Today was the final day of Woodhull, A.K.A. The Day I Met Nina Hartley, A.K.A. the day I became a french fry size queen.
It’s not REALLY the final day, since there’s a panel tomorrow, but to my knowledge, no one I know is going. All the seminars we’ve been looking forward to are over, there are no more spanking parties after tonight, and in the morning people will begin to trickle out, onto the planes, trains, and automobiles that brought them here.
As I knew would happen, I stayed up too late last night, and was burned out when I awoke at 7 am to get breakfast. When my alarm went off and my roommate and I discussed confusion over the presence of breakfast on this particular morning, I second-guessed myself and decided to go back to bed. As it happened, there was breakfast, but I was feeling exhausted enough that sleep was far more important. I missed the first seminar too, but self-care is important, Con Drop is real, and my blogger friends are great note-takers.
When I did finally crawl out of bed, I headed up to the blogger lounge for donuts, and was pleasantly surprised with coloring pages, crayons, and gel pens for the bloggers. I had my morning tea with a picture of a sexy person fighting off tentacles, and headed off for my first seminar of the day, Dr. Normallove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the #ostomybomb.
This seminar was so, so important for me, and my body, and where I’m at now, and awareness of where I could be in the future. So many emotions surround this seminar for me that it warrants a separate post at a later time. For now, just know that I learned important things, met great people, and had a good cry.
Much of the rest of the afternoon was spent in the lounge thanks to my promise to myself to take it slow today. I colored my page some more, tested lipstick swatches (I look good in purple! Who knew?), and had some excellent conversation surrounding the seminars of the day.
Things got interesting around 2:30, when a blogger was discussing the seminar they went to on shame. I looked up the seminar to learn more about it, and saw that it started at 2:45. I was confused. This person already went to the seminar that starts in fifteen minutes? Then I remembered: my computer is still on mountain time. My next seminar was starting, and I was sixteen floors away.
I rushed downstairs to catch the seminar on anal cancer (I want to be prepared for anything my butt might throw at me in the future), and saw that I was the first to arrive. I found a chair to settle in to and wait. A few minutes later I realized that I was the only one in the seminar. It was a good one too, and I felt bad that the whole thing ended up being a conversation between me, the speaker, and a volunteer.
That Ass Tho! discussed anal pap smears, and how important they are for diagnosing anal cancer before it gets bad, before it snowballs into something worse. Unfortunately, while anal pap smears are easier to perform than cervical ones, most doctors do not learn how to do them. In the research done for the seminar, those that did them for the sake of research soon ran into the problem of how to bill for them.
On top of all this, anal pap smears are not covered by insurance, and important as they are for preventative care, most people would not pay the $150 to do it. Besides That Ass Tho! there has only been one other campaign for anal cancer, versus the numerous billboards and fundraisers for other forms of cancer. For more information on anal cancer, you can check out That Ass Tho! here.
While I’m upset that no one else showed up to the seminar, I’m happy that I was there, that the speaker had someone to teach, and that I have a platform on which to share some of what I’ve learned. While I would have liked to get in more seminars today, I was feeling much better by this point because I was pacing myself more.
Later on I went down for dinner with a small group of bloggers to talk blogging, and while hanging out at the bar, I saw her. Nina Hartley. She had been at several of the seminars I had attended over the last few days, but I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her until the #ostomybomb seminar earlier that day. By the end of that particular seminar, I had gotten caught up in talking to the speaker and another new friend. Now was my chance to ask for a photo.
It took a few minutes to wait for her to finish her conversations with other people and the bartender, but eventually I did get my chance to ask. As I handed Kate my phone, Nina put her arms around me in a side hug. All I could think was, “Ohmygodsheshuggingme.” Dear readers, Nina is a sweetheart, and this was one of my ultimate starstruck moments of the weekend.
Dinner followed with talk of Nina, blogging, and my love of french fries. There was a suggestion that I become a french fry reviewer, which would be great. I am to potatoes as Bubba is to shrimp, and I have a habit of getting to know bars and restaurants by the quality of their french fries. I can tell you that Sheraton Pentagon city has skinny, flavorless french fries that need more salt. Other topics of discussion: lipstick, flirting, relationships, first sex toy companies we worked with, and how beautiful Kate’s plate of salmon was.
As the night continued on, came to a realization. Never in my life have I been with people who laugh so much.
We all have our own challenges in our lives, we all have places to go back to. But here, at Woodhull, we’re no longer the people that no one understands. We’re with others who understand our passions and our interests. We were all so, so happy to be together, and I found myself wishing these moments would last forever. I have never laughed so much, so hard, in a day, every day.