My first BlogHer, in 2012, was a tumultuous time in New York City. I cried throughout most of it, overwhelmed both positively and negatively by the experience. I was still reeling from discovering the first affair, hating being away from home because that's when the worst things happened, when I was plane rides away from my home and my children and everything I held to be sacred.
By the grace of women I now call my friends, I survived.
I returned to BlogHer the next summer primarily because I try to give everything a second chance ... but it was a lot easier to make that decision as the conference was in Chicago, my heart's home. I truly felt like I shined at the conference, as never before in my blogging career had I felt so confident, so pulled together, so on top of my game. I had found my tribe. In some ways, I found my family.
I wouldn't trade that experience for the world, even knowing that while I was away from home, missing my family and wanting them with me, to share this experience with me and see me in a way I wasn't sure they'd -- he'd -- ever seen me before, there was a new stranger in my bed, underneath the room where my children lay sleeping.
I am aware that this BlogHer, in San Jose, will be another crying year.
I have said this enough in person -- because that's the new safe way, new secret way now, to not leave any digital trace of your thoughts or your intentions for anyone to archive or redistribute -- but it is something I have kept from this space with tremendous and painful effort. So in a way, it doesn't feel like it bears repeating because those who are closest to me already know, but there will be many people I meet that don't know me or know me that well who may not understand why I may not be the person I was last year.
My marriage is ending.
The logistics haven't been fully worked out yet, but we are separating at the end of the summer.
I have all the words to say on this, but I can save those for another time. What I hope to do now, is to ask for your grace if you see me in San Jose. I will be trying my hardest to enjoy myself and this wonderful experience that I'm so lucky and grateful to have. I will relish those hot two seconds I'll be on stage as part of the #VOTY and #PhOTY honors. And I hope to be inspired and rejuvenated by being in the presence of you all.
But if you see me, and you hug me, know that I might sob a little. Because kindness and empathy are hard for me to accept sometimes, even when I desperately need them. And if I don't see you walk by me or hear you call my name, it's not because I'm ignoring you. Please try again. Your company will be welcome, as long as you aren't put off by the tears that may be forming in my eyes. I just may not hear you over myself.
I ask you to tread gently with me this year. I am broken and I know I won't always be like this but this hurt and this defeat are very fresh and very raw and I guess I'd rather have you know than not.
So. See you in San Jose.