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Voices of the Year and Conquering Fear

A mulling cauldron of thoughts and emotions began to bubble and boil the moment I read the headline:

Voices of the Year Submissions for BlogHer ’14 Are Open! PLUS: Introducing Photo of the Year!

I thought back to my previous experiences hearing the readers at the Voices of the Year (VOTY) Community Keynote, both the first time at BlogHer ’12 and then again the following year at BlogHer ’13. I remembered leaving with a profound sense of empowerment and community, both moved and inspired, grateful to be even a tiny cog in the wheel of the blogosphere.

Now, seeing that headline and wondering who would be among the VOTY group at BlogHer ’14, a niggling little thought started annoying my brain with its persistence.

Maybe I could submit something?

At first the idea was laughable. Me? Seriously, how much ego and audacity would it take to presume that anything I wrote could ever be considered a candidate for VOTY? I mean, really!

Then the idea was terrifying. OK, so what if, hypothetically, I did decide to submit, but no one voted for me? Wouldn’t that prove that my writing was no good? Or, what if a couple of people voted for me, but I wasn’t among the winners? OR – and this was perhaps the most terrifying thought of all – what if, by some stretch of the imagination, I DID win?

Then it all started to make me mad… because in some ways, it felt like a lose-lose proposition. If I didn’t submit something, I’d be angry at myself for not even trying. If I did submit something but didn’t win anything, I’d feel like a failure. And if I submitted something and, by some wild stretch of the imagination, DID end up being among the 100 or so VOTY winners, I’d have to deal with a whole range of issues, from success to attention to expectations to judgment and everything in between.

Finally, knowing that I had to get out of my head and back into the real world, I asked Peter if he would listen as I talked through my internal struggle. He would, and did, and offered me some great advice about risk-taking and regrets… and I made a decision.

I would give it a shot.


I went back through the posts I’d written over the past year, and ended up submitting two pieces for consideration: Why did it have to be costumes?! and The Power to Hurt. (Those links take you to the voting pages for my posts – the submissions from other BlogHer members are here. If you’re a logged-in member of BlogHer and feel moved to do so, you can vote for any of the pieces you feel are good VOTY candidates.)

And so that’s done. And I feel as though, regardless of what happens now, I’ve already won. I struggled with ego, self-image, fear, and vulnerability… and I won.

And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Ultimate Blog Challenge

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.