Blogging affords me a certain level of comfort. I can tell you a personal story and string words together to make you feel something while keeping myself at a safe distance. I might be overcome with emotion when writing and might even cry but those of you reading won't know because the only gauge you have are the words I give you. You can't peer through the screen while I'm writing and see what I'm feeling. I was selected to read Ministrations at BlogHer's Voices of the Year.
When I wrote that post in April...I cried.
I cried because I still have moments when I am tired of being different, moments when I wish I could blend, moments when I judge myself too harshly. But, I also shed tears because I am so relieved that I have the insight to recognize those moments and dare myself to be braver.
Writing words on a page and reading those words to a roomful of people are very different things.
When I stepped onto the stage to read, I was visible in a way that I have not been since I began blogging. I stood there looking so very queer and read a piece about coming to terms with that.
I wasn't nervous about reading the words.
I was nervous about feeling them.
And I did feel them and the earth didn't swallow me whole.
I can't imagine a better audience than the one at Voices of the Year. A roomful of bloggers cheering for you? I'll take it.
I appreciate every single person who came up to me afterwards with kind words and all those who tweeted their support. I'm still high days later.
Thank you to Deborah, the best blog wife ever, for recording this and sending it to me to post.
Also, thank you to Polly who introduced me. I was struck by the fact that Polly and I met and became friends in Minneapolis in 1993 but lost touch after she moved to California. We met again through blogging and, last Friday, shared the stage.
Check out the rest of the readers at Voices of the Year (links to the original posts unless otherwise noted):
Elizabeth Jayne Liu: To the Person who Stole My Gordita Fund
Lori Volkman: Fish-Infested Waters
Jenny Feldon: Life Lessons in the Seafood Section
Arnebya Herndon: Walk This Way
Liz McGuire: On Being Nine
Neil Kramer: The Poet at the Genius Bar
Issa Mas: The Horror of Mealtime
Susan Goldberg: It's Always Something
Dresden Shumaker: Welfare Queen (Video taken at Voices of the Year)
Jane Byers Goodwin: Dick Clark and Our Sofa
Suzanne Barston: You've (not) Come a Long Way, Baby
Barbara Becker: The Swastika in the Neighborhood
Varda Steinhardt: Holding Hands
Shari Simpson: The Best/Worst "Female" Story You Will Ever Read
STILL TO COME: The wacky BlogHer recap! You know I have stories to tell!