I attended the BloggerBash conference this weekend. I was excited to be going to a real blogging conference! I knew that I’d be meeting some really impressive bloggers and it might sound weird, but you REALLY feel like a blogger when you are in a place filled with people that do what you do. I wasn’t there just for the conference, however, I was there because I was a finalist for the Blogannthropy award. What’s Bloganthropy? It’s about using social media influence to support social good.
When I was called to sit up on a panel with the other women, I will admit, I was nervous and felt as though I didn’t fit in. There were some fabulous people up there- #1, My MOM! Wendy, of The Wait Is Over, who is my biggest fan, and my biggest role model. Because of HER I knew that I could use blogging as a platform to share my story and to help reach others who need to hear that IT GETS BETTER! In my opinion, no one is, or ever will be better than her. I love that she has changed her blogging cause to be a help to parents who are dealing with bullied kids. She has shown me that I can change the world.
Also as finalist were A’Driane Nieves, who is doing some stellar things for woman of color telling the world that EVERY SINGLE VOICE matters, Sarah Donza-Hughes who is determined to spread the word about post-partum pre-ecampsia , Laurita Tellado Calderón, who is bringing awareness about spinal bifida, Trisha Adkinds who is a Hero Mom and supports Alex’s Lemonade stand to help raise money for childhood cancers, and Jill Smokler who writes Scary Mommy and pretty much saves Thanksgiving for many, many people who otherwise wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving and she gives voices to women who have stories they NEED to share. They are all AMAZING women who are doing amazing things.
I’ll be honest, I felt a intimidated and scared. That’s what being bullied, for years and years, does to you. You have a hard time believing when people tell you good things about yourself. You look around and thing, WHO, me?? I had to retrain myself to think that I was worthy, I was just as good as other people, that I was important, too, in my own was, as is everyone. It’s nearly impossible to talk about good things you do because you feel you’re being boastful. I felt like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there. Like there was NO FREAKING WAY I was any way as good as these beautiful women with their incredible causes!
Except, my cause IS pretty incredible, too. Bullying is a really important thing to talk about. It goes beyond just Johnny punching Eddie, or Susie calling Patty mean, but it has progressed to a point where it’s become almost a past time to some kids. A killer pastime.
Bullying is becoming a killer of my generation. We are slowly killing each other with words and texts and tweets. We’re crushing souls. We’re ending lives.
I use my blog, my platform, to combat that. I teach my message to other that we ALL must #BeBrave . I stand up for the ones that are bullied and tell them that they WILL get through it, and that it WILL get better. I stand up to the bullies and tell them that they will NOT be tolerated. I stand up for myself for all the times I felt as if I were better off dead than in the world where everyone told me I was worthless.
When Debbie called out my name, I was, quite honestly, FLOORED. I looked at my Mom to see if I heard right, and she was crying and telling me to get up. I honestly and sincerely didn’t expect to win. I was honored enough to be a finalist.
The blogging community is pretty huge. Many bloggers are like family that will surround you when you need help the most, pick you up, help you stand, and encourage you to find your way – kind of like a big sister. That moment, I felt like I was surrounded by a room full of big sisters that were there for me and PROUD of me. The thing is, I am proud to be part of such an amazing group of people who share a little bit of themselves every day, in every post that they publish.
Thank you so much to Laurie Schacht, Joey Fortman, Marissa DiBartolo, Charlene DeLoach, Ali Mierzejewski , and the whole Blogger Bash team for hosting such and amazing event that is all bout helping bloggers make real connections and for helping support the social good that blogging can bring. A huge heartfelt hug and a thank you to my personal fairy godmother Debbie Bookstabber, who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders from the moment we first met. Your faith and pride in me is second only to my parents!
I love blogging, and using social media to help others. I’m really proud that others feel that my work is worthy of an award. I will keep fighting and working hard to make sure that eventually, everyone will know how to #BeBrave and that together, we can end bullying.
(Tune in on August 21, 8pm EST to see me on an ABC Special, WeDay, where I join hundreds of others who are doing what they can do to change the world)