I Fed a Troll

posted by Momo Fali on February 27, 2016

Don’t feed the trolls.

It is the first rule of blogging. Don’t engage with the haters. Don’t let them get in your head. If someone leaves you a nasty comment, you move along without reply, because they are not worth the anger, frustration and, most of all, your precious time.

I haven’t written in five months because I let someone tell me that no one cares what I write about and people who read my posts are actually laughing behind my back.

So I haven’t written, because what if they were right? What if my content has been one big joke to the Internet?

Years ago I was in an abusive relationship and I can assure you that the names he called me hurt far more than any slap in the face. No bloody wound feels as bad as being called worthless. Five months ago, that’s exactly how I felt.

Today, though, I suddenly woke up and realized that as much as I love my readers and the people who have surrounded me through blogging, I don’t write for anyone but me. If you don’t want to read these words, don’t read them. I don’t really care. Now the troll can say I’m selfish. So be it.

I am going to write again. I’m going to write because it’s my creative outlet. I’m going to write because it clears my head. I’m going to write to prove to my daughter that you can’t let someone control you through their hate. I’m going to write because I am better for it.

This is my start.

Hip to be Square

posted by Momo Fali on September 28, 2015

Ain’t no party like an 85 year old’s party, ’cause an 85 year old’s party don’t stop!

*screeeeech* *dj takes the needle off the record*

Somewhere between having a boatload of fun this summer and starting my awesome new job (more on that soon but, goodnight Irene, I love it), I fractured my hip.

My doctor thought it was a pinched nerve – and in his defense, so did I – because it felt similar to a pinched nerve I had years ago. He put me on a course of steroids which, ironically, made the fracture LESS likely to heal. All of my theater friends are going to scream because I just used irony incorrectly, but I mean the situational kind and also, I just took a course of steroids so I dare you to tell me I’m doing it wrong.

When the steroids didn’t help, I thought maybe it was a tendon or something related to running, because running hurt bad. So I tried biking, which was even worse and walking hurt most of all. See, there it is again. Irony is that friend who shows up and you think you’ve missed him because he keeps you on your toes and makes life interesting, but a few days later he’s just annoying and he kind of smells like fish.

Anyway, I tried working out the pain and working through the pain and that was just stupid. Which makes me like my friend, Irony. Though that would be a cool name and Irony doesn’t deserve to be called cool. Remember when George on Seinfeld wanted to name his kid “Seven?” That would’ve been a cool name, except it makes me think about Brad Pitt’s wife and her severed head in a box. Other than that? Super cool name.

Finally, my trainer recommended I see a sports medicine doctor, so I got a referral and x-rays and now I can’t really do anything for 4-6 weeks other than expand my waistline. The other option is to go ahead and do stuff and risk breaking my hip and needing a hip replacement at 44 years old. I can exercise my upper body as long as I’m sitting, so I’ve been working on my 12 ounce curls.

The upside is that now I have more time to write. Lucky you. I had to hurt myself in order to have the time to put you through this pain. Ironic, don’t you think?

Goodbye, BlogHer

posted by Momo Fali on August 31, 2015

Hoo boy. This is going to hurt.

I honestly don’t know where to begin, because I never thought I’d be saying it. I guess I’ll just start at the beginning.

Six years ago, my family was struggling financially. I had been blogging for a few years, I was working part-time, but a failed business and medical bills were eating us alive. A series of events, however, was about to change my life:

  1. Even though we didn’t have enough funds for me to attend, I was chosen as a volunteer for the BlogHer ’09 conference, which covered the cost of my pass. That was the same year a partnership with GM paid for my my transportation to Chicago and a roommate who won a sweepstakes paid for my room. It was all very fortuitous.
  2. In April of 2010, a childhood friend of mine invited me to a conference for pet bloggers she had co-founded here in Columbus. The keynote speaker was Elisa Camahort Page, COO of BlogHer. I met Elisa for lunch and soaked up all the knowledge I could.
  3. I attended the BlogHer ’10 conference in NYC and Elisa spoke on a panel about resume writing for bloggers. That session gave me ideas about how to be creative, to own accomplishments outside of an office, and how to present myself as an asset to employers despite a gap in my employment history.
  4. That fall, I tweeted that I was looking for an additional part-time job and Elisa reached out to me. I pulled out my notes from her session at BlogHer ’10 and crafted myself a resume based off of her tips. I got the job.

Within six months of my hiring, Elisa and her marketing team had molded me into a full-time, support-staff employee with a lot of responsibilities. After working through BlogHer ’11, Elisa made me the Social Media Manager – of a major social media organization and the largest community of women who blog. Since 2010, Elisa has been my mentor and I have her to thank for a whole new career. She absolutely changed my life.

Since 2010, I have loved my job and co-workers, but Friday, September 4th will be my last day as a BlogHer employee.bloggers6

It’s one thing to be given what BlogHer gave me, but sometimes excellent things happen twice in a lifetime. I was recently approached about a new opportunity and in two weeks I will start a position with Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a Senior Account Manager for one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country. I have been associated with them for 13 years, since my son was whisked away by ambulance to their facility on the day he was born.

I am leaving one great community for another, I’m going back to school, and I’m taking the lessons I’ve learned in the past year to take more chances when I feel like the timing is right. I’m excited to be affiliated with this life-changing, life-saving, organization and to see what we can do together to make their online community as unparalleled as BlogHer’s.

What I will take with me from BlogHer are not only analytical skills and techniques that built upon my past managerial experience – thank you Elisa, Jory and Lisa – but, also unprecedented education from the most wonderful community online.

And, THERE are the tears.

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You, who taught me about love and diversity. You, who taught me about inclusion and generosity. You, who taught me how to talk, listen, engage, ask questions, and share, I will miss you.

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I will miss you, social media experts, photographers, humorists, cooks and poets. I will even miss you, political blogger – just not as much as the rest.

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The community is the reason BlogHer was created and they are the inspiration, motivation, love, connection and education that have been part of my workday for the past five years. They are more than a community; they are family. Thankfully, that means they can’t just get rid of me.

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I’ll still be around. I’ll still be at the conferences. I’ll still be reading your blogs and streams and posts. And, I will always be a BlogHer.

So, this really isn’t goodbye. It’s just me heading in a new direction, yet never out of sight.

Follow along on my journey here and here and thank you for everything YOU have given me. It has been a gift to be part of your life.

Dear Typical Parent,

Hi there! I saw you this morning at the bus stop, taking pictures of your kids in their new clothes with shiny backpacks and haircuts. My son was the little guy with a hole in the back of his shirt where he ripped out the label because he couldn’t stand the feel of it against his skin. He had last year’s backpack even though the zipper is broken, because it’s familiar to him and he was also wearing last year’s shoes because he doesn’t grow much and they feel just right. Kids with autism like things that are broken in.

I noticed your son’s shiny braces, too! My son needs braces, but he can’t get them yet. He’s had two surgeries to have teeth removed (not at the dentist’s office, but at the hospital because that’s where kids with heart defects have to go), but he needs to have even more taken out before we can think about braces. That will be surgery number 14…I think. I’ve lost track.

Your daughter was the one first to ask how old my son was; probably because she’s seven and taller than he is. See above, regarding heart defects. He gets a shot of growth hormone every day, though, so I’m hoping he looks like a nine year old by Christmas break!

At first he didn’t hear the question, because his new hearing aids are still on order. After she asked three times, your son was shocked after my son said his age, so I said, “No, really. He is 13.”

Your boy replied, “He’s so little. That’s weird” and it was awesome how you nervously laughed and didn’t correct him.

When your kids come home this afternoon, they may tell you that my son sang the entire time he was on the bus. Or, that he bounced in his seat, or that he did something completely off the wall like throw something out of the window. I hope you are like the parents at his first primary school and tell your kids that he may not be able to help it, but if you’re like the parents at his second primary school, I understand that your first reaction will be to call the school and attempt to get him removed from the bus.

I know my son doesn’t look like yours, act like yours, play sports like yours, eat like yours, or talk like yours. That’s because he is not yours. He is mine. He is unique and quirky and sometimes the most frustrating human being in the world, but he is a child. And, he’s a child who needs an education just like yours. He’s smart enough to score on a 10th grade math level, but sometimes he can’t get his actions and words to match what’s in his brain.

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Tomorrow, after you’ve had a chance to talk to your kids about inclusion and how every child deserves a chance to go to school I hope they will greet him with hearty hellos. I promise, if they do, I’ll do the exact same for you.

Sincerely,

Momo