craziest, scariest, most thrilling and exciting amusement park. And I'm expecting that the moment it's over I'm going to be like the child that cries the whole way through and then says, "AGAIN! AGAIN!"

I'm not going to stress out about it. I'm going to have fun and experience it my way. If that's doing it wrong, well, doing it right can #suckit.

*Just a clarification - Lee is not attending the conference. We haven't figured out what he'll do to amuse himself on Friday yet but on Saturday he's going to a Cubbies game.