BlogU15: The Good, The Awkward, and The Bloody

For those of you not obsessively stalking me on social media (First, PSA – what are you thinking? You can savor little bits of me in small doses, and each social media outlet is like an adorable and ridiculous puzzle piece that fits into the grander scheme of me, people. Go forth and use those shiny social media buttons at the top of my page and love the shit out of me…), you may not know that I was waking a roommate up each morning to “Good Morning, Baltimore” from Hairspray as we relished a weekend of blogging camaraderie at the BlogU conference. I’m going to tell you now that my roommate, Vicky, loved me and wouldn’t trade me and my Breath Right nose strips for a toffee and sea salt chocolate bar any day. I think.

How to Prepare for a Blog Conference - get your wardrobe, feet, nails, beer and eats on.

The only picture I have of my middle school outfit was from Thursday night packing. My rainbow pants were a recognizable conversation starter so I could ensure people spoke to me (and I didn’t retreat into the introvert side of my brain).

I survived three glorious days on almost 14 hours of sleep total, pretending I was in college again. I had the time of my life with a beautiful mish-mosh of (mostly) women (plus like 4-ish dudes) bloggers as we learned, partied, played and learned some more. On Friday, at the crack of dawn, Brian loaded my suitcases into the trunk of my car as I prepared to embark on my first solo trip in more than five years. I realized I was terrified as we made our way to Midway Airport, and told him as much. I explained I thought I was going to throw up, and asked what would happen if it wasn’t as amazing as everyone said it was? And what if no one liked me? What if I got nervous and shy and said nothing?

You may not believe me, but it’s true.

Bloody Mary

I’d only met ONE other person attending BlogU – Aussa Lorens (who, after hanging out with a couple times at two blog conferences, I think I can safely say that we’re BFFs). So I planned to start my afternoon with Joules, who wasn’t attending the conference but lives…sort of nearby. We had a killer delicious brunch and were joined by a hundred other bloggers. (Or like 15. Whatever.) I had the most beautiful bloody Mary ever to grace the planet, one which I will never be able to replicate (until my imminent return next year).

The most beautiful bloody Mary ever

Miss Shirley’s Bloody Mary – tomato, shrimp, Andouille sausage, cheese, okra, meat thing, pepadew pepper, jalapeno bacon.

So the weekend began with a bloody…which turned out to be my theme for the weekend. In many more ways than one.  The drink was loaded with deliciousness and just a hint of spice. Someone told me to look at it like it was the biggest dick I’d ever seen…this is the result:

I split breakfast apps with my new friends, McCall and Anne. I had to sweet talk the server into splitting up our check a little more than the original plan (ONE check per table and max FOUR credit cards. I promised we’d tip well, and I’m pretty sure we did), but it worked and we were all golden. Then I bid farewell to Joules and piled into a car with four other bloggers and their luggage (me carrying the most, of course).

Bloody Shaving

At dinner on the first night (a lot of these stories are going to revolve around eating and drinking. Deal with it, yo), I was drooling over the dessert table, when Jen Simon started swooning over some magic half brownie thing. I already had 27 desserts on my plate, so she was like, “go try mine. There’s my table. Don’t tell them you know me.”

Not one to miss out on a golden opportunity of awkward moments, I strolled over with a fork, sat down, and dug in. Everyone laughed and I made a new table of friends, including the super sparkly Mary. So then, Jen walked up and stood behind me, chatting. And I felt something warm and wet on my lower back…because there was some hot chocolate drizzle rollin’ down my back. She felt bad, but I didn’t. I had planned to wear my rainbow pants and tee shirt to the pep rally and Term Paper of the Year (and was beginning to feel a bit on the self-conscious side) but now I had an excuse to change. I brought enough clothes, and decided I wanted to look adorable with all the other people (seriously, everyone I met was adorable).

I decided that if I was changing, I should probably shower. And if I was showering, I should probably shave. Well. If you may recall from my shit that’s hard for chubby girls post, I’m not exactly great at shaving my legs. And I almost always regret this beauty regimen. But I braved the fucking shower yoga so I didn’t feel completely self-conscious in front of so much amazing talent…and cut the fucking shit out of my legs.

The Many Faces of Selfie Queen Quirky Chrissy

At the end of the conference, I was dubbed Queen of the Selfies…This is probably why. There were more selfies of my narcissistic self than me with other people on my camera. Thanks Sarah for being the only photo bomber.

Bloody Towel

After taking a miniature battle axe to my legs, I toweled off with the tiniest towel ever to grace my body. Poor Vicky almost caught a glimpse of everything but my left tit, because that’s all this terrycloth bitch could cover. I set it on the towel bar in our shared suite to dry, where the sight of it broke the amazing Chris Dean’s heart. As one of the few people lovely enough to believe that my hair really is THIS RED…she was disappointed to discover the bloody towel hanging on the rack. As a faux ginger herself, she knows the site of a hair-dyed towel when she sees one. But…did I mention Vicky and I got to share a quad with Chris and Anne (from breakfast)? Because that was definitely a highlight.

Bloody Period

Well…thank GOD Jen Simon spilled hot chocolate on my ass (literally), because if she hadn’t…I wouldn’t have showered. Or changed. Because I was pretty thankful when I was cut off mid-sentence telling Vicky that I was glad I didn’t have to worry about getting up and speaking during the Term Paper of the Year…as they announced my motherfucking name…

I looked at Vicky and Sasha, shell shocked. “Umm…I think that’s my name.”

“Woohoo!”

I stood up. I looked around like a deer in headlights. “What do I do?”

“I think you go up there.”

“Oh. Fuck.”

I didn’t even know what I was reading. I couldn’t remember for the life of me what I submitted. And then I stood in front of 200 people I hadn’t introduced myself to yet, and read the story of my first period. Thank GOD they laughed when they were supposed to laugh. Because speaking about bleeding from my lady bits (and not fucking knowing it) in front of brilliant writers was the most terrifying thing ever. I gripped the podium like I was hanging onto the edge of a building and prayed that I didn’t fall down. And when I was done, I was shaking. Thank you, Vicky for capturing this on video:

Bloody Shoulder

The rest of the weekend seemed to go pretty well and remained relatively accident-free. Until I was sitting in Jen Mann’s session about writing books (because books). I was listening, learning, and laughing (I love it when people are funny in real life…especially when they make the universal tongue-in-cheek sign for blow job), when I looked down and noticed a significant amount of blood welling up on my left shoulder. Of course, I reached to touch it and ended up with blood on my fingers as well.

The girl sitting next to me (who my mind is COMPLETELY blanking on and for that I’m so sorry. If that was you, please let me know so I can credit you for your sympathy) searched her purse for a tissue, but came up empty, apologizing profusely. So I improvised. The thing about having a former life as a catering manager is that you learn to improvise quickly. I ripped out a piece of notebook paper, wiped my bloody fingers, folded the paper up, and used it to apply pressure/soak up the blood.

Bloody Shoulder wiped up with paper

And took a picture. Obviously. ( I haven’t mastered my new camera phone yet, which is why my head looks gigantic)

Bloody Dance Floor

First, you should probably be listening to this song as you read this next part. It’s one of my favorite jams. And this section is all about jams.

 

Okay. So. At the AMAZING middle school awkward party hosted by Nickelodeon, I would love to tell you I was the belle of the ball, and since there were about 200 belles, so I guess I’ll say I was just one of them. Dancing my freaking ass off like I was 22. I seriously believed I would lose like 10 pounds after an epic dance floor experience, but alas, not one pound. Anyway, I was really hoping to hear, The Bad Touch, because I know all the words and was SO ready to dirty rap for all my new friends. After an appletini or two, I walked up to the DJ and explained he NEEDED to play The Bad Touch because it was a quintessential song from my existence, and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he didn’t play it.

An hour later, I was jumping around to Madonna, singing Like a Prayer, and pretending I was 22. I’m a firm believer in dancing the lyrics, so when Madonna sings, “down on myyyyyy knees…” I got down on my knees like a motherfucking boss.

I popped up and continued dancing, feeling a little twinge of pain in my knee, but it wasn’t unbearable. As the song was ending, The Bad Touch came on and I was READY for this shit. Until I accidentally looked down and saw that there was mass quantities of blood gushing from my knee to my ankle. I stared in horror…deer in headlights AGAIN…and I was ushered off the dance floor. Evacuated, if you will. I kept trying to go back because they were playing my JAM and I was missing every glorious second of it.

Thanks to Jana, this moment was not completely lost. I only wish I had waited to wipe the blood that was dripping down to my ankle...

Thanks to Jana, this moment was not completely lost. I only wish I had waited to wipe the blood that was dripping down to my ankle… And let’s talk about that awesome friendship bracelet handmade by the beautiful Jessica D’Pirate who woke up early and practiced yoga with me and Jessica.

Jana brought me paper towels and took a picture. Others offered to bring me alcohol. Estelle searched her purse for a Band Aid (I had them…in my dorm room) which she couldn’t find. I stood there crying about missing my song. Then, I took Estelle up on her offer of Purell because I wanted to emotionally snack on mass quantities of gummy candy and I couldn’t do that with bloody hands. So I cleaned up my act and finished the evening in style.

I also spent the rest of the evening yelling at people to be careful because I thought I knelt on glass, because there’s no way I was just…bleeding from the dance floor, right?

Bloody Squirrel

The next morning, walking to breakfast, my new friend Amy commented on the insanity of the local squirrel population as they swirled and swung from the tree tops. I just chalked it up to college campus squirrels, as the Bradley squirrels were a little…well…squirrely too.

But as we were walking BACK from breakfast, we happened upon the saddest scene in the world. A squished squirrel, posthumously named Skippy by Tracy, lay bloody in  the middle of the campus road, as his little buddy gingerly walked up to him and nuzzled his battered body. I cried a little bit watching this happen. Can we just pause for a brief moment to recognize Skippy?

Thanks.

I did actually engage with other people...I promise.

A few other highlights to prove that I did actually engage with other people…I promise…including Estelle, Jen Mann, Sasha, Jen Simon, Aussa, Andra, Audrey, Ashley, Jenn Rian and Vicky

Bloody Delayed Flight

After my flight was delayed an hour, and I woke up from a power nap on the floor of the boarding aisle, I made my way to the back of my aircraft and passed the fuck out. For about an hour. I woke up, gave myself a good scratch and…wait for it…started bleeding on my right shoulder. I cursed silently and decided that my bloody weekend needed to be over, and so I went back to sleep and woke up in Chicago (or something like that).

I made so many more friends and wish I could tag every damn one of you, but this post is already at an unreadable length. But you were all fucking magical. I learned a LOT. I laughed constantly. I found my people. Every single person that was there was my people. And I adore you all. My nerves were quickly replaced by friendships that will last forever.

A big fat thank you and shout out to Nehemiah (Boogie Wipes, Kandoo, Dreft Home, Downy Wrinkle Releaser and Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator) for reimbursing my ticket as part of a random drawing for members of their blogger team)!

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!

You Pray And You Pray And You Don’t Realize Your Prayer Was Already Answered…

This post was recognized at BlogU as Term Paper of the Year in Women’s Studies. My BlogU roommate was kind enough to capture the video of my reading. Enjoy.

When you’re nine years old, the Grade School Powers That Be separate the girls and boys into different classrooms and begin an annual ritual of education that continues for several years. Girls learn all about getting their first periods, weird hair growth, and unusual body odor. Boys, I can only assume based on my experience, learn about making fun of girls, making fun of each other, and how to change a tire. I think.

After watching an embarrassingly long video about a girl who played Little Orphan Annie on Broadway and her first period, we were given all sorts of pamphlets to bring home to our mothers, including an order form for a giant box o’ lady things…you know, like a period sampler pack. Obviously, I shoved these papers into the depths of my cluttered locker, never to be seen again (until locker clean out day).

Of course, the mom-network message arrived via telephone a few days later, when my mother called me down to lecture me and cry about how I didn’t talk to her about this very important day at school. “You never tell me anything,” she complained.

In my head, all I could think of was my dad’s favorite line, Telephone, telegraph, tell-a-Nudd. Nudd being the collective whole of my mother, her sisters and her mother. As soon as one of them knew something, the world knew. Mass communication that ran faster than I could possibly imagine—probably faster than the internet. I knew that the minute I told my mom anything, the world would know. And this whole period nonsense? Totally embarrassing. I wanted nothing to do with it…until I was in middle school.


For months, I prayed to get my first period. I begged God to let me be like the other girls. This is the crazy thing that happened when he answered my prayer.

When I was eleven, I was already among the very unpopular, invisible kids in middle school, but my best friend in the whole world was a cool kid. And I wanted to be just like her. I distinctly remember when all of my childhood friends started to get their periods. They talked about it like it was a special club that only girls who had been visited by Aunt Flo could be a part of.

And so I prayed. Like the good little Catholic girl that I was, I said my prayers every night. And I prayed to God, begging and pleading with everything I had to bargain, to get my period and be just like the other girls. Every night a relatively similar prayer would follow the common prayers I learned as a toddler. God, I know you’re a pretty busy guy and all, but if you could please let me get my period, I would really, really be thankful. Also send my love to Grandma and Grandpa…Thanks. Of course, this is reminiscent of a strikingly similar prayer that I would eventually repeat several times throughout the course of college and some time afterward…but that’s another story for another day.

I had, in fact shat myself overnight

Even though we ran in different social circles at school, my friend and I still spent lots of summers together hanging out. Of course, on the nights when I slept at my friend’s house unexpectedly, I found myself sleeping in an old t-shirt, without an extra pair of clothes for the next day. On one particular morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom to discover that I had, in fact, shat myself overnight. I had felt stomach pains the night before, but still I was painfully ashamed of my little mishap. I checked the fold out bed and was thankful that nothing had stained that. What baffled me, of course was how my poop managed to make it to the front of my underwear and hardly touched the ass-end of my panties…I worried for the cleanliness of my lady bits, so I wet some toilet paper and wiped them clean.

Embarrassed and afraid to say anything to my friend or anyone in her family, I wiped my underwear with toilet paper, rinsed them as best as I could, dried them with more toilet paper, and put them on backwards. My thought process? The poop needs to stay on the poop side.

I put the rest of my clothes on and feigned illness to get my mom to pick me up and take me home. For the next few days, I continued to discover that somehow I was crapping my pants with some frequency, without even realizing it. Being the quiet and shy, embarrassed little girl that I was, I did everything I could to hide the evidence. I threw at least 3 pairs of underwear away, spent a lot of time in the bathroom wiping myself and wondering what the fuck was going on with my body.

Eventually, the problem resolved itself, and I went back to life as a pre-teen. We weren’t called tweens back then. I continued to pray to God that I would get my period like the other girls and wonder what it would be like when I finally did get my first period.

A few weeks later, though…it happened again. I crapped my pants. Again. And somehow it kept sliding to the front of my underwear. I couldn’t understand it. Was I sleeping on my stomach? This has got to be really bad for me, right? Of course, a normal kid may have gone to their parents for help…but me? I just kept throwing away underwear and spending a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom.

The third time it happened, the brown spots were less brown…and more red. And all of a sudden, I knew what the problem was. Apparently, God had already answered my prayers three months prior, and I was cursed with Aunt Flo for all eternity. It was awful.

First, I had to tell my mom. I dreaded this. I dreaded this more than anything in the world. Not because my mom isn’t wonderful…but more so because I was incredibly embarrassed. And ashamed to talk about anything personal. Everything embarrassed me. I didn’t want to talk about things, I didn’t want to know about things…I just wanted to exist, hidden.

When I finally got out of the bathroom to tell my mom that I think I got my period…I failed to mention the last two months of pant-crapping horror. Seriously. She didn’t even know until she read this story.

I mean…No one TELLS you that it might come out brown the first few times. They just say you’re going to bleed from your lady bits. And that’s that. I saw the movie, Carrie. I knew what I was supposed to expect. This was not that.

You Pray

So of course, when I whispered to her, “I think I got my period…” she practically jumped for joy. Of course, for someone who was anxiously awaiting my period the way some moms await their daughter’s first dance recital…you’d think she would have been prepared. I mean sure, I didn’t ask her to order the period sampler pack when I was nine, but maybe a box of pads under the sink just in case? Yes. Pads. I know. Gross. Don’t even get me started on that. But whatever. I was eleven, and quite frankly, the thought of shoving something up my lady bits frightened the crap out of me. Just not the period crap. That was different.

My mom hadn’t had a period in years, so she didn’t have to deal with pads or tampons or bleeding like a stuck pig sixty fucking days of the year. So she had to run out to the store to get the things I would need. Before she left, I begged her not to tell anyone. I begged her especially not to tell my dad. Within hours, the entire family network knew that I had become a woman. Including my father.

Eventually, I came to accept the horrors of this monthly curse that I had prayed so hard for. I wanted to be a part of the club, but I realized that the other girls just wanted everyone else to be as miserable as they were once a month. These days, I’m not praying to get my period. Instead, I find myself asking, how long until menopause?

Was your first period even remotely as embarrassing as mine? On a scale of one to awkward, where does this fall? Tell me something painfully embarrassing about your childhood, my friends.

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!