I arrived through the giant revolving door of Bupa headquarters in the city yesterday, bright eyed and bushy tailed, but wondering what on Earth I was even doing there. Over the past few years I have watched on from afar as blogging greats, my pin-up girls and crushes, have won the Bupa blog awards – I saw as doors opened for them, they grew wings, they soared. The opportunity seemed vast and…amazing. But it all seemed very out of my realm, beyond the reach of a little ol’ blog tucked away in the corner of the inter webs, rambling on about chickens who have gone off the lay and attack of the giant zucchini plants and what my toddler is eating for breakfast and what I’m feeding the shearers.
Then I got an email: “You are a finalist in the 2017 Bupa Blog Awards.”
Beth had been banging on to me that I should do this. That I needed to do this. Maybe she was right. Maybe that little voice was right. Maybe.
But as I sat yesterday amongst some damn good bloggers, true communicators, beautiful story tellers, heartfelt writers, people I really admire, I had that thought: “What am I doing here? Who even reads my blog?! Have these people made a huge mistake? I’ll just sit here and maybe nobody will notice I’m a total imposter…”
She Sows Seeds.
Cue the astonished eyes emoji and some rambling into a microphone about just stomping about in my veggie patch with noncompliant children then telling the internet about it all.
Then later in the evening, after a few champagnes were under the belt and I was giddy with astonishment that I was even here let alone won a flipping award. Remember: imposter. Who even am I?! Wait for it…
She Sows Seeds.
Blog of the year.
Cue delirious laughter. Before realising, mid acceptance speech, that…this was the little voice. Right? Right.
I’m not going to pretend that I am not worthy, surprised yes, flattered absolutely, humbled immensely. But let me tell you this: I pour my heart and soul and a lot, a lot, of hard work into my online space, my community, my content, my authenticity, my voice. All of it. It is me on a plate. Or a screen, whatever. But it’s there, and it’s real, and it is worthy. And now? Validated.
Rewind to 2008… sitting in our tiny (tiny!) cottage on the beef property we were managing at the time in north east Victoria, I discovered these things called ‘blogs’. Huh… But aren’t bloggers super nerdy twitchy sci-fi obsessed sexually frustrated teenage boys wanting to share their latest gaming scores? Errrr. Down the rabbit hole I fell. I fell hard, I started tapping away at a little blog called ‘Little Miss Emma’. I would race home from my day job and tap tap tap, shoot shoot shoot. I had just spent three years completing a photography degree and was burnt out. I left uni not wanting to pick up my camera, which made me sad. I was lost and didn’t know how I would find my way as a farmers wife with a commercial photography degree (this was before Instagram, in the early days of Facebook). Then…I had stuff I wanted to say, stuff I didn’t know I wanted to say. I had things to share – and people who listened at the other end. And? I could write. Like, really write. Huh. The writing made me pick up my camera. The imagery sparked my soul again, it always has, but it pushed me to write some more. People read. Conversations started happening on my blog. Tap tap tapping away in our tiny cottage, stories of embryo transferring cows and weighing calves in the Murrindindi fog and the variety of lavender I’d planted in the garden and learning to sew and what had just come out of my oven that day.
They say content is king. Let me just day: true dat, amen, but to me, connection is also king (or queen). My ‘why’ (which is oh so important in the blogging game apparently, insert eye roll emoji) is the connect. I must connect with people – the people who read my blog, double tap my Instagram posts, scroll their Feedly to see little ol’ She Sows Seeds pop up, send me random Facebook messages or emails or tap me on the shoulder in the street or smile awkwardly in the supermarket. That! I have connected with them in some way. And that is everything. Without that? I’m just tap tap tapping away into the abyss. Which it absolutely seems like at times, without doubt. It’s a funny old game blogging, it’s about connection and creating a community, but it is so very isolating and lonely work. There’s nobody cheering me on or patting my back or telling me if what I’m doing is even remotely good/right/relevant/worthy. I write most blog posts with Harriet sitting on my lap at my desk also trying to type and knock everything off my desk, patting my face screeching “MUMUMUMUMUM” and Eleanor tugging on my arms asking for a snack. Some days it would be very much easier to not blog. To not push publish, to not do that Instagram post, to not email back that company who wants to work with me, or that mum who is desperate for advice on what I did with x y or z. But I keep going, head down bum up, Harriet patting my face screeching and Eleanor tugging on my arm and me losing my mind, because this is so very important to me. This is my jam. And I knew, I just knew, that it was worthy. That I was of worth, with my writing and my photography and my story telling.
I launched She Sows Seeds in March 2013 and from the get go, after three previous blogs (Little Miss Emma, Cinderella at Brindabella and The Happy Campers), I had a vision of what She Sows Seeds was going to be. My online space that was mine to curate and nurture, for my tribe and my voice and my creative outlet. I didn’t care if it didn’t happen quickly, in fact I preferred that it evolved naturally and slowly, but I had that very clear picture in my mind of what this space was going to grow to be, I knew it had legs, and so did I…I just needed to use them! And I’ve been paddling bloody hard under that water ever since. Paddle paddle paddle. I am a complete duck! Glide glide, paddle paddle x82930. Repeat.
And my tribe, oh you guys! You are my jam. You! Yes you! You deliver the goods to me every single time I have a case of wanting to throw in the towel, wondering what on Earth I am even doing, for what cause, for what reward, when I have the imposter syndrome’s, like last night at the Bupa Blog Awards. You are there, always. I turn on my phone and there you are. Tapping just like me, scrolling and engaging and being fabulous. I have been so overwhelmed with the positivity around me in the past 24 hours. Mind blown. So, tell me…
Why are you here?
What’s your story to blogging?
To an online community? To me?
What does She Sows Seeds mean to you?
What do you want to see on She Sows Seeds?
I have been given an amazing opportunity by Bupa, and you bet I am going to be grabbing it with both hands and yes: paddling bloody hard as per usual under that water. Don’t worry though: nothing will really change in this space, it’s still me, creating, rambling on, doing my thing, gliding, but paddling. Glide. Paddle. Glide. Paddle paddle paddle.
I’ll tell you one thing, I’m starting to think maybe that revolving door at Bupa HQ yesterday was just a giant euphemism. In one side and out the other. Today has dawned a new day, with some added trophy-ware for the mantlepiece, fresh flowers from a great night with really rad friends, and a spring in my step to keep paddling. The little voice was right.
You can view the Bupa press release here with all the lovely details about other winners: Mel, Fiona, Sam, Tara and Geoff, Rachael.
My pretty blue dress is from Gippsland local lass Betty Lane.
My gorgeous green silk top is from Gippsland shop of loveliness Mookah.