On Finding Myself…at BlogHer

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I admit it.  My elevator speech at BlogHer was awful.  I’ll show you what I mean.

Typically, it went a little something like this:

So what do you blog about?

Well, I’m a mom blogger, I guess.  I just love mom blogs.  They keep me sane and inspired as a stay-at-home-mom, so I started my own.  But I also write!  I write about faith and social justice {insert a few confused looks here} and particularly the intersection of Christianity and the LGBT community.  But, like I said, I’m a mom blogger and write about my kids and some activities and recipes…but, Ha!  I’m definitely not a food blogger.   Oh!  And I love photo stories.  I do those sometimes, too.  Oh, and then I’m starting seminary.  So there’s that.  And I’ll probably be blogging about it, you know, “toddler twin mom goes to seminary” or something like that.  Oh, and…wait, I know, it’s a lot.  Just…here’s my card.

A quick moment here to say “THANK YOU” to the lovely BlogHer attendees who stuck around to chat after that {not so} impressive introduction.

And, there’s more.  Let me tell you about my business cards (which I had to overnight since I dragged my feet for so long over what to put on them).  My business card lists TWO blogs.  I have TWO blogs.  I know! I can’t manage them both now, and I’m only just a newbie.

After about the second time trying to explain who I was, I quickly realized that maybe I needed to find who I was…at least in the blogging world.  (And maybe in the real world.)

Enter the “Birds of a Feather” lunch.  A great concept, really.  Tables marked with signs and organized by topic to invite new, like-minded bloggers to sit together and mingle.  But which table is for me?  The options seemed endless:  Food Bloggers, Style Bloggers, Pet Bloggers, Travel Bloggers, (somehow I missed the Mom Blogger tables), and then I came to two possibilities:  the Faith Bloggers table and the LGBT Bloggers table.

And, of course, they were right next to each other as if inviting commentary on the irony of their placement.

I thought, Well, I write about faith fairly often and contribute to two faith-based websites, so the Faith Bloggers table it is!  But, 1.  The table was empty, and 2.  I’m fairly aware of the stigma of a being labeled a “Faith Blogger.”  Even when I write it now, I feel like it needs a, “But…”

So, I looked over at the LGBT Bloggers table where two young women sat.  Now, I cannot categorize myself as a blogger who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but I do blog (frequently) about LGBT issues, and on my business card (yes, the one with two websites), I call myself an “Ally.”  (And pray I can live up to the name.)

You see, those two faith-based websites I contribute to happen to be progressive Christian organizations that are affirming and welcoming (praise God) to our LGBT brothers and sisters.  (Can I get an Amen?)  Sort of a couple, “Diamonds in the Rough” among the mainline Christian message so often to the contrary.

So, where to sit.

I took a deep breath and chose the LGBT Bloggers table.  I asked if “Allies” were welcome, and I was.  It was a lovely lunch.

And over the next day and a half, a really eye-opening thing started to happen for me.  As I listened to discussions about “branding” and “identity,” as I heard bloggers tell their stories of speaking out, as I listened, and cried, during the Voices of the Year speeches, I started to realize that maybe it was okay to belong to more than just one table at the “Birds of a Feather” lunch.  No single person there blogged about just one thing, really.  We all blogged about ourselves, our lives, our passions.  And while some of us have certain identifying topics that we lean towards, we are all writing about the multiple facets of who we are.

I am a mother.

I am a wife.

I am an educator.

I am a Christian.

I am an ally.

And these are not separate parts of me.

If I blog about my children and how my heart soared when they accomplished the monumental task of potty training one day, that does not change the fact that I want to (need to) write about how I’m on fire for equality and the need for civil dialogue to move our society forward through difficult topics.

And, if I write about my experience of finding Jesus in a liberal arts college lecture hall today, that does not change the fact that I will need to write about the lighter side (or the more frustrating side) of motherhood tomorrow.

Because, more often than not, these sides of me are really one in the same.

What did I take away from BlogHer?  I realized I am ready for that change that has been nagging at my heart for months.

I’m ready to merge my blogs.   And with it, I’m ready to merge the separate sides of me.  Because they are not so separate, really.

Yes, there will be some change, some evolution, I hope, for my little corner of the internet, and for me.  It will not happen overnight, but I’m ready to take that leap of faith.

After all, it is precisely because I am a mother, and it is for my children, that I write.  Whether it be for the memory they might experience through my words or pictures years down the road, or whether it be for the more just society I pray awaits them as they take flight in this world, they are my inspiration, my muse.

They are my reason for finding my voice.

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Comments

  1. Abigail Saywer says:

    It was wonderful to talk to you at Voices of the Year! And BTW, It’s ok if you don’t have the ‘elevator pitch’ down. Good for you for being brave and bringing together your two passions. That’s definitely something I’m struggling with as I begin to write about Faith and Feminism. You go girl!

    • So good to connect again! Thanks for the kind words. It was great to talk to you as well. I look forward to reading what you have to write. Best to you as you start the process!

  2. You inspired me. I spoke out on a friend’s FB about why I would NOT be attending Chick-fil-a on Aug. 1st to remember the events of last year. Instead of just rolling my eyes, I said something. … and I don’t feel guilty for NOT saying something once more.

    • I’m so proud! I know how hard it is. And I live in the “liberal” North. Sending you a virtual high five (and standing in support with you!)

  3. Thank you!!

  4. Great post. I agree that we are all more than one thing. Every time I heard “mommy blogger” at BlogHer I cringed. I am SO much more than that.

    BTW — My Friday Flash Blog linky party is live @ The Jenny Evolution – a flash mob of blogs where you share your favorite posts of the week. Hope to see you there.

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

  5. My elevator pitch is always terrible too. My story is filled with many intersecting storylines – too hard to condense into one neat and tidy sentence. I hope that next year our BlogHer paths cross and we can commiserate about being “nicheless.”

    • Sounds good to me. I bet there are more of us without a niche that we’d think. Thanks so much for stopping by my little corner.

  6. Oh man. I wish I would have met you because this post made me warm and fuzzy and tingly and such. Lovely to *meet* you now. I’m subscribing to your blog.

  7. Though now I’m looking at your name and I’m not sure we didn’t meet. (I haven’t read through my business cards yet. BUSY BUSY WEEK after the conference. I’m hoping to breathe next week.)

    • Hi Jenna,

      I think we crossed paths at the “Unmarketing Manifesto” breakout session. (Where I may or may not have passed out my card.) Either way, thank so much for dropping by here and for your kind words. Look forward to keeping in touch!

  8. Hi. Have you seen http://www.villageq.com? If you are interested and writing about being an ally, you should consider listing your blog as one on our directory.

  9. It was great to meet you… I loved seeing on your card “Christian. Ally” because so often they don’t coincide. My own (conservative) Christian family doesn’t understand my sexuality as a bisexual and neither does my church… I’ve stopped going to church and my family just ignores my sexuality. I talk with my LGBTQ friends and so often Christians are the bad guys. So, thank you for declaring yourself an ally. We need more voices like you out there.

  10. Beautifully written, Holli! I’m so glad we met, and you found yourself at BlogHer. I agree, it’s so hard to categorize yourself into one niche (like you said, we’re all so much more than one defining thing). I look forward to see the changes that will come of the merging of your different blogs. (And by the way, my elevator speech sucks also!)

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