All the Things I Meant to Say When I Won Blog of the Year
As the announcer’s voice boomed off Nominees for Mom Blog of the Year I had about a dozen things running through my mind.
Oh shoot! I forgot to send them a photo. What picture will they use? Will they just have a blank screen? Or a horrible picture from middle school dug up by some relative who hates me?
Oh good! That picture is ok.
Wait, if I win, what in the world am I going to say? Oh, don’t worry about that, look who else it nominated!
It was the last award of the night. Months before I debated going to Mom 2.0 this year because I’d be 7 ½ months pregnant. But I had the honor of passing on the award for Best Photography. Then I found out I’d been nominated in the Best Sponsored Content and Mom Blog of the Year categories and my mom was all “honey, yea, you’re going, and you need a new dress.”
I had taken the stage earlier in the event to give the 2018 award for Best Photography to LaShawn Wiltz from Everyday Eyecandy. We actually roomed together and did a presentation on photography two years ago, then roomed together this year. So it was a special moment. I am so proud of her.
While getting ready together earlier that evening I asked her if she’d thought about what she’d say if she won. She said she’d been thinking of a few things but didn’t want to plan anything concrete. That’s exactly what I thought I’d do. But what I’ve come to realize from this experience is I’m not a spur of the moment speech-giver. You think I would have realized this last year as I stumbled through thank yous on stage.
Brandi Riley from Courage to Earn won an award for Entrepreneur of the year and literally ran up on the stage and proceeded to bring us all to tears as she said “I deserve this!!” “I work HARD for y’all!” No one could doubt that.
She was open to being vulnerable and saying exactly what she was feeling.
My feelings and emotions take time to process and are a little guarded at first. I blame this in years in TV news and holding back my opinions. I was scared to hear my name, and worried how I’d feel if I didn’t.
Last year’s winner, Ilana Wiles from Mommy Shorts opened the envelope for Mom Blog if the Year and read…
“Cherish 365, Jennifer Borget!”
She said my name! Wow, she said my name. Stand up. Don’t trip. Walk. Walk.
A lady in a gorgeous dress handed me my Iris Award and I walked to the microphone with no idea what was going to come out of my mouth.
I shared how I’ve been blogging for 10 years, since before I had children and just last year I rebranded from Baby Making Machine to Cherish 365 because we were done having babies.
I remember people laughing as my very pregnant self stood in all that irony.
Then I said thank you about 12 times. For the honor and their support.
I didn’t name specific people and going back, I could have mentioned my husband, who unbeknownst to me was back home nursing our extremely sick kid back to health. He’s supported me and my crazy dream of having a blog while I overshared the sometimes too-private information about our lives. If I could do it again and write a speech I would have thanked him first.
I would try to add a more coherent statement about why the honor is so special to me.
First of all, yes, Black Moms DO blog. We shop, we buy stuff, we influence. And we deserve to be recognized and compensated as much as our colleagues. I hope this serves as some kind of nudge to brands to remember us when forming campaigns. Not just me, no look way past me, there are tons of us. And feel free to ask if you need help finding more.
I’ve never really belonged to any one particular group or felt comfortable squeezing myself into any one box. But I a black mom and a blogger, and I’m proud to be both.
Throughout the night people told me I was “shining” or “glowing” I think one person even called me “angelic,” and my friend Cara swears someone called me a “Fairy God Blogger.” I am going to let the baby take some of the credit but I like to think that a lot of that was just a bit of the light I’m trying to shine on this world.
My whole life it’s felt like I’ve had an asterisk next to my name. A black girl in Atlanta, definitely black, but still not “black enough” for some. Assumed to have gotten into my college of choice because of my minority status and not my honor roll status. Mormon, but too liberal. Too woke for the Police Wives Club but not woke enough to Black Lives Matter.
So it’s no surprise I felt comfortable starting a mom blog before I was even a mom. Then, even as a mom blogger with kids I failed to fit into a niche delivering regularly scheduled healthy recipes, humor, or Pinterest-worthy crafts to try. But what I have done is open up about our lives, shared how we navigate the confusing world we live in that asks so many of us to pick a side or else.
I’ve learned it’s ok to not really belong anywhere as long as you know who you are and stay true to that. Even better when you can be respectful even when you don’t agree. And I’ve learned fitting in isn’t the same as belonging.
“Belonging starts with self acceptance. Believing that you are enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic.” – Brene Brown
As I stood on my cankles overflowing from my poor wedges, looking out into the crowd I was overwhelmed with gratitude. To be given an award like this from my fellow peers is a huge honor. Thank you for seeing me, and for recognizing my hard work. Thank you for not forcing me into one box, and for allowing me to me feel like I belong.
Tags: inspiring, mom 2.0, stories I want to remember, travel
You did glow, and some of it may have been your baby, but I imagine you are always incandescent. It was lovely meeting you, presenting with you, and then raucously cheering the announcement of your win.
Thank you for not allowing any box to contain you.
Thank you so much Amanda. I’ve always kinda hated boxes, now I get why.
Congratulations again! It was so great to see you receive your award in person. Working with you over the years has always been a pleasure. You are so wonderful at what you do. You capture moments in such a lovely way. I’m so happy for you!
Thank you Nicole! It was so so great to see you again and give you a hug.
Beautifully written. I got a little teary for you.
I’ve read your blog since just after J was born and I met you at BlogHer with my 6mo in tow (we had both gone to the Feminist Breeder’s hotel room to score some free cloth diapers). And even though on the surface we have little in common (I’m a white liberal atheist on the east coast working in IT, with a teenager graduating from HS next month), the fact you’ve never tried to “fit” the typical suburban mom demographic is what makes me stick around. Writing authentically is the best way to truly relate to people. I can’t claim to understand the nuances of raising mixed-race children, or being an officer’s wife, but you do an amazing job of putting those very complicated issues into context by just telling stories about your life.
So yes, wave your authentic flag as high as you can for all to see, and know you truly do deserve this prestigious award. And you looked absolutely incredible while receiving it 😉
Delora your comment got ME teary. Thank you so much! Wow. BlogHer all those years ago! I think being able to connect with others from such different backgrounds, having entirely different experiences is what makes the world so beautiful. I can’t believe how many different people this industry has allowed me to “meet”. It’s so great.
I loved your “would’ve been” speech! ?Congratulations?
Thank you! If I ever have the opportunity to be up for something again I’ll definitely think it through beforehand 😉
Congratulations! Your speech is so amazing and inspiring! Love your blog <3
I appreciate that. Thank you!
Applause…….. what an honor and congrats. You do deserve to be recognized and you are. I have followed you for so long even when I did not share commentary, just appreciating your existence and the way you carry yourself. Beautiful dress and a great speech. I need time to process stuff too so I totally get you. One great thing about being a Blogger and having a platform is, sharing can happen anytime so we are blessed to be able to put spins on stories or create our own. I remember feeling like I had conquered a big Giant when I became Licensed as an Insurance Agent Great work Jennifer. Keep winning and sharing things that matter and ones that make all of our lives a lot better.