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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.”
I stood up. I looked around like a deer in headlights. “What do I do?”
“I think you go up there.”
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:
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 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.
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.
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?
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?
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)!