This August I’ll be attending my 4th BlogHer conference. The first time, in San Francisco, I had a wing-man in Fin. She dutifully attached at the heart, chest and breast to keep me from succumbing to my nerves. Shouldn’t have been worried, people were kind. Accepting. It was, as some might say, Amazeballs.

The next time I was in Chicago with my friend Leslie. We are so tight I can’t even remember how we met, but she has slept at my house, gotten ripshit in my town and run unshowered through Chicago looking for a breast pump with me while also maybe seeing President Obama.

Blogher: It. Is. Unpredictable.

Also, you meet people you have wondered about, like The Bloggess, whom I adore and have said strangely beautiful things about, which she kind of endorsed.

Also in Chicago, impossibly kind people (@Texas_Red, Molly, and Danielle) being openly mocked and mistreated by a very strange waiter. I can’t even share Leslie’s here. We survived.

BlogHer: It. Is. Unscripted.

Then came NYC. I brought people from home. We left our worries at the train station and took only our laughter with us.

Until I got to the Chookoolonks station. “What’s your word?” she asked me. Then I wept.

BlogHer: It. Is. Transformative. Also, chances are you will cry good, good tears.

The thing is, none of this happened at a party. None of this was related to giveaways. The fun was padding down hallways, ducking in hotel rooms and pouring out of sessions, spilling out on to the street and going with the friendly, spontaneous flow. Parties are nice, free things can be fun,  but the flipside is that it can be deadweight. Tied down to being somewhere at a certain time, stuck lugging strange things. It isn’t what you’ll keep.

Also, they have Martha Stewart, Katie Couric, Naomi Campbell, Soledad O’Brien and Malaak Compton-Rock…really, you’re going to worry about invites and the best swag?

The screensaver on my laptop is from a walk I took in NYC during the conference. It is steeped in wisdom, guts and fun and I smile when I look at it.

Every single thing that I cherish about each of my experiences is about people. It’s the women who held my baby, it’s the BlogHer staff who helped me find my way, (and continue to) and it’s the part of me that I found. Moments dance through my head all the time as I think of the discoveries that are unlocked at this conference. Whether you are a BlogHer newbie or a multi-year veteran, do yourself a favor. Lighten up and just be open to the experience.

I promise there will be magic.