Sometimes, you have to add a battery pack and twinkle lights

In June, I attended my fourth BlogHer conference. But this one felt strange. The last six writing conferences I attended all had a similar feel — one in which I knew dozens of people and was comfortable just…being me. That’s when I thrive.

This time, I started the conference off with a bang. After 3 flights in less than a week, and a truly amazing Disney adventure, my back was acting up for the first time in months. I was in pain, which only exasperated my desire to hide.

I know what you’re thinking. Chrissy? Hiding?

So, I’m an introverted extrovert. If you know me, you couldn’t possibly see me as shy. But if you don’t, you might think I’m the quiet one. Adding to that, I spent much of this year suffering from mild depression and anxiety, and now, I’ve got a recipe for disaster.

And so at BlogHer, only knowing a few of the several thousand people and trying to fight through pain, anxiety, and depression, I found myself hiding. Skipping sessions to nap in my room. Barely taking any photos throughout the events. Wandering the exhibitor hall by myself instead of sitting through full keynotes from really interesting speakers. Opting out of late night partying with new friends, and instead, I found myself floating down the lazy river with my roomie, Renee.

It was still fun, but it was a different kind of fun than one should have at a writing conference full of like-minded people. I found myself asking why I was even there.

On Friday night, I took a Valium for my back pain and crashed early.

On Saturday morning, Renee left, and my dear friend, Samara, was doing her own thing…so I wandered the expo for a while. I was interviewed for a Forbes podcast, and the guy looked at me — sporting a normal-ish blonde hairstyle and simple blue dress — with douche eyes and actually said, “Quirky Chrissy? You don’t look very quirky. Now, I saw this other girl who had rainbow hair and a unicorn horn. Now, THAT’S quirky.” Maybe it was the place my brain was hiding, but I wanted to simultaneously punch him and cry. But how do you defend your personality when someone mocks your chosen moniker?

I left the expo feeling down in the dumps.

The thing about being an extrovert who suffers from depression and anxiety is that you need people to help lift you out of the cycle, but you don’t want to be around people when you’re depressed or anxious.

By the time the closing party rolled around, I was ready to go home. But I told Samara I’d meet her down there. And I knew there would be snacks — I was starving, and I’ve yet to find a reason to say no to free food. So I decided I had one last chance to bust out my magic twinkle skirt.

And then I found some more of my people, and people recharge me the way the battery pack sewn into this skirt makes it light up. They bring me back to life (that’s the extroverted part of my brain). I met the unicorn girl, Elliotte, — who, by the way, is AMAZING — and she was kind and wonderful and inspiring…and she gave me a pink unicorn horn.

writers posing at the blogher17 closing party

Photo credit: BlogHer17/SheKnows Media

If I could have gone back in time and worn this fucking skirt the whole time I was in Orlando, I think I would have. Because there’s no better way to make 50 new friends than to wear a light up twinkle skirt. It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me.

It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me end the weekend on a high note.Twinkling Stars Skirt - Blue. 3X by ThinkGeek

I started seeing writing friends at the conference, some of whom I knew were there and that I’d said hi to, but hadn’t made a point to actually hang out with, despite my desperate need for more human interaction. I was shy and nervous. I convinced myself they didn’t want to hang out with me. I was afraid. But once I put on my magic skirt, and it was like I could hide my insecurities behind the sparkles and just illuminate the bright spots. It was a Band Aid, but at the time, I really needed a Band Aid.

selfie with writing friends at BlogHer

Eventually, I met up with Samara and she was ready to DANCE. And so I danced. And twirled. And shined brighter than I had throughout the whole conference. I felt glimmers of the me that I love to be, and I knew I had to get back there.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Today’s Post is Brought to You by Shamelessness. And BlogHer. And Me.

Today I am shameless. Today I ask again for your help. You see, in July, I will be attending my very first BlogHer conference. And I’m STOKED. And nervous. And everything in between.

And there’s this miniscule TINY little chance that I could possibly maybe read one of my blog posts. The lovely Lily from It’s a Dome Life submitted one of my posts to Voices of the Year. And then I submitted a few more for fun. And if you have a favorite post, you can totally submit that too. But if you think that I am worthy, I would very much LOVE to have that speaking opportunity at BlogHer. So if you could please go vote for me…I would be eternally grateful. Again.

I will DEFINITELY go vote for you too! Just leave a link in the comments here if you’ve been submitted to Voices of the Year.

Here are the four links that have been submitted representing Quirky Chrissy.

I Make a Terrible Housewife

Two Years Seems Like Just Yesterday and Forever

Shit I’m Glad My Mom Didn’t Do

In Light of the Tragedy in Connecticut

Because this shameless post should not be ALL about me…

And by the way, yesterday was WORLD FREAKIN’ PENGUIN DAY. Now, I don’t really have a thing for penguins the way I do for dolphins, but Katie over at Words for Worms does…and she wrote about it. So go read a post about a penguin butler. Yes. I said Penguin. Butler. Just go there already.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Innocence is in the Eye of the Beholder…Especially in New Orleans

Welcome to this week’s edition of Monday Memories to Make You Laugh! Today, we’re using a quote prompt instead of an idea.

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Innocence. When did I lose my innocence? I bet you’re thinking about virginity right now…but I’m not.

  • I’m thinking about the time I went to the dance club, even though I wasn’t supposed to and had to sneak into the house.
  • Or the time I went away to college and started drinking heavily.
  • But maybe the real downward spiral of my innocence truly was my first trip to The Big Easy.

What Happens in N’awlins…

I was 19. At a conference in New Orleans. Pre-Katrina. With more than 2,000 college kids. My fraternity brothers. (Co-ed service fraternity, thank you very much.) The week between Christmas and New Years Day. Unsupervised vacation for the first time in my life. It was glorious. Here are my top three less than innocent moments from that trip.

New Orleans Bourbon Street

5. Experiencing Bourbon Street in all it’s boozy glory. Now I was in my sophomore year of college, so I was no stranger to liquor…But I definitely indulged in all sorts of deliciously potent concoctions. That I got at bars. And not from older friends. Yes, blog friends, I snuck my 19 year old self into several bars, and ordered booze without being carded at others.

4.  Acquiring beads. Hear me out. This was a little unorthodox…but it happened. Instead of the traditional way of earning beads (which I may or may not have done…), my girlfriend and I set up a team effort to help our favorite shy guy out. Now, this was a guy who stayed in a room full of 4 very open ladies who believed You’re a brother…you don’t count…as we walked around in our underwear. And he would run to the window and stare out politely, waiting for us to cover our lady bits. So Mel ran the camera while I yelled down to the lady that our dear gentlemanly friend chose. “Hey! You! You down there with the green shirt! Show us your titties!” And then Mel would pop out from behind our pal and snap a shot with his camera. And then he gave us beads.

1. My first viewing of man bits. And then my second viewing of man bits. Yep. There were dudes just as willing to show their junk as ladies showing their tatas. And one of my newfound lady friends was ALL over that shit. And yes. I was a sophomore in college who had never seen man bits. And so, innocent little Chrissy fell down a little rabbit hole of crazy.

New Orleans Karaoke

For more Monday Memories, or just because they are awesome, check out It’s a Dome Life and First Time Mom and Dad.

 Tell me about a loss of innocence memory that YOU have (and no, I REALLY don’t want to hear about how you, you know…lost IT…unless it’s hilarious. Then you can share with the class.)

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!