Today’s Guest Star started a revolution of sorts in the blogging world two months ago, when she published this post, asking fellow bloggers to list things they like about themselves. Women everywhere came to realize they were always too quick to find fault in themselves, and had little to like about themselves. With one inspired post, Elena of C.Mom struck a powerful chord with her readers and fellow bloggers, so much so, she started a website, Just.Be.Enough. which embodies the spirit of her original post.
I am very fortunate to be part of that site.
Aside from being the founder of Just.Be.Enough, Elena is also a mother, a wife, a cancer survivor, an athlete, a teacher. She is also my inspiration. To be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, blogger.
I am honored she is here today.
1. When and why did you start blogging?
I started in October of 2009. I was getting remarried and was home sick with my daughter (we both had strep throat!). I had always thought about finding a way to tell my story as a cancer survivor but had not figured out how. Somehow being a divorcee, survivor, parent, and about to embark on my second chance at love, I felt like it was time.
I started on a Blogger site, eventually moved to a WordPress.org site, and then, not even a year later, joined the ranks of the self-hosted. Almost two years later I could not be happier – nor do I remember what life was like before blogging.
2. What do you love most about blogging?
The community, the friendships, the head nods as someone reads my words. Knowing that I can read a dozen blogs and feel a dozen different emotions. Also, the writing. I had always love to write and then my love became teaching writing to children. Now I get to do it for me.
3. Who is your favorite blogger ever?
Oh my gosh – one? I have several–but for VERY different reasons. Susan, from Toddler Planet is my inspiration in the face of adversity, Kris from Pretty All True is a beautifully skilled and powerful writer. She makes me laugh, cry, and feel things I have never felt. Leticia from Tech Savvy Mama because she is the epitome of professional–she is collaborative, engaging, and so extremely authentic.
The truth is that I have met some truly amazing women, on their blogs and also in real life while attending conferences like Type A Parent or BlogHer. I have been touched by the kindness, the authenticity, the savvy-ness, the skill, and the sheer passion that shows across the pages of so many sites.
4. Is there a post you regret publishing?
The short answer is no. There are posts that I look back on and think–ughh….those were blah. I tend to write conversationally and sarcastically and there have been a few posts that I have written with one intent and then gotten feedback (usually from my mom) that they gave a completely different impression. Also, the posts that I would probably regret publishing are the ones that never make it to my computer. They stay in my head (or I vent them to my husband, or to the wall in my study). 🙂
5. What do you love most about being a Mom?
The cuddles first thing in the morning, the bed time story and prayer time at bedtime. The laughter, the curious questions and insightful comments. And in my case, the sense of awe that I get from remembering that I was having hot flashes and was without a cycle before having my daughter. And yet, here she is, almost seven years later, brought into the world by me, without any additional medical experimentation. On some days I am almost able to forget the rolled eyes, the tone of voice, or the refusal to follow a direction, when I just focus on that first morning in our hospital room, watching the sunrise.
6. What’s your favorite time of the day?
Right before dinner, when I can take a glass of wine and sit on the deck for just a few minutes. Either that or right after an early morning run or bike ride, realizing that I feel great and still have an entire day ahead.
7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Greece, Eygpt, and Morocco. I have always had a facination with Egypt, and the idea of becoming one with the locals on a small Greek isle, waking up to that bright blue sky and sea…that sounds lovely. And Morocco just seems magical and mysterious.
8. What could you eat every single day?
Dark chocolate and wine (oh wait, that is drinking). Also, Thai spicy drunken noodle. Also, papaya. (Okay seriously, I am sorry that I seem unable only to give you one answer). 🙂
9. Favorite season and why.
Fall because I love running on a sunny but not sweltering day. I can sit on my deck in the morning in the sun, with a sweatshirt. We can use our fire pit in the evenings without being swarmed by bugs. And I love the religious holidays that happen this month – Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) is all about starting over, and to me it is a season of healing and hope.
10. One word to describe you.
11. You recently founded Just.Be.Enough. Tell us more about your inspiration behind it and what your goals are with the site.
Earlier this summer I read a post by The Empress about accepting our bodies despite our imperfections. Her post and words hit me at just the right moment in my life, and I could do nothing but think about the message. So I emailed her and asked if it would be alright if I used her as an inspiration to run a Things I like About Me linkup. What happened was nothing short of amazing. I received tweets and emails from women who wanted to participate but could not think of anything to put on their list. I encouraged them to come up with at least three. In the end, they did that and more! As I read each of the 90 linked up posts, I could visualize an army of women standing taller as they listed their likes. I could also see the seeds that were so deeply rooted, of focusing on our flaws. Of being too critical. Of never accepting who we are, the way we are.
So I thought and I thought of how I could keep this wave of positivity and standing taller going. I went for a swim and it hit me, this topic could not just be part of C.Mom, it needed its own space.
That was two weeks before BlogHer. I bought a URL, found a designer, and started recruiting contributors. And now, one month later, we have written 30 posts and had 79 people link up to share their Be Enough Me feelings.
As far as goals, I would like to see the site grow and become a place where women, men, moms, & dads come to read stories of empowerment. A place that will remind people that putting themselves first, focusing on the good, and carrying the weight of our empowerment and confidence, will lead to standing taller. A place where they can come to be reminded that it is okay to be who we are. A place where we model being enough for our children. I would like to continue to work with brands that are interested in supporting the Just.Be.Enough. mission, to raise awareness to dispel the myths of perfection, and to support the growth of a younger generation without the constant fear of not being enough.
12. Just.Be.Enough recently launched a wonderful campaign Be Enough Me 4 Cancer, partnering Bellflower Books and Crickett’s Answer For Cancer. Can you tell us more about it and how we can be part of this campaign?
The campaign runs for until September 14th. For every 20 stories about Being Enough, Bellflower Books will donate a memory book to a woman and family fighting breast cancer through Cricketts Answer for Cancer.
I know about Crickett’s Answer for Cancer through a blog and in real life friend, Susan Niebur (@Whymommy) who has fought this fight in her own life, gracefully and ferociously, and always wanting to help others. So when Kerry from Bellflower Books mentioned a philanthropic campaign, as a cancer survivor myself, I jumped at the chance to give back to women and families that could use an extra reason to smile.
Being sick is hard. Being a caregiver is hard. Having fond memories to look back on, even if just for a moment, replaces the pain with love and laughter, and that is our goal for these women and families. The great thing about the campaign is that you do not need to have a blog to participate. You can comment in the comment section of the link up posts, or on the Facebook wall with a Be Enough Me story and be counted!
We already have 57 links, which is just shy of three books. We are hoping to maximize our forces with a goal of 10 books by the the end of the campaign.
And if you have a Be Enough story you want to share, write it and link up with Be Enough Me today and next week, so we can help get memory books to some deserving women and their families. Thank you.