The last speech has been made, the last twitter and email addresses have been exchanged, and the last hugs have been given. For me Netroots Nation 2011 is over.
And to put it succinctly, it was like money from home.
A lot of you read my blog and you have indicated that you like what you read. And believe me, I enjoy doing it. I feel empowered in exposing just how dirty the religious right are. I get thrilled over the notion that someone is reading my work and using it, whether it be a young lgbt needing validation that the negativity he or she is hearing are lies or someone needing information to combat religious right distortions sure to be echoed in the next town hall or school board meeting.
But there are things you don't see and emotions I have which you aren't aware of. I'm a 40-year-old man and there are days when I wonder if I am wasting my life doing this. When I see and hear people like Maggie Gallagher or Peter Sprigg or Tony Perkins repeat the lies that I have refuted, I sometimes wonder why do I even bother. I have a hard time believing that anyone is listening or caring. And there are nights when I cry and days that I ramble about in a blue funk.
So this conference was something I had to have. It was empowering to meet my fellow lgbt bloggers - people I have never met personally but whom I consider my mentors and whose methods I copy. It was equally empowering to meet other folks in other battles over equality.
And mostly, it was extremely empowering to meet individuals in worse situations than I - such as undocumented lgbts - who still fight despite whatever is thrown at them.
It shames me to a degree when I realize just how incredibly gifted and strong-willed this folks are. And it challenges me to not worry about petty nonsense such as hit counts and such.
Lastly, Netroots taught me humility. There were two people I really didn't care for going into this conference. But having met both of them, I am glad to say that my notions of them were wrong. Both of them and myself are a bit more similar than I realized. And I have grudging respect for them now.
So I'm leaving this place extremely thankful for the opportunity to be here. I am extremely thankful to Mike Rogers for awarding me the scholarship to get here and I am as equally thankful to Joe Sudbay of Americablog for pushing me to apply for the scholarship.
Best of all, I leave here with a new spirit and purpose. Hell, I now feel like I can jump over the moon.
And religious right . . . y'all are in for it now.