Thursday, July 23rd, 2015...1:32 pm

BlogHer and The Power of Our Voices

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Just like in 2012, I traveled to this BlogHer conference worrying that I would feel out of place, like a too tiny fish in a too big sea. I worried that I haven’t written enough lately to call myself a blogger. I worried that skipping last year would mean that my blogging friends had moved on to new people. I worried that I would go and simply realize that I should no longer really call myself a blogger.

But just like in 2012, I left New York City with a renewed sense of pride and purpose. A new kind of confidence born from old and new friendships, encouragement from a community that has so much power. I left New York City thinking even more about how and why words and sharing of stories matters not just for us on a personal level, but for the betterment of the world around us.

I left New York inspired.

Last Thursday I sat in a room with inspiring women and had the amazing opportunity to hear from two of the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I stood at the end and chanted along with them about freedom and speaking out. I sat in the audience, teary-eyed at their stories, in awe of what they have created, and thought what I would think many times that weekend. It is our voices that matter.

BlogHer isn’t really about blogging. BlogHer is about the power of our voices.

#blacklivesmatterkeynote2

It is about the big voices. Soledad O’Brien speaking about the incredible ways she’s helped girls get to college despite all the obstacles in their way. Gwyneth Paltrow speaking about parenting and divorce in a way much more real than I had anticipated. Christy Turlington Burns speaking about the many ways she has helped start a movement around maternal health. Ava DuVarney speaking so humbly and honestly about what it means to tell the stories she tells in a world that tries to devalue storytellers who look like her.

But BlogHer isn’t only about the big voices. I realized that three years ago and again last week. I might go there feeling small and unworthy, but I leave knowing that my voice matters too. That people care and listen and that I should go on speaking and writing because it might matter to someone. Because it matters to me.

I stood last week amongst some of the best content creators on the web who were being honored as BlogHer Voices of the Year winners. James Oliver who gave an amazingly powerful performance. Imani Miller, a teen film-maker who I found incredibly inspiring. My new friend Angela who danced in her kitchen and my old friend Kristin who writes such powerful words. These voices were being honored – chosen out of 1000s of entries.  And I was there with them, being honored for my words. It took my breath away to see my words blown up big, my name on the honorees list. Even after all the success I’ve had in this space and with my words, I struggle still to call myself a writer. But that night, I really felt like one.

VOTY

IMG_8895 Voices of The Year

BlogHer is about voices. About using those voices for change and for health, for growing community and supporting people and things you love. It is about raising up women’s voices – all women’s voices. It is about the power that we and our words hold.

I’m ready to keep writing, to keep using my voice.

 

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