Your Story

posted by Momo Fali on July 16, 2011

On a hot July weekend in the summer of 2008, I volunteered to work at our church festival. My husband was running our, first-ever, casino night and I shuffled between volunteer registration, watching my kids and helping in the poker tent. I was sweaty, dirty, tired and covered in bug spray.

But, all of those things were good because they helped to keep my mind off of the fact that I was missing a blog conference taking place on the other side of the country.

BlogHer ’08 was in San Francisco that weekend and it crushed me to see the pictures of the parties and read about all of the knowledge being shared.

Most of all, I was missing some of my favorite people on the internet get up and read their moving, touching and hilarious blog posts at the Community Keynote. I watched their videos on You Tube after the fact and cried alone at my desk.

When I heard that BlogHer ’09 would be in Chicago I really wanted to go, but 2009 was a rough year for us and I didn’t see it in the cards. Then I got a volunteer position, which paid for my ticket. Then I got a car to borrow from GM and they paid for my gas and the $48 a day parking at the conference. Then my roommate got a scholarship and paid for the room. I was going to MAKE money going to Chicago!

Since my costs were covered, I turned my attention to the Community Keynote. I wanted to read. Bad. I wanted to tell as many people as I could about what it was like to have a special needs child like mine. I needed to be heard. I sent post after post to the judging committee. I sent sad stories, funny stories and inspirational stories.

I was devastated when I was turned down. Even though I was happy for my friends who would be reading, I was still sad that I wouldn’t.

That was until, on the day of the Community Keynote in Chicago, my friend Tanis read her post. Tanis is a special needs mom too. She’s a really, special, special-needs mom and she read a post that tore my heart apart. I sat at a table and cried so hard that I couldn’t even see through my tears. This time, however, I wasn’t sitting alone.

Suddenly, the fact that I wasn’t reading didn’t matter one bit. Someone had told my story and she did a beautiful job of it. Everyone around me knew I was crying because the story Tanis told touched me on a deep and personal level. The Community Keynote made me…well, it made me feel part of a community and every member of that community has a story to tell.

Last year, with BlogHer’10 coming up in NYC, I decided again to submit some posts for the Keynote (now called Voices of the Year). At that point, with my son’s health more stable, I had a different story to tell. I didn’t get to tell it.

But, you know what? It was okay. It didn’t sting like the first time and the people who did read last year were just what the community wanted and needed to hear. I enjoyed every second of it.

This year, BlogHer’11 is in San Diego and when it came time to submit posts for Voices of the Year I didn’t give it much thought. I sent  over one or two posts and didn’t hold my breath. After all, I’m a contract employee for BlogHer and I didn’t want anyone to think they would play favorites, because they wouldn’t. The judging committee is nothing, if not fair.

And, do you know what happened? SOMEONE ELSE nominated me. I was so touched, but I never thought I would be chosen. Never. Ever.

Wanna guess who tied for People’s Choice?

ME! People’s Choice!

To say I was shocked was an understatement. I could barely breathe. I was sweating. I was thrilled. My friend, Melisa, recently told me that “when you stop searching for something, you will find it” and that’s exactly what happened. She’s one smart cookie.

I will be one of 15 people, chosen from nearly 1000 post nominations, to read in front of about 3000 people. Gulp.

For the people who weren’t picked this year, who may have stories similar to mine, I hope I do you justice the way that Tanis did me and I hope that you, too, will have this moment someday. I really do.

Because I, for one, really want to hear your story.


  • Patty

    With all the running around at Blogher10, I missed the Voices of the Year but I will not this year. It’s the one thing on my agenda, non-negotiable, I’m doing it at Blogher 11.

    Now with the special treat I get to hear you read your post. Your words always touch me so much. Congratulations my dear friend!

    • Momo Fali

      You should never miss VOTY. It’s so great and I would say even if I had NEVER been chosen. It’s a beautiful thing. Can’t wait to see you!

  • Lynne

    Congratulations from one who reads much, and comments not so much. How wonderful for you!

  • Tara R.

    I’m so proud of you. You are going to Wow them.

    • Momo Fali

      Tara, I wish you were going to be there to hold my hand. For real.

  • SurprisedMom

    I wish I could be there to hear you. Of course, reading you is remarkable enough. I’m sure when you tell your story, there will be tears and laughter. You provoke a lot of emotions with your blog posts. Good luck . . . You will wow them.

    • Momo Fali

      As long as there is no “Booing”, I’ll be okay. 🙂

  • Amanda

    Congratulations, mommy! I wish I could be there to hear you read!

    • Momo Fali

      Thank you! I wish you could too!

  • Miss Britt

    When I saw your name listed next to mine, the entire thing just felt very… perfect. I was maybe even more excited to see that than I was to get my own email.

    OK, maybe JUST AS excited. 😉

    • Momo Fali

      Me too! I was looking for your name just as closely as I was looking for mine! Being in the same category was icing on the cake!

  • Melisa

    I’ll be right up front, giving you encouragement and smiles from the floor. I’m so proud of you!

    • Momo Fali

      I KNOW you will. I know. Mwah!

  • BusyDad

    The fact that I will be able to hear it live in person is the best news in the world. Then, we will have a beer. It is fated.

    • Momo Fali

      Beer before…beer after. I’m going to need both.

  • HereWeGoAJen

    I so wish I were going to BlogHer this year. I am sure that you will do a wonderful job.

  • Heather

    I’m so proud of you, I really am. I only wish I could see it in person! 🙂

  • Ann

    I love this post and can’t wait to hear your story.

  • Dawn

    I adore you.

  • schmutzie

    I read at that first Community Keynote in San Francisco in ’08, and it was an incredibly moving experience. It ushered me into an honest realization of the depth and breadth of blogging and what it can do, and I’ve never been able to shake my faith in the power of our voices.

    I will be in that audience listening to you read, and I will be proud.

  • Varda (SquashedMom)

    As a special needs mom, I definitely feel that you will be up there reading for us. Thank you. (I’m an honoree this year, hoping for presenter next year, but also trying not to be too attached.)

    It’s so funny, just when you think you know the whole SN parenting blogging community, then you realize how many others are out there – I have known you as “that BH gal” and never realized you were a fellow SN Mom until recently. Funny.

  • Julie

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to read all about the conference!

  • Annie @ PhD in Parenting

    Me too! 🙂

    See you backstage.

  • All Fooked Up

    Well, i read this post and while it didn’t make me feel ashamed for griping about not speaking, i did enjoy the post.

    So, i’m still going to make fun of not being picked but now i’m looking forward to both hearing you and meeting you.

    Lynn MacDonald

  • meleah rebeccah

    Oh hell yes! How wonderful for you!! YAY!!

  • mrsmouthy

    A huge congrats to you, Momofali. You so deserve some accolades!!

  • JJ

    Congrats to you! Im a new follower–I asked Mel @ Stirrup Queens (a fellow BlogHer editor) who the “fabulous Momo was” that has been tweeting for BlogHer. Love your space–and I wish I was coming to BlogHer this year to hear you!

  • AlisonH

    Very, very cool, and so well deserved.

  • Carolyn Online

    Momo! I’m so sad I won’t be there this year to watch you cry in front of thousands of people. Proud of you though.

  • anymommy

    So wonderful. The only thing that surprises me about you being chosen to read that beautiful post in San Diego is that I’ll be dying of fear backstage with you. LOVE that you’ll tell your story. Love that I get to be a very small part of that.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from It’s How You Play the Game - Momo Fali's
    Saturday, 23 July, 2011

    […] Flush – I find out that I was chosen to speak at the BlogHer ’11 Conference Community Keynote. This is like the blogging equivalent of the Oscar…or the Heisman…depending on what […]

  • Trackback from Half and Half - Momo Fali's
    Thursday, 11 August, 2011

    […] tween daughter hides in her room, then she drops him back off in the early evening. Even though the BlogHer Conference is over, I am still catching up, so he went over there again […]

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