A week or so before BlogHer, I sat in the tiny room of my energy healer with so much pent-up toxic energy I could have powered a steamship with it. She asked a simple question and I started talking. And I don’t think I stopped for 15 minutes.
When I was done and finally (quite literally) exhaled, she simply looked at me and said, “Wow. There are going to be tears today, aren’t there?”
Life had been piling up on me in ways I can’t even explain. Nothing was bad but nothing was great. There was just a lot of excess stuff sitting on my heart and soul, weighing me down from the inside out.
I casually mentioned that I was going to BlogHer and the circumstances surrounding my decision to go. That was that.
After she did her magic (y’all, I swear this is better than an IV of chocolate during a marathon of Kate and Allie) we did our usual chatting. In the way that only Amy can do, she looked at me and told me to breathe. There was talk of a “major shift” and “boundaries” and all that other stuff I knew she would say when I went in.
What I wasn’t expecting her to say was this: “Even though you don’t get to read at the keynote, walk in there and own the room. Go buy a new dress and own the damn room.”
Well, hmm. Easier said than done with 5000 people in one place. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t FEEL like I owned the room, right?
My friend Michele just happened to be coming to Atlanta for an appointment and I roped her into going shopping with me. She made me try on a dozen things — most of which I NEVER would have tried on myself.
We found the dress. It was comfortable, cool, ME and red. No matter how many extra pounds I have on right now, this dress made me feel amazing. Maybe Bill Blass was right when he said “When in doubt, wear red.”
I knew I wouldn’t be reading. But I knew in my heart that being on that giant screen with the names of people I admire and long to write like was still a big deal. Crystal and I grabbed a place at the front with a great view of the speakers. Each of the readers did a wonderful job. There’s really something amazing about being able to hear a post read out loud, in the dialect, accent, and with the emphasis of the author. To be honest, I don’t know if I COULD have read in front of that many people if I HAD been chosen, so you know… yay for that!
After the Voices of the Year keynote and reception, Listen To Your Mother held an Open Mic Salon. Crystal and I were excited about the chance to throw our names and posts in the hat (bowl) to read but really didn’t figure we’d be able to.
I had chosen earlier in the week, Teach a Man To Fish to read if I got the chance. But at the 11th hour, just in case, I decided I really wanted to read my VOTY post. It was why I was even AT BlogHer, so it seemed fitting.
Damn if they didn’t draw my name to read second.
After I almost threw up and after I really wished I had a bottle of vodka handy, I stood up in front of a few hundred bloggers, writers, friends, and read my post.
For 5 minutes, I owned the room.
I wore red, and I owned the room.
It was a rush I’ve never experienced. I felt the oxygen leave the room when a few hundred people collectively gasped when I read the words, “In 2003, our son died.” The hairs on my arms stood up when they clapped. And when people told me how lovely it was after, the tears fell.
My voice was heard.
And it felt good.
Lesson learned: When in doubt, DEFINITELY wear red!Thank you Julia for taking this picture for me. The haziness captured exactly how it felt in that room. To read the other posts that were read at the LTYM Open Mic, see here.