Internet Friends are Real and Other Lessons

I’ve been home from BlogHer for over a week and a half now and I’m still trying to figure out how to write a recap.

Ok, let’s be honest, I’m struggling to write anything.

Before BlogHer, my whole family got sick. It started with Eddie and a trip to the ER. He was burning up and was sick and scared. Turned out he had a nasty case of strep throat. Then Charlie got it. Then I got it. Then Cortney got it.

We also have this THING going on (that’s not bad, but I can’t talk about it yet).

Just before leaving, my wonderful friend, The Preacher’s Wife, dropped off homemade soup, salad, applesauce, cookies, and a nice crusty loaf of bread. I cried. I just felt so…taken care of. It sounds silly to say out loud, but other than my mom, I don’t have many women near me who just do that sort of thing.

So then the next day I left for San Jose.

My first full day there I found out Eddie was sick all over again. Or rather he was still sick. The antibiotics hadn’t taken care of it all. Cortney was worried that if Eddie didn’t get rid of his fever, his plans to go to a concert Saturday night would be thwarted. I worried because I felt guilty that Cortney was losing so many days at work (and possibly a fun night out) and I was on the other side of the country.

But something happened at the conference.

While I did spend a lot (a LOT) of time texting with Cortney about everyone’s health, I was also surrounded by women who were legitimately concerned too.

I’ve been blogging for seven years, and over that time I have heard over and over “find your tribe”. I will admit right here that I always thought that was hokey.  Wasn’t that just another way of telling women to find their blogger “clique”?  What was this? High school?  I wasn’t in any “tribe” in high school and I wasn’t going to start now. I just get along with everyone…or almost everyone.

Just over a year ago I found myself in a blogger tribe. A group of women who where, at first, my go-to for all things internet and writing. But as we all communicated, it became so much more. Since we are all personal bloggers, personal stuff gets intertwined in the discussion about blogging. We have been there for intense high moments (births, graduations, etc) and horrible lows (pregnancy loss, deaths in the family, divorce, etc).

Many of these women were at BlogHer. Whenever they saw me, the first thing out of their mouths was always, “how are  you? Is everything Ok with the boys? How is the THING?” I felt loved and cared for even though I was worried and exhausted from stupid jet lag.

And that extended to the rest of the conference too. It was smaller this year than in the past years I went and I liked that.

Every presentation I went to from Jenny Lawson to Kerry Washington, from Tig Notaro to all the 10×10’s, and especially the VOTY (which is my #1 reason for wanting to be there in the first place, I felt this mad supportive vibe. The conference was intimate and more intense than ever. Over and over I felt the message was TELL YOUR STORY. TELL IT.

And the stories we heard: hilarious, heart-wrenching, horrible.

I tried to say hi to everyone that I know online if I saw them, but I know I missed a few.

I didn’t feel stressed out by the conference this year because there weren’t a zillion things going on at once. I liked that they eliminated all the outside parties and events and kept everything close.

I was a little bummed by the food choices. I mean, I get that we were in California, but a side salad is not a meal, yo. As Homer Simpson says, “You don’t make friends with salad.” And of course, as usual, the water/beverage situation was lacking. I will say breakfast was yum though. #baconrules

But in the grand scheme of it all, those are minor complaints.

Overall BlogHer was what I needed. I needed to hear those stories and be encouraged to tell mine. I needed to be reminded of the greatness of being a blogger…of being a personal blogger.

Voice matters.

And the voices of my friends were loud and clear: you matter to us, Katie.

In the span of two weeks I experienced something that I never really did before: women taking care of women just because it’s the kind thing to do. Because it’s how we hope our fellow sisters will treat us.

My blogging “tribe”, The Preacher’s Wife, and so many others just praying and helping where they can.

It’s a gift to realize you are loved.

I spend a lot of time an energy thinking about how I am not good at female friendships, but the past few weeks have proven to me that I don’t suck at them either.

just a few of the women who I call my friends. Photo credit: Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life

just a few of the women who I call my friends. Photo credit: Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. <3 That's an amazing thing to come away with, and I'm so very glad you felt taken care of and cared for. Those things are important and we need people – women – in our lives who will do that!
    Laura recently posted…“Keep talking, whoa, keep talking”My Profile

  2. You know, I’ve always thought that I wasn’t good at female friendships too, but I think the real problem was that I just hadn’t found the right female friends. Now I have. I’m glad you are one of them.
    Jennifer recently posted…Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas – Howard CoxMy Profile

  3. Oh man, I love Jennifer’s comment!! ^^^

    SO glad to be part of your tribe, my friend. And that we got to hang out some. And the fact that we got such a good photo together of people who make a true difference in our lives…

    xo
    Elaine A. recently posted…Take The Long Way HomeMy Profile

  4. Man, I am glad to be a part of your tribe, hokey or not. It exists. We are real. And we got you.
    Arnebya recently posted…#BlogHer14: Traveling, Enjoying, Returning, ContinuingMy Profile

  5. Dude, no way that salad is a meal! I’m with you on the bacon though 🙂 – we have to meet up at BlogHer next year and enjoy a real meal together. xox
    Kerstin recently posted…Coming OutMy Profile

  6. Being at BlogHer really solidified my confidence in the tribe. It was so great to get to know you in person after all this time. You are a joy to be around.

    And I cannot even look at a backpack without thinking of you.
    Leigh Ann recently posted…I thought we had a little more timeMy Profile

  7. You definitely don’t suck at being a friend.
    You love, and you are loved.
    xoxo
    Alison recently posted…Once Upon A TimeMy Profile

  8. So wish I could have gone . . . glad you had such a good time.
    John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where random wins the dayMy Profile

  9. Yay for being taken care of and having your people! Sorry our crew was sick as that can be stressful but it makes me think of line from a country song…”sounds like life to me.” Sometimes it is challenging but it is what it is.
    Robbie recently posted…ThinkingMy Profile

  10. No you don’t suck at female friendships. 🙂
    Lady Jennie recently posted…Photos of DinanMy Profile

  11. So glad that you had a great experience and have such amazing women in your circle. The one I attended, well…it seemed just competitive basically. Everyone wanting to seduce and be seduced by brands. Less emphasis on Writing. Perhaps that’s a big difference. But, I did meet one amazing beautiful soul sister who made such a huge impact on me: it was worth the entire experience.
    I am thankful every day still that I was privileged to stand in her light for a few days.
    Rorybore recently posted…Time Travel Tuesday – When I Was Younger, So Much YoungerMy Profile

  12. There are few things more comforting than being surrounded by people who care. And when those people are other women? Well, that’s just even better.
    Kara recently posted…Change, We Meet AgainMy Profile

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