BlogHer Conferences in Pictures: BlogHer '10, Not in NYC But With You in Spirit (UPDATED PICTURES!)

BlogHer Original Post

I'm the one who squees and hugs in the hotel lobby when I recognize you when you walk in. That's me. I"m frantic and frazzled trying to make sure stuff is taken care of so you have a great time, but it really comes down to that moment when we finally touch.

I can't do that this year. This evil illness that has taken many of my organs and is scheduled to take more won't allow the travel or the marathon of information and hug-fest that is BlogHer '10.

I'm not going to lie -- I cried.

I cried hard.

I'm still fighting tears.

The moment I realized it wasn't smart or safe for me to attend BlogHer '10 in New York City, I broke down like a kid who didn't get her most sought-after toy for Christmas.

This isn't easy. This is MY THING. We talk all year long and NOW is when I get to meet you. I get to hug you. We get to laugh about that one thing you blogged about and argue about that one thing I tweeted.

I work my butt off so that you'll come to this conference, and it's all a very selfish job. I mean sure, professionally this is my work. But don't misunderstand ... this work is my very selfish passion. It takes me to the White House, the cattle ranches, and most importantly it gets me up-close-and-personal with you. BlogHer '10, as in previous years, is my big pay-off for a year's worth of hard work. I'm not sure exactly how to explain what I do here at BlogHer, just know that a lot of ME is wrapped up in YOU. I love you guys. I am lucky to get a paycheck that comes straight from work I love. You've all propped me up in my darkest hours through this illness and laughed with me between surgeries.

I'm the one who squees and hugs in the hotel lobby when I recognize you when you walk in. That's me. I"m frantic and frazzled trying to make sure stuff is taken care of so you have a great time, but it really comes down to that moment when we finally touch.

I can't do that this year. This evil illness that has taken many of my organs and is scheduled to take more won't allow the travel or the marathon of information and hug-fest that is BlogHer '10.

This sucks the life out of me more than I can explain. In fact, I lobbied hard to join you. I tried to convince my co-workers and my husband that even if my body was going to be wrecked by the conference, my mind and soul needed your support. I need my community now more than ever, and it is killing me to NOT get on that plane to New York.

My comfort, right now, is knowing I'm not alone. In this community, I am never alone.

We all have our reasons. Some of us couldn't afford it. Some of us couldn't find babysitters or house-sitters or dog-sitters. Some of us just weren't ready to meet face-to-face. Some of us have weddings to attend, kids to get to school, family in town, or medical dramas.

Whatever our reasons, we are home -- far away from New York City and the few days of hugging bloggers and friends face-to-face that sometimes carry us through the year.

It's hard. It's hard to hear about everyone packing and plotting which shoes to wear. It will be harder when the tweets and blog posts start to roll in from New York. The discussions during panels, the keynotes, the parties. This is going to get worse for us before it gets better.

So I propose we link arms, so to speak. Do our best to support the women in New York and those unable to attend. Send each other over to watch feeds as they start to pour out of the Big Apple and spend time here and elsewhere online hugging each other virtually.

Join me in uploading a photo to our Flickr pool -- maybe it's just you on your couch. Maybe you're at a wedding while BlogHer '10 rages on, or maybe you're just being silly in your garden as you watch from home. Hold up a sign. Make a silly face ... send your spirit to New York and beyond as we make our own memories in conjunction with those at BlogHer '10.

Tag your photo "BlogHer10AtHome" and add your photo to our Flickr group (make sure we have permission to download it) -- we'll add it to our own at-home BlogHer '10 slideshow. If you don't use Flickr, you can e-mail your photo to Rita at rita@blogher.com. Because we may not have New York, but we'll always have each other.

You can check out all BlogHer conference photos at our conference photo archive.

Politics & News Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest

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