Despite the feeling by some present at this years BlogHer, it did feel different for me this year.
Perhaps it was my year long foray into the year of the deep dark mental illness - you know - the unpretty side of being crazy that made me more sensitive to the feeling that I just didn't belong anymore.
Since I got home, I have been sitting with these feelings. Trying to wrestle out what is my stuff, what I perceived, what I felt. Why did I just feel so sad after being at BlogHer?
What I am coming to realize is that Blogging is a business. I don't say that with scorn in any way, as I am earning a very modest amount from my collection of blogs and contracts. This money allows me to buy some of the things I need without asking Terrance for cash, and gives me some of the freedom I lost when I gave up not only my employment, but my ability to seek jobs freely. I am an American in Canada on a student visa. I am not allowed to work, except in very specific places ( like on campus).
Having taken a year in which I wrapped myself in a bubble and struggled through the murky waters of my brain, I failed to watch what was going on in the outside Blog-o-sphere. The world has noticed that there is money to be made here, writers of considerable talent who can talk about more than how cute their child(ren) may be on any given day.
While I slumbered in my medicated cocoon, things changed. My beloved hobby is now a business and I am forced to view myself and others through these new eyes. I am a business. As such, there is an element of competition and self promotion that leaves me feeling like academia is right for me. At least that game, the one of professors and teaching assistantships - getting co-authoring credit on academic writing, I know how to play.
This other game? The one of cocktail parties and social networking? I suck at this. It makes me nervous and uncomfortable. My anxiety levels rise and I get silent...or start to drink to calm myself...which means I get goofy and decidedly UNSMOOTH.
I see others for whom this seems easy and wish I knew the secret. I feel jealous at their ease, the way in which others are drawn to them. On one hand, I want to know how to get invited to the reindeer games. I want what will also horrify me and make me deeply unsettled ~ I want admiration, I want the cooing, the squealing, the fussing over and being best beloved of people.
I wish I knew the secret. But I don't. I haven't figured it out in 37 years and I doubt the grand epiphany will occur any time soon.
Blogging has grown up and I remain hoping that the other blogging ~ the one I fell in love with ~ will return to hold my hand and tell me that it still loves me.
But you can never go back.