So here are my thoughts on BlogHer and how they relate to Expressing Motherhood.
I went to socialize.
I have never had intentions of monetizing ExMo. I didn’t go to listen to the break out sessions.
I was never a great student, especially once my anxiety kicked in during high school. I always sat by a window or the door so I could exit if I needed to.
I never cared about making money off this show.
Well, that’s not true. I did for one year. After my year of trying and failing I pitched it to multiple conferences, “The Year I ho’ed Myself Out.” Basically saying I played the game, posting regularly, tweeting, etc. Nothing came of it.
Except a call at the end of the year when literally I sat at my desk almost weeping due to my son’s whooping cough (being treated) failed plans to make it to a conference I wanted to attend and also just feeling like why the fudge can’t I make money off of something that’s freaking cool and was fresh.
And more then that.
Why do I care?
Then Maria Shriver’s people emailed me and said she wanted to interview myself and Jessica tomorrow at my house and suddenly I felt good. Validated.
Within minutes of giving up on the ho’ing I got that email. I have never been one to make things easy on myself or go the normal route.
I started this show for regular people, not celebrities, not published authors. Ironically I knew I had to prove myself. I am fucking blonde for God’s sake. Well processed. And I have a successful husband. So surely he did this all for me.
I shunned social media.
I disliked and did not own an iPhone.
I shut down my personal blog in ’08.
I did the opposite I guess of what most would have done but my dad says I have done that since birth.
I have poured my heart into this show and honestly going to BlogHer I did enjoy some speakers, I loved meeting new people and I especially loved hanging with ExMo alum Michelle and Elizabeth. These people and this form of art fills my soul.
So I had to leave a room sometimes due to anxiety and also my own voice that said, “Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid.”
Meaning, there is never one path.
And the end result, if it doesn’t end in dinero, is more then OK.
They talked a lot about how blogging has changed how it will continue to change.
Is it relevant?
I don’t know exactly what was said but I know stories especially shared in the intimacy of a theatre will continue on and more importantly fulfill me.
And I don’t need to feel overwhelmed by hits, etc.
I will go to other conferences, I love the days of laughter and debauchery with fellow artistic women. Thought provoking fragments I wrestle with and cry over.
BlogHer has left me a very tired mom on this Monday.
And I thank the women who produced it for all it has conjured up.
This morning my husband brought my daughter into our bed around 5:45AM hoping for a little bit more sleep.
Her big eyes were staring right back at me and her cute smile right underneath it.
No more sleep but some precious cuddling.
I have two older sons and am very cognitive of raising her to not really care what she looks like, but rather, focus inward.
I kissed her and the boys and then headed out the door. To get waxed and my nails polished before heading to BlogHer. I had already made a promise to myself, you will not Instagram your nails for BlogHer. That’s so 2009. You have moved beyond.
Then I also thought, as I drove, why the hell did I obsess over the color of nail polish I would shake Maria Shriver’s hand with when I found out last May she’d be at my house the next day at 10AM.
And had I ever remembered what color nail polish a woman had worn?
I am a woman who used to wear flip flops and tennis shoes out. Does vanity make me stupid? Yet, somehow as I age and especially after having 4 pregnancies I realize I like my body healthy and yes, sexy, however that is I deem it.
First I headed to spin class. In my Lululemon pants.
Before you judge me, oh judge me whatever. I needed to get there and help alleviate my anxiety. It has grown tremendous the last month.
I wore my Expressing Motherhood shirt and the teacher said, you came here with an intention, what was it? For me it was to get my heart rate up. I have an SVT and I need to keep my heart healthy. I looked at my reflection and looked at the heart my friend has in part of the design.
I wanted to get off the bike a hundred times. But I stayed. Sweaty, I left feeling good. Off to the nail salon.
It’s a salon I haven’t been to in years. I asked if I could get a bikini wax.
A woman said yes, she had time for me.
OK, I promised no Instagrams of my nails but I’m headed into bikini waxing, stay with.
“You want regular or Brazilian?” She said in a heavy accent.
“Oh, well, oh geez, just regular…” that’s when she started taking over.
“Let me see. You will be so happy Brazilian is no big deal,” she said.
“Oh, well, I’m a mom of 3 so this is pretty no important, you know, I’m just busy,” I started rambling. Half apologizing and half just doing what I do.
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“A conference, for women/mom bloggers. Maybe I’ll go swimming?” I made a funny face. Then she really took over.
“You have three kids,” this is where I thought she would say, you need to have time to yourself instead she said, “Men get bored, they go out and start looking around. Men are bastards anyways.” Then there is pain and holy smokes she has started what I am assuming is a Brazilian plan.
“Holy smokes,” I laugh and cringe as I am sweating. But she is so utterly entertaining me that I let her continue on.
“You have had babies, you can do this,” she says. “Men go out into the world and now they see the ladies who look like this and this is what they want.” I giggle, inwardly as I think of my shy husband who works from home walking around LA seeing this.
“Men are dogs,” she says right before a part I’m utterly terrified of happening happens. Then she throws me a curve ball, “I had only one man, can you believe that?”
“Oh, wow, how long?” I politely say, sweat building on my forehead.
“40 years,” she says.
“How did he treat you?” I asked.
“Very good. Like a princess. That is why I don’t want to date. I got spoiled. Plus after a while, sex is like a chore for a woman.” I think of Mommy Tonk and how much material she is giving me.
“Did you divorce?” I asked.
“No, he died, 10 years ago. He was volunteering over in Iraq as a doctor and his camp was blown up.” Suddenly I felt no more pain.
She had me captured.
“Turn over,” she said.
“I’m so sorry to hear about that. Did you have kids?” I asked
“Yes, she said, I had them very close together, two sets of twins 14 months apart,” but the way she phrased it I didn’t want to ask more questions. I had a feeling something painful and much more raw would come up and I didn’t want to probe.
“Look, look how good you look,” she said as she handed me a hand mirror. I looked thinking, holy shit, this woman is awesome and being a woman is hilarious and wow, just what happened.
“See you did it,” she said.
I thanked her and tipped her big.
Then I got my nails done and she did the toes of a fellow older woman whom obviously was a regular.
This time the woman who waxed me listened to the woman talk about her family and her upcoming travels.
At one point the waxer said “Life is sad, what can we do,” when they were talking about the clients ailing mother in law.
The way the two women hugged each other after the pedicure ended made my heart warm.
Two women in bodies they probably never thought they’d have. Aging bodies, essentially.
The waxer caught my eye and smiled. I left the salon and on my drive home I passed a model in Griffith Park, taking off her dress and stood without any modesty in her underwear and bra until the other dress was handed to her.
She was young and perfect.
I didn’t really envy her. I wondered how she would stand up against the test of time. I wonder this a lot lately. And more I think of it internally. Because man it’s hard. You have to become so brave to age. All of the things you see happening to your loved ones and to find out new ailments about your body which can be sometimes, very scary.
I adore older women who are happy.
I had one more stop on my day.
To my dermatologist office to get some saline put into some spider veins I suddenly have.
Despite my day of “beauty” what I care about and fear about of course is my family. For health.
These minor distractions, such as my nails, waxing and fighting the inevitable aging of my body are just things I do to make me feel good.
It doesn’t mean any depth is lost.
Oh, I forgot to add one more quip from my fabulous waxer. She said, “Tonight, after you do the Chugga Chugga you might need some hemorrhoid cream.”
I had no idea what the hell she was talking about.
All I know is that it made me laugh.
I had a hard day yesterday, controlling my anger with my kids and husband.
Sometimes I just want and need some peace and time to myself.
All of the writing, the nails, the silliness, the depths of my soul, which I wish I could make lighter, enjoy the superficial sometimes.
Yet, sometimes, what appears superficial is just me taking care of myself. And by the way I totally enjoy people’s nail photos from Instagram. BlogHer related or not.
Suddenly feeling a little insecure about the post. I knew I could make it strictly comical but they un-folded with such femininity I decided to just add it all in.
I will return to “The Waxer” I enjoyed her stories. I want to ask her more questions when I’m feeling a little braver. It takes balls to grow older, that is for sure. Just not hairy balls.
I’m so excited that local SoCal author Elizabeth Esther has agreed to attend an ExMo MeetUp where we discuss her book “Girl At The End of The World.”
The dates, time and place will be announced soon but do get your copy.
Here is an out-take from her book.
I was raised in a homegrown, fundamentalist Christian group—which is just a shorthand way of saying I’m classically trained in apocalyptic stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. I know hundreds of obscure nineteenth-century hymns by heart and have such razor sharp “modesty vision” that I can spot a miniskirt a mile away.
Verily, verily I say unto thee, none of these highly specialized skills ever got me a job, but at least I’m all set for the end of the world. Selah.
A story of mind control, the Apocalypse, and modest attire.
Elizabeth Esther grew up in love with Jesus but in fear of daily spankings (to “break her will”). Trained in her family-run church to confess sins real and imagined, she knew her parents loved her and God probably hated her. Not until she was grown and married did she find the courage to attempt the unthinkable. To leave.
In her memoir, readers will recognize questions every believer faces: When is spiritual zeal a gift, and when is it a trap? What happens when a pastor holds unchecked sway over his followers?And how can we leave behind the harm inflicted in the name of God without losing God in the process?
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Girl at the End of the World is a story of the lingering effects of spiritual abuse and the growing hope that God can still be good when His people fail.
Whenever someone leaves LA I become melancholy and also insecure.]
I mourn the loss of their presence, even if I never see them. Just knowing they are here somehow is comforting.
A lot of my friends and past co-workers have left.
It makes me also wonder, should we have gone, should we?
I know so many people who have left LA.
It’s a hard city and very expensive. A lot of my acquaintances go back to the city they are from. Yes, they face the brutal winters but I see them surrounded by their friends and family and I know they are rich in all of that.
I remind myself too, that I don’t really have a place like that to return to. I had a nomadic childhood and one thing that has been wonderful for me about LA, has been the lack of the old established families.
I have always wanted my kids to grow up in the way I envied the other kids I saw when I moved from town to town. Surrounded by adults and children who had known them since they were babies.
So yeah, let’s try that in La La Land. OK, maybe not the easiest challenge but what I have found unique about raising kids in a city is that the parents cling together because we are like “Shit, we are raising kids here.”
Today, deep in some questioning of whether or not we should have bolted I reminded myself my oldest was off to sleep at his friend’s house tonight. His friend he’s known since, well the womb.
I just take some breaths and realize that perhaps LA summers are not as picturesque as others. Others who are able to head to homes they have outside of LA, surrounded by greenery, mountains or cornfields and a slower pace of life.
LA gets hot, people get grouchy.
People leave and I get it. But I’m not going to let myself slip into a sadness or questioning this time.
For a nomadic childhood I have actually been able to carve out a nice space of my own here. Even if it’s a little weird, stressful and holy cow how much?
Of course, I wish I still had my wrap around Iowa porch where we’d sit outside and people would drive by and just stop and say hello. Once, someone drove a lawn mower over.
But even in LA, people have walked over and knocked. Well, OK, weirdos but also friends.
So despite another person leaving I am resigned to know this is where I have chosen to stay. I’m comfortable here and I thrive in this hazy and crazy city.
Summer is here and so is some social media de-toxing. Well a bit anyways.
Mommy Tonk is wrapping up their Summer Tour, so proud of them.
ExMo alum Michelle Brooks has her play, “Family Planning” debuting this week in Burbank at the Colony Theatre.
ExMo alum Nicole Blaine has her on-going LA hit stand-up show going on monthly. Michelle Villemaire and myself went and saw it on her one year anniversary show. If you are interested in losing your virginity to stand-up I urge you to attend and de-flower yourself there.
ExMo alum Elizabeth Aquino has released a short memoir on Amazon it’s doing very well. A great Summer read.