It’s not you, it’s me.

I should know by now not to blog when I’m frustrated. Not to tweet when I can’t open a door. Not to complain that I’m not perfectly functional when in fact I *am* happy to be alive and should just shut up already. Sorry about that, SV Moms Blog, and thank you for inviting me and handing out presents.

I’m frustrated by my own limitations, apparently, which kept me from participating fully in yesterday’s event as it was designed.

26 Responses to It’s not you, it’s me.

  1. Don’t apologize or doubt yourself. What you wrote was sensitive and grateful and true. As usual, you were the epitome of class.

  2. Susan,
    You pointed out some design flaws in the event, and for that I am grateful, you had no idea about what was going on behind the curtain so to speak and there isn’t a person in the world, especially me, who would fault you for your frustration. It was perfectly understandable.And I think it is imperative for anyone planning an event to consider “Is my event accessible?” In this case, it had originally been designed as such. There was a communication breakdown among the planners and vendors,and I am truly sorry the breakdown resulted in a less than optimal experience for anyone.Especially you, because I fully realize you squirreled away your strength in order to be there, and it was a very long day. Susan, I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had a fully functional and automated magic wand to wave away your cancer.I understand you regret your previous post, but you said what you felt, and at that time you were going on the data you collected and were unaware the collection was incomplete. Sometimes that happens in science too.A conclusion is reached and the data changes, and then the conclusion changes.Right? XXOO, Dev

    • Susan says:


      Smooches, Devra — and you know I went in the first place because I love and respect you and Sarah! Thanks for coming back today and being reassuring.

      Love ya!

      • Devra, you learned some great science in that astrology class! 😉

        Thank you again for all your work on this event!

        • Not just me. GoonSquadSarah worked equally hard. I don’t want her going unrecognized as she put hours of time into finding sponsors, selecting the menu, visiting venues, just like I did.It’s equal billing. And let’s not forget Samantha, Linsey and Jill who also put hours of their time finding sponsors, and planning the logistics of how the day would go, the symposium, etc.
          It was an entire team of people.

  3. Bon says:

    but there’s nothing wrong with bringing a really interesting point (which i only found this morning, after this post) to the fore of the conversation. b/c of where i live, i don’t get to a lot of conferences, but the business/social media partnership both fascinates me and discomfits me. i want to study & explore it during this next phase of my life, as i go back to school. so posts like yours – pointing out how swag impacts the relational aspect of getting together with social media contacts – are, to me, not just valid but greatly appreciated.


  4. Elaine says:

    Winning the award for classiest blogger ever. I thought you made good points in your other post, but it’s a real skill to apologize when you feel it’s necessary. Thanks for being a great example. And I’m totally bummed that I didn’t take the opportunity to ask you lost of sciency questions when I saw you at the event, because I still can’t get over that you’re an ASTROPHYSICIST! Very cool.

  5. Sometimes out of frustration and stress the things get said that no one else wants to voice, but I understand also wanting to be grateful for the things we’re given. I still think it was a worthwhile post.

  6. Niksmom says:

    I wasn’t there so I couldn’t help Susan, but I must say, the notion that Susan’s “data collection” was “incomplete” is mildly offensive.

    It shouldn’t matter whether Susan knew about how the swag was *supposed* to be delivered. The fact remains that it wasn’t done that way. At least ONE of the organizers surely must have seen multiple bags circulating and could have been proactive about addressing the issue of “swag at the end.”

    That’s not a condemnation of the organizers, either ( I’ve organized events before; I know it’s not easy to catch every last little thing.) My point is that, rather than making Susan feel like she was wrong for voicing her frustrations and her opinion, there’s an opportunity here for discussion & reinvention. As a society, we talk a great game about “inclusion” and “access” but when push comes to shove, those who need accommodations are the ones still ade to feel like it’s their fault. Their voices and opinions continue to be marginalized.

    Getting rid of the goodies isn’t the answer; the solution lies in the willingness to look at the delivery system with new eyes. Think about the bloggers you *know* who might be physically challenged (pregnant, nursing, recovering from cancer, in a wheelchair, etc.) and find a better way.

    Maybe that includes having a sponsor such as the company that makes those little roll-behind, collapsible crates…kind like the ones I bet nearly ever vendor used to tote THEIR goodies to/from the event. (I don’t know what company it is but I’m sure it’s easy enough to find out.) Now THAT would be some super useful swag.

    • Elizabeth,
      You put it perfectly. And I hope others who plan events will take note of what Susan and others here have expressed when moving forward with their own future events, whether it be a kid’s party or a grown-up occasion.

      • oops, my reply meant to go to Elizabeth’s comment, not Niksmom. However, while I am “here” I will say this…
        Niksmom,I am a former hospital social worker, I provided case management services and psychosocial services for rehabilitation patients who had experienced strokes,brain injuries, and spinal chord injuries. During my tenure as a rehab social worker, I came to understand accommodations folks with disabilities require and/or appreciate when out and about. I am an advocate and I take accessibility very seriously. I have planned many events, and I always take into account the attendees and what they may require in order to have an optimal experience. At this event, I witnessed hotel staff assisting attendees with their bags- they brought carts up multiple times, also our group of DC bloggers is very tight, we step in and help one another whenever and wherever it’s needed. Me included. Had I seen anyone struggling with a bag, I would have absolutely helped and gotten that person whatever it was they needed if my help alone wasn’t enough.
        Additionally, I am the one who suggested The Ritz for this event,specifically because I knew it was accessible: elevators adjacent to ballroom, smooth floors, wide hallways, suitable nursing areas, bathrooms with grab-bars, comfy couches close to the ballroom, etc. I also knew the chef would make whatever food adjustments we needed in order to accommodate any blogger with an allergy or other food preference or may need something more on the bland side if they are nursing a baby. Additionally, the room was set up for strollers to easily navigate.
        While I feel some of your points did not apply to me or this event specifically, I am glad you raised the issue about how our society as a collective does not actively consider everyone’s needs, specifically those with disabilities. And I would add to it, that when there are instances where accessibility is considered, nine times out of ten, it is done only accounting for those with visible physical disabilities in mind, those with disabilities on the inside so to speak,are often left out of the accessibility conversation completely. For example, had we a hearing impaired attendee, I would have made sure we had an interpreter on site, Not everyone thinks of those things, but I did and I do because I work with families and am familiar with all sorts of issues that don’t catch one’s eye like a wheelchair does.

        Thank you for bringing up the points you did regarding how our culture really needs to pay attention and listen up to the way we not only discuss disabilities, but to the way in which we address disabilities and hear the voice of those who need accommodations and accessibility. And like you said, it’s not okay to marginalize or dismiss a “complaint” as this only serves to victimize the victim further.

        At the end of the day, it is our action, not the intention, which is most visible. And I do hope those who were at the event and saw me in action were able to see my intention to meet the needs of every single attendee carried out in my actions. And if my intent did not match my actions? Then that’s all on me-no one else-and I will take full responsibility as this was an event I helped plan.

        • One more thing, and then I will just shut up. While I am using the first person in my responses, I want to make it abundantly clear this event was planned by a team of people and we all worked together, GoonsquadSarah, Linsey, Jill, Samantha and me. We all were in constant consultation with one another. My use of “I” only means I am speaking for myself, not the others. My use of “I” only means I am talking about me, not that I am dismissing the work any of the other folks who worked like dawgs on this event. It was a team of people, we all worked hard before, during and after the event. If I wasn’t clear in my statements, I want to make sure I am clear now that this was not a one woman show, it was a multi-woman powered undertaking.

  7. Stimey says:

    I kind of think that’s the whole reason for having a blog. Sometimes my best posts come when I’m angry and frustrated. Those feelings are just as valid as gratitude. Hang in there, and don’t feel the need to apologize.

    • I would rather read a post written as an expressionof the writer’s experiences and reflections than read a review of craptastic products any day. I come to blogs for the writing and what the writer is telling me. And in this case, Susan needed to put it out there and I fully support that she did.

  8. Judy says:

    I don’t know what post you’re talking about, but I often do blog when I’m frustrated; it helps me to work things out, get things off my chest. You’re doing great; cancer treatment is a hard road. Many *hugs.*

  9. Susan says:

    I would argue that being frustrated and exasperated is part of the human experience. Just because you are lucky to be alive, as we all are, “alive” doesn’t mean that every experience you have is completely enjoyable. You could enjoy being able to be angry or frustrated.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Hey, even if the event you attended wasn’t supposed to turn out that way (and kudos to the organizers for trying to avoid that), you are absolutely correct that the swag at these events often takes precedent over the networking opportunities. I attend a lot of the same types of conferences over and over again, and I’ve gotten to where I’ve got one of pretty much anything that anybody’s offering, so it becomes easy for me to breeze through the vendor area, talk to the people I need to talk to, pick up information I’m looking for, and leave without a heavy bag (I have mild lymphedema and I’m not always as careful as I should be). So your frustration is real and valid in these situations, even if the organizers of this event did their best to come up with a different way of doing things.

    • Susan says:

      … and after talking to Devra offline, I do believe that they did plan an accessible event.

  11. magpie says:

    Your feelings are your feelings, and your blog is your outlet. You are allowed to be cranky.

  12. Florinda says:

    I thought you made some excellent points in that post, and raised some important questions (and that’s why I’ll be linking to it in my week-end round-up) – I don’t think you have to apologize for anything! But I understand the impulse.

  13. Robin Hurwitz says:

    I didn’t think you were cranky at all. As someone who has been to conferences, I totally got this. I go for the topic, not the stuff. Why would I want to carry a bag of stuff around all day? You mentioned one occasion where stuff was given out at the end of the day. Cool. I can deal with that. I like that better. Your points were well thought out. Thanks for sharing them.

  14. allison says:

    Oh my. You call that post cranky? Lord love a duck, you really are too good to be true. I’d love to meet you, but let’s agree that my husband never can — because I’d be out on my ass.

    • Kate @ upsidebackwards says:

      Allison, this comment is perfect! It certainly made me chuckle, and I think my husband can’t ever meet Susan either 🙂
      Susan, you’re so gracious. I think you’ve provoked some very useful discussion, from what I read in the comments. I just wish I could come and be your helper monkey next time. I would gladly wear the hat and vest!

  15. caramamma says:

    I think that our best writing comes from when we are honest—even if it means admitting things that might make others uncomfortable (though I dont think your post did that). I wish I had been in-tune enough to lend a hand—
    Though I am new to the group, I have read your story and think you are an amazing- and incredibly strong woman. I have my own cancer history- but mine was long before my daughter—and so your story, and all that you have gone through- and are going through, make you super woman in my book.

    And cranky? Oh geez, you should never ever come to my house. 🙂

  16. It is reasonable to be frustrated and angry about the limitations on your normal life imposed by cancer and its treatment. I appreciate that you choose to share your responses with us. It means a lot to so many people. I am sure you know but it can’t help to say how much we care about you. (a lot)

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