Where Were You 10 Years Ago?
The BlogHer editors have been doing a lot of time travel this year, as we continue our Selfiebration of the power of the blogging community while rolling up to our 10-year anniversary conference next month.
As we're looking back to our reasons for starting a blog, hashtags we've been a part of, adventures in blog design, how blogging has changed, and even ideas that didn't exist 10 years ago—we find ourselves talking, so often, about who we WERE in 2004, and how we became who we ARE.
I've found our team's stories funny and inspiring, with so many "Whoa, I didn't know that!" moments that I wanted to share them with you … and we want to hear your stories, too:
10 years ago, I wasn't confident: in my abilities as a parent, in my voice as a writer, even in my capabilities as a pet owner. While I still go through bouts of anxiety over my aptitude in various facets of life, ten years later, there are many more places where I know where I stand. Wait, I not only know where I stand, but I'm happy where I stand. Maybe that has been the biggest side effect of eight years of navel-gazing by writing my blog.
— Melissa Ford, Blogging & Social Media/Health Editor
Ten years ago I was a fourth grade teacher, recently back in the classroom after a four-year stint as president of my local teachers' association). I had gained weight while I was out of the classroom, and was contemplating going on The South Beach Diet. Little did I imagine how that diet would change my life. And I had not the slightest inkling that in ten years' time I would be retired from teaching and earning a living as a full-time food blogger!
—Kalyn Denny, Contributing Editor
Ten years ago, I was a single, child-free, and militant young woman trying to figure out who I was, decide what my next step was going to be, and understand my purpose for being on this Earth. I battled many demons (more than a 25-year-old should ever have to face), but I know, now, that those struggles would become triumphs, and I would learn exactly who I am and why I am here.
—Feminista Jones, Love & Sex Editor
I was a magazine editor, newly installed at REDBOOK magazine, and preparing to shift the magazine to be more honest, authentic and real—largely in reaction to the conversations I saw women having online in the earliest parenting blogs.
I wore four- or five-inch heels every day, and dressed for work as if I would be going on television, which I often was, as a regular contributor to the TODAY show.
My son was just one year old, and my marriage was just ending, which had come to a terrible shock to me (the divorce, not the son). And my house was leaking, above and below. That whole story turned into a book years later, called Falling Apart In One Piece.
I met and started working with the amazing group of women who had launched BlogHer, and the rest, as they say, is history....
Today I am living in the country in the woods and wearing clogs most days—having moved out of NYC after 22 years there—working from home and connecting with a nationwide community through my computer, instead of through a television and a magazine. Every day I discover new voices and new perspectives, and have a blast spending time in my home office: a Convo chat window on the right-hand side of my screen.
—Stacy Morrison, Editor in Chief
Ten years ago I was the mom of a 5-year-old daughter and a very sick 2-year-old son who spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. I spent my days driving him to a special needs preschool on the other side of town, then going to our newly opened business that depended on me, then taking my son to therapy or doctor’s appointments, all while trying to raise a healthy, happy older child. Despite everyone needing me desperately, I was lonely. Part of what made me start reading blogs was that it was such a relief to find people like me; who struggled daily with a special needs or medically fragile child. Blogging saved me from the mental defeat, the physical exhaustion, and the feeling of solitude. Blogging saved me. Period.
—Diane Lang, Social Media Manager
In 2004, I was 38 years old and living in San Francisco, just starting to get a seven-year-itch to move. (Though I would not have the required cojones for two more years.) I was working in corporate public relations (mainly for Intel), plus some radio work (film reviews, mostly) and battling a depression I didn't realize I had. My free time was spent as The Rough Rider in the local go-go troupe, The Devil-Ettes, which dusted all aspects of my life with fine red glitter.
Still, I was nagged by the realization that I would truly thrive outside a cubicle, beyond a city and the reaches of a hipster tsunami. Now I am an organic farmer in North Dakota for most of the year (winters in LA), though I still shimmy when the mood strikes. I answer to no one.
—Heather Clisby, Contributing Editor
Ten years ago, I was a very anxious new mom. Parenting is scary. Blogging makes it easier.
—Rita Arens, Deputy Editor
Ten years ago, I was at the beginning of what I hoped would be a satisfying career working in community development, although I spent a lot of time fretting about the Bush administration. I had barely heard of a blog, and would therefore never even conceive of having "blog friends." Writing was nowhere on my list of things to do.
In 2005, I started a blog, and then I realized the amazing opportunity it afforded. (I thought it would turn into a book deal, which was hilariously delusional.) I realized that I really loved writing. I met really wonderful people, many of whom I met in person eventually.
Fast forward to today, I am a Facebook addict, Twitter user, and infrequent blogger. My blog friends are just my friends. I published a book about unusual things to see and do in NYC, obtained an MFA in creative writing, won a chapbook contest, and just finished my first novel. I still also work in community development.
—Suzanne Reisman, Contributing Editor
Ten years ago, waaaaay too much of my time went to planning a backyard wedding for 150 people PLUS a honeymoon on a budget of $5,000. The DIY got a little out of control, especially since there wasn't a ton of inspiration online yet: no Pinterest, not many wedding blogs (though RIP, IndieBride, what a lovely community you were). The groom and I even rescued a letterpress and typeset our invitations … with the most epic typo ever: "nuptials" came out as "nutpails". But we fixed our mistakes, powered on, came in on budget, and had a blast. I carry a deep and lifelong respect for all DIY, frugal, and wedding planning bloggers from the experience.
I was also the managing editor of a website (RIP, PlanetOut, what a lovely community you were) who spent some time that year talking to my boss about whether adding blogs were "tacky," and whether adding comments to the site would "devalue the experience."
Now, I'm in the center of a community of women who are as tacky (and as classy) as they want to be, who inspire me daily. And what a powerful, on point, outspoken, mad-talented, and indescribably lovely community you are.
—Julie Ross Godar, Executive Editor