Approximately six weeks ago, I received an email from voiceBoks, an online community of parent bloggers, informing me that Catharsis had been nominated for the Top Mom Blog Award for 2013. I was thrilled! Who wouldn’t be? After years of blogging and doing my best to take Catharsis to the next level (whatever that means and where ever that may be), I was finally gaining some recognition. VoiceBoks is a huge community and to just be selected as a nominee is, to me, an absolute honor in itself.
I patted myself on the back and allowed myself to float in a peaceful cloud of self-satisfaction for a few hours and then went to work. And by ‘work’ I mean I started to make the announcement to all my social networks. Voting had to start as soon as possible in order to have a real shot at winning. I had to get as many people as I can to hit ‘Like’ on my blog page over at voiceBoks.
Votes started pouring in quite easily at first. I advertised to family, blogger friends, former co-workers, school friends (from elementary to graduate school) and shamelessly even to acquaintances.
Little did I know at the time that these things could turn a bit ‘ugly’. Not overwhelmingly ugly, but ugly enough to cause me stress. Before I proceed though, I just want to give you the happy ending and announce that WE won!! We are No.1 on the Top Mom Blog list of 2013, so CONGRATULATIONS to us, Catharsis friends and supporters!
But this blog entry is not merely an announcement but to share with you my realizations with the whole experience of joining this contest. Here they are:
- I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I am grateful and feel blessed beyond words that I have such amazingly supportive, gracious and loyal friends. I have been asked how I ended up with so many votes for this competition, and frankly I wasn’t expecting to win either. At some point, I even thought of just giving up the campaign and wanted to leave it all up to fate. But I had friends who kept pushing and encouraging me. They were simply amazing throughout the competition. Not only did they vote for me, they also did their own campaign among their contacts, working hard and making sure they got the word out and the votes in. They never stopped believing in me and genuinely wanted to see Catharsis on the top spot, as if it was their own child, their baby! I am simply overflowing with a sense of gratitude and continue to be humbled by my friends’ belief in me and their dedication. They didn’t have to do it, but they did. Through them, I truly witnessed authentic generosity in action; giving without expecting anything in return. I am in great company. That’s for sure!
- Never underestimate Pinoy (Filipino) Power. I had contacts from all over the world, with different nationalities, who were more than willing to support me in this competition. But the strongest and steadiest support undoubtedly came from my Filipino friends and family. In a way, this isn’t really surprising at all since I’ve witnessed how Filipinos can cheer and root for the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Charice Pempengco, or a talented Filipino contestant on the American Idol. We’ve also been known for overthrowing a dictator through peaceful means so I know what this ‘power’ can be capable of. I'm not saying I have the same celebrity status as those above. I just didn’t expect I would be on the receiving end of it and it’s amazing and humbling at the same time.
- Some people take competitions way too seriously and don’t know how to just have fun. I guess you could say that I saved the ‘best’ for last, the most shocking revelation or realization for me after being part of this blog competition. Maybe I was just naïve getting into this, but I really wasn’t expecting this. ‘Expecting what?’, you might ask. Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting to be monitored by another blogger nominee to see how many votes I’ve received and see who’s ahead. And I most certainly didn’t expect to be accused by the same nominee of creating fake Facebook profiles just to end up with more votes. It certainly wasn’t fun to be called a ‘cheater’ behind my back. I felt offended and attacked and it didn't make sense to me because this person doesn't even know me. I didn't see the point in confronting her and just hoped that my silence would turn out to be another investment in good karma. Families, schools, mass media and other socialization institutions always teach our children the message “The journey is more important than the destination”. Or, “Winning is not as fun and important as playing the game”. Sadly, even some adults who are parents themselves don’t seem to understand such lessons, or worse, preach them but don’t live them. This (misplaced) over-competitive nature was so off-putting and disorienting for me at some point. As far as I knew, I was in a mom blog competition which meant I was in the company of other mothers, writers, who enjoy camaraderie and showing support to fellow parents and bloggers. Aren’t we supposed to be cheering for each other, instead of putting the other down? Though I was left with a slight bad taste in my mouth, I refuse for this experience to define other amazing bloggers who are indeed very pleasant, supportive and know the meaning of friendly competition. More importantly, I want to make it clear that one’s bad attitude and behavior do not define voiceBoks as a community, which has always been nothing but supportive, fair and encouraging!
I am not letting the 'bad' overshadow the amount of gratitude I feel. I've always worked hardfor my written work and I am just so happy that people are noticing. Most importantly, this blog competition truly helped me reconnect with a lot of my high school mates who have been so selfless with their support and love. Our bonding experience through this is simply priceless.
To STC Batch '90, this victory is for all of us!! Let your light shine, always!!