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I’m Going to the BlogHer ’13 Conference!

hello-my-name-is-anxiety name tag

Actually, it’s a miracle. Maybe not a miracle, but the result of a lot of hard work. And not just on my blog.

Fifty years ago, when I was in my twenties, I began to have panic attacks when I traveled. I suddenly could not swallow and had shortness of breath. I was frightened without knowing why. In those days, they didn’t have buzz words like “panic attacks.”

The first time I spun out of control was on a trip to Las Vegas. We had to call the house doctor. He gave me a shot of something that calmed me down and put me to sleep. OK, that crisis was averted. It happened again on a trip to Santa Barbara. A pattern?

A year later, my husband and I had planned to go to Europe as soon as I graduated from college. My mother and sisters took me out to a bon voyage luncheon. I was all set to go when…BAM! My throat closed, I started crying and I was engulfed in panic. I just fell apart and didn’t know what in the world was going on. After a few days of this, my husband called a psychiatrist whom he trusted and asked him to see me. That’s when I began to grow up. That’s when I started digging inside, digging into my past, and coming to grips with my unreasonable fears.

fear face on egg

We canceled our trip and I started to see the doctor on a regular basis. I learned that I was too tied to my mother and my home. My emotional umbilical cord couldn’t stretch as far as Las Vegas, Santa Barbara or Europe. It could barely stretch down the street. I was a frightened little girl in a woman’s body. I had a lot of work to do. A lot of growing up ahead of me. It took years.

In the middle of this period, my husband was hired to direct the opening 10 minute film segment for “The Bill Cosby NBC Special” to be filmed in Philadelphia. Yikes, could I travel with him? Had I learned enough? Could I make it? I decided to take a chance.

We arrived at the hotel and I started getting a little panicky. But I told myself, “You are the same person in Philadelphia that you are in Los Angeles. Remember that, you are the same person in both places. You’re OK.”  You know what? It worked.

I don’t know if anyone ever completely gets over some of those deep-rooted fears. But I just learned to recognize them for what they were and to deal with them.

don

Flash forward. At the end of July, I’m going to Chicago to attend the BlogHer ’13 Conference. I was just fine and excited about it. The whole experience. Not a care in the world, until… but let me explain. I’m rooming with my blogging-zen master- computer-wizard-designer-know-it-all-about-web-sites-soul-sister, Julie DeNeen of Fabulous Blogging. She had asked me if I was going to the BlogHerConference. I thought, well, I didn’t know anything about it, but if she’s going , so am I. She then nominated one of my posts for a Voices of the Year Award. I had never considered it because I was such a newbie blogger.

I also never gave it a second thought because I was too busy looking at fonts and Julie’s new designs for my web sites. She had convinced me that my work deserved better showcases than I currently had. She said, “Just let me try it. Let me show you what I mean, because, holy s**t, lady, you have no idea what beautiful stuff you’ve got and you’re not showing it off to it’s best advantage.”  So she started working on the web site with me and I drove her nuts about the fonts and the Fonts and the FONTS!  She did an incredible job: www.sandrasallin.com and www.apartfrommyart.com.

One day, she  suggested, “Why don’t you submit your post, I’m a 72-Year-Old-Blogger to BlogHer.com?“ So, I sent it off and hours later, it was not only accepted, but I was paid and my blog was placed on the masthead and the front page! I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned. And then the post took off and inspired so many people – daughters sent it to mothers and grandmothers. I was touched and felt deeply honored that my story could be so meaningful to so many.

About a week later, I wanted to congratulate Julie because she had just been chosen as one of Blogher’s Voices of the Year! Her post was one of a hundred selected from almost three thousand submissions. In the middle of texting her, I was called outside by my visiting grandkids. My iPhone was in the house, my computer was in the house and I was playing ball with the boys. Later, I went back into the house and saw frantic texts from Julie: “You are on the f**kin’ list, too!!!!!!! You didn’t get an email because I had nominated you!!!!!!! Caallllllllllll Meeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

high_five_hand_pins

My post, My Mother Escaped Russia with Rags on Her Feet was also chosen as one of the Voices of the Year! I freaked out and yelled, “YES!!!!” Next, I thanked Julie for nominating me, then texted the news to my kids, and hugged and kissed my husband.

That night, at 3AM, the “old” me woke up with a queen-sized anxiety attack! I’m not worth it. They shouldn’t give me this honor. Someone else should have this recognition.  I felt like Lindsay Lohan: too much, too soon. Suddenly, all my ingrained anxieties rose up like a mob at the Bastille! After what must have been hours of sleeplessness, I finally passed out.

night fears in bed under the covers

Later that morning, I told my husband about my meltdown. He reminded me of my past demons, and suggested that it is the child in me who is saying I don’t deserve this and that there is a part of me which wants to remain a little girl who isn’t noticed: stay the child and not be the woman honored.

You know what? It worked. Because now I can go to the conference, hang out and have fun. And I’m going to honored at a special reception with 99 other Voices of the Year. It’s going to be a blast!

Free Chicken out of shell

 And I can’t wait to get out there!

Then the tears well up, because it’s my blog post about my mother’s flight from Russia that brought me this recognition.

I would love her to see how my honoring her –– has honored me.

Mom and me photograph

Mom, are you watching?

All images appearing on I’m Going to the BlogHer ’13 Conference! are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!



  • cam - She is and she is *so* proud– as are we all!!! xxxoooxxxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much Cam. I really hope so. It would mean so much to her.ReplyCancel

  • cam - She is. And She is… I was with her at the end and she never would have gone if she couldn’t always be here for us. She is and she is and I’m sure it means the world to her.ReplyCancel

  • cam - But, shhhhhh! Dont’ tell Julie I was the one who started your obsession with fonts 😉ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Oh Cam. You’re right. I must tell her. That is funny. You’re right, you started me off in this font craziness. You always found the coolest neatest fonts. You introduced me to the best of them.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - I have not been commenting on too many blogs lately, but I couldn’t pass this one up without letting you know that you are an inspiration….I so wish I could be at BlogHer to meet you and Julie and the rest of the crew, but I know there will be many more opportunities to do so. And yes, your mom IS watching and she is so so proud…ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Emily-My thoughts and prayers go out to you. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I know we’ll some how all meet together and have a fun time. Next year at BlogHer!ReplyCancel

  • Chrisor - I just found your blog when searching Twitter for people going to #BlogHer13. Due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to decide about going to the convention until now. Now that I’m in a position to go, I have so much fear I don’t know if I can overcome it. If I can & do go, I hope to meet you! I have no one to pal around with. 🙁ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Chrisor, you can do it. Are you on Facebook? Join Bloppys. It’s a group of bloggers that will welcome you. Join the group. A lot of us are newbies. I just figure I’m going to put a smile on my face and say hello to the person next to me. I think a lot of us are in the same boat. I’ve been reading a lot about peoples first experiences at BlogHer and they all seem to say the same thing. So say hello and make some else’s day.ReplyCancel

  • Elsa Louise - An honor richly deserved, for your writing is quite compelling. It resonates with readers on a visceral level.

    You will love Chicago. I visited a few years ago, with my mother (her hometown, btw), and found it a most congenial town.

    Have a wonderful time at your conference.

    You have your mother’s eyes…ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Thank you Elsa. I’m honored that this post touched you. I looked back at the photo and your right we do have the same eye’s. I didn’t see it before. You’re percetive on many levels.ReplyCancel

  • Antonia - Sandra,

    What a moving, fascinating post. As Emily said, you are an inspiration. You certainly inspired me to start a blog (almost there . . .) at the age of 68.

    And the post brings back my own memories of panic attacks in my early teens. They went away, finally, but I never actually thought about their ultimate causes. Your post about your experience has made me think more about the lingering effects (“I’m not good enough, I’m not an adult, etc.)

    Have a wonderful time at the Conference! You will love Chicago. It is like a friendly, Midwest version of New York City.

    ToniReplyCancel

  • Judith Eton - Another great piece, never would have believed any thing could scare you! Congratulations and knock’m dead in Chicago…..ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Antonia, I’m honored to have inspired your bogging adventure. I went to your site and enjoyed out similarities I’m enormously curious also. About everything I don’t know about. Curious about people also. Wanting to know their stories. I agree with you about the web and the youthiness of it. That’s why we need to make a diference. You go girl!

    When my husband had a company, many of his clients were from Chicago. Theyr were always the friendlest and most down to earth people. So I can’t waitto visit!ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Hi Judith. Thanks for your confidence in me. You’ve got to kown that anyone who is creative or sensitive has to have tons of feelings including fears. It’s OK it’s part of the process. I don’t know if I would be the same with out them. Well, I take that back, maybe I woud be better. Yes, getting rid of the fears…I just thought of a new blog post.

    Thanks for commenting.ReplyCancel

  • wilma engel - not to worry…your mom will be right there with you..
    loved the photo and yes, I do remember her!
    love,
    wilmaReplyCancel

  • sandra - Thanks Wilma, Happy pre Birthday!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy Jill - This is amazing! I hope I get to meet you Sandra!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Stacy. I’m so impressed that you are one of the speakers. Way to go! Would love to meet you.ReplyCancel

  • Beverly Diehl - Sandra, good for you. Good for you learning to deal with travel and anxiety, and good for you for blogging and going to BlogHer.

    You’re a vibrant, talented, incredible lady, and you’re gonna knock their socks off, just like you did mine a few months back. Go, go, go!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Beverly. It was fun meeting you. I had no idea I knocked your socks off but I’m glad to do it. I don’t know how I’ll do with 5,000 women! Over to you and your blog.ReplyCancel

  • E. Jane - Hi Sandra, I’m another “older” blogger (67 in a couple of weeks). I’m so glad I found your blog via Lisa C. I enjoy reading about lives well lived, along with current experiences of people who are interested and interesting. You are truly one of those people. Seeking new knowledge and experiences via trips, classes, relationships, etc. will keep us young.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Sandra, good for you. Good for you learning to deal with travel and anxiety, and good for you for blogging and going to BlogHer.

      You’re a vibrant, talented, incredible lady, and you’re gonna knock their socks off, just like you did mine a few months back. Go, go, go!ReplyCancel

  • Gail Corcoran - Sandy,

    Hope you have a fabulous time. I’ll look forward to hearing about it. What a wonderful reward for all of your hard work. Keep up the good work.

    GailReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thaks Gail, It certainly will be an adventure!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie DeYoung - Can’t wait to meet you, fellow artist/newbie blogger. 😉ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Me too Natalie. We fellow, artist/newbie bloggers have got to stick together. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • AlexandraFunFit - I have just discovered your posts via Generation Fabulous. I want to be your other best friend. You strike me as the most amazing, fun, kind and honest person. I hope you get to meet my twin sister Kymberly at BlogHer, as I will not be there. Congrats on all your awards.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Why thank you Alexandra.You are way too kind but so nice. I enjoyed your blog and your mother’s words. Looking forward to meeting Kimberly at BlogHer.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Greenthal - You deserve all of the kudos and I’m SO glad you’re coming!!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Sharon, high praise from you. See you in Chicago. So glad I decided to come months ago.ReplyCancel

  • Anne @GenFabulous - You are going to be amazing!

    I have anxiety as well. Part of my coping skills involve positive self-talk. “I can do this. People want to like me.” It helps.

    You can do this. People want to like you.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Ann. You’re right we all have our coping skills and ways to talk to ourselves . As long as it works. 🙂 I know I’ll be fine. Right now I’m just so excited.ReplyCancel

  • Darcy Perdu - WOW! Congratulations! For having your post placed on the masthead & front page — for winning Voices of the Year — and for having the courage to go to Chicago to Blogher! Rock on, sister!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Darcy. Great surprises and honors. I’m thrilled.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Wow! This is incredible. Congratulations!!! You are going to have a blast and so deserve the honor!ReplyCancel

  • Growing Up Madison - This was a very touching post. I’m sure your mom is looking down on you right now and she’s very proud of you. Seems like you have a very supportive system around you with both your husband and Julie. Congrats!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Madison. Yes, I do have a wonderful support system. But I also had a lot of work to do by myself to conquer my fears. Glad you enjoyed the post.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - Okay, I needed a few Kleenexes for this one. You got me, Sandra! It will be my great honor to meet you at BlogHer, and shake the hand of someone who I am proud to call a fellow blogger. You are an amazing woman and I heartily congratulate you on your nomination. You deserve it, and also every joy that you’ve earned that is now coming your way. Beautiful. Simply marvelous

    Bless your mom, too.

    PS You are lucky to room with Julie. She’s saved me a few million times, with kids in the background and on vacation. She is simply amazing!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Kathy, I know I will recognize you and we’ll have a big hug! I’m honored that the post touched you also.I try to write from my feelings.ReplyCancel

  • Matthew - What an amazing post, mom. I adore the ending, it’s so poetic. I’m so proud of you! And now I know where those panic attacks come from! 😉ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Sorry Matt, you come by it naturally. 🙂 So glad you liked the post. Reaching deep down.ReplyCancel

  • Linda shecter - This is incredibly inspiring for so many people. So helpful and brave to share and put yourself right out ther.
    Loving every new addition and rooting for you in Chicago. Give em HELL.
    Your mom would be so happy and proud of the life that you have and are living. Squeezing every sweet drop
    Thanks so much for sharingReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Linda. You’re out there for people also and I had a fabulous time in Chicago!ReplyCancel

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