There are a number of “official” parties at the BlogHer conference. These are the parties that everyone can get into with their conference pass, and which are held in big ballrooms in the same place as the conference itself. The last one, held on Saturday night, is CheeseburgHer. There’s apparently a lot of history behind the party, but the highlights include:
- A full dance floor and pumping music.
- McDonald’s cheeseburgers.
- McDonald’s bags, worn as hats, and a decorating station to bling them out.
- Beds strewn around the space because the first CheeseburgHer happened in a hotel room and they’re trying to keep the feel.
Before I get into my story, I’m going to disclaim. I never eat at McDonald’s. My kids do, sometimes, because their grandparents take them. But since (1) I generally disagree with the company’s business practices and (2) I don’t eat gluten, I literally have not darkened the door of a McDonald’s in well over a year. In fact, the last time I ate any McDonald’s food was probably at CheeseburgHer 2011. If you’ve been hanging around my blog for any length of time, this likely doesn’t surprise you.
When I was at the party on the last night of BlogHer, though, it was a different story. I was surrounded by friends, and tradition. In that moment, decorating a paper McDonald’s bag to wear on my head seemed like the thing to do. In that moment, eating a cheeseburger (since I don’t actually have a serious gluten intolerance) seemed like the thing to do. In that moment, dancing with my friends and chatting over cocktails and giving last hugs good-bye definitely seemed like the right thing to do.
There were many people at the party who, when they recognized me, were shocked to see me with a McDonald’s bag on my head. Some very friends of mine threatened to tell all my crunchy West Coast peeps, in a joking sort of way. I replied the best way I could, which was to say that I was there to have fun, not to make a political statement. When in Rome, and all that jazz.
I was raised by hippies. This means that I cut my teeth on causes like environmentalism, eating organic food, protecting children from marketing messages and being willing to take a stand for what I believe in. In the process, I gained values that I still try to live in my daily life. It’s important to me that we protect our planet. It’s important to me that my kids have access to healthy, whole foods that haven’t been sprayed with toxins. It’s important to me that I take time to advocate on the issues that are important to me. But you know what? I am a human being, and it also important to me that I don’t take the weight of the world on my shoulders, and forget how to have a little fun.
Yes, we could all do better when it comes to living ethical, sustainable lives. But if you lose your sense of humour, and your sense of fun, you’re probably taking things just a little bit too far. Perfectionism isn’t soul-enhancing, it’s soul-killing. So, yes, my name is Amber and I ate a cheeseburger and wore a decorated McDonald’s bag on my head. What’s more, in the same situation, I’d do it again. Because if I have learned anything in life, it’s that spending every waking moment trying to be good enough is a losing battle. Sometimes you need to be silly, and act in ways that are out of character, and remember to have fun. Above all, remember to have fun.
Are you with me?