Pieces of Me

Kidspot Voices of 2014 Gala

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I had good intentions to take photos on Saturday night. I even packed my camera into my evening bag, battery charged and ready to go. But the night didn’t play out the way that I had expected. I took my camera out only once. Two photos were snapped. Good intentions and expectations swayed to the ebb and flow of the night.

I guess that is what #voicesof2014 has been all year – a journey of expectation. Expectations that have ebbed and flowed, that have liquefied and froze. Expectations that for most of the year felt like my hands were bound and tied.

In the week leading up to the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Gala the culmination of the year, the anticipation of the awards, the night itself, even the hashtag – was the crazy in mind. Oh how I wish I could sit here and say that I did not feel nervous or apprehensive about the night, that I was carefree about the awards and who would win them. I wasn’t.

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Instead I was a spectator to a battle between my ego and my humility. My humility chastised my ego in its hunger for winning, my ego defiant in defending its worth. The slander and accusations going to and fro in my heart and my mind weighed me down. I don’t know why I expected it to be different. Why I thought it was more righteous to expect not to win, or why it was more humble to not even want to win.

As time drew closer to the Gala I resigned from the battle, from being an active participant. I found my focus in the Universe, the possibility I had been counting on all year and that ever so small glimmer of believing in my worth – whatever the outcome would be. It was enough.

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The Kidspot Voices of 2014 Gala at Sketch was truly a night of fairy tales. Beautiful dresses, meeting amazing people, sipping one champagne or two while sharing a laugh and a hug with bloggers I had grown to love through their words and our connection online.

But the night was teased with the taint of expectation. It lingered in the room like a thin, almost invisible thread. A silver thread that weaved through conversations, tugged at hearts and hands, was caught in the doubt and drowned in the champagne. As the awards began to unfold and one round of applause was followed by another the expectation lifted.

There is a difference between hoping and knowing. A concrete difference. Hope leaves us open and vulnerable, mocked by possibility. Knowing is absolute and definitive. Hearing your name being called out – or not hearing your name being called – extinguishes hope. You are either left holding the award or you are left with nothing. Or at least in that moment it feels like nothing.

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My inner voice would not leave me alone all night at the Gala. Screaming and pestering me from the inside. I caught glimpses of things that made me start to believe that the category and overall winners already knew they had won. Glimpses that started to make me feel defeated and insignificant. Glimpses that felt like they were confirmed as the final four awards were announced.

But in the end none of that matters. The knowing, or not knowing, the element of surprise or the cramp of disappointment all fall aside. The winners in all of the awards and all of the categories are truly deserving of their achievements. An honour they worked hard for and an honour they deserve to be congratulated for. Their success defines a future we should all be proud of, as we contribute towards it in our own way, with our own words.

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As my tired feet begged me to go home, I took a moment to reflect on my expectations walking in to what I was left holding in my hands as I walked out. I had an incredible night out with my sister. Her support is unwavering, a blessing I am truly lucky to have. I met incredible writers, bloggers and people who reached out and gave me tiny little moments of support and hope. I met people who read my blog. Who told me their mothers, grandmothers and husbands read my blog. I still catch my breath over how epic and significant that is to me. How hearing that shook my little world of expectation and doubt to its core.

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I want to thank Kidspot. Wholeheartedly in all my gratitude thank you for taking a chance on me. Thank you to the judge or judges who believed, even if only for a moment, in my words and their possibility. I would like to thank all the sponsors; especially Olympus for connecting with my posts in a way that they felt was worth being awarded 4th place. Our family memories will be captured with my new camera and I thank you for that.

I know that even if I had the chance I would not write one word any different or capture one image any differently in my Kidspot journey. I know that in all my posts as part of #voicesof2014 I didn’t just give my all – I gave a little part of my soul and that is something I will always be incredibly proud of. That is enough for me. It was enough the moment I wrote the words.

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My Kidspot journey started in Vietnam overlooking the South China Sea with a Vietnamese coffee in my hand. It ends here sitting at my desk at home, short black in hand and a half eaten vegemite toast. Somehow I can’t help but feel this journey never really had a beginning or an end and it is just part of a much bigger picture. A picture that I can’t quite see the edges of yet.

 

Oh as for those photos I didn’t take – please check out the incredible post from Fabulous Femme. Her images are simply stunning, I could just scroll through them over and over again.

A special mention to Clare – if you have not checked out Checks and Spots please do – her space is amazing, inspiring and at the edge of innovation. You will simply fall in love, congratulations Clare xx

 

 

 

 

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    Josefa you glowed the entire evening as I followed the trail of photos of you on instagram (in other profiles). I’m sad there has to be only one winner as I’m not a fan of that cloak of disappointment nor the fact the winners may have known prior, as then where’s the surprise in that. As I wise friend told me, all this acclaim is fine, but the real acclaim comes from these incredible connections and meaningful moments you continuously have with your friends and readers. Totally winning. Xxx

    • Who knows if the category/overall winner knew prior – perhaps it really was just the crazy in mind – either way this experience has been so incredible and I am so grateful – you know what though – I did think of you on Saturday night and how we were at the same event the year before and how awesome that was! It really is about connecting and meaningful moments, awards are nice, of course they are, but I have so much to be grateful for and count my blessings towards. Thank you Pip xx

  • LydiaCLee

    I’m glad you had fun in the end – there is that ugly side of vanity that creeps up, when what should thrill you suddenly isn’t enough, however, as long as you are aware of it, you can laugh a little at yourself. And you know what, you did better than most of us, so that should be enough – and there’s always next year!

    • Oh vanity – she is an evil wench! I certainly can laugh at myself now – more so if there is a next time, perhaps I may just beable to curb that vanity before she takes over again. My experience has been incredible, it will always be enough for me xx

      • LydiaCLee

        That was in no way a criticism of you (I wrote about my own ego when my story got published) I just meant we all do it (incase you thought otherwise)

  • To think the winners knew makes it all a bit hard I feel. The element of surprise is one of the most exciting things. I have to agree with Pip that it’s about making connections and even being something to one person. I wrote a post on Sunday about blogging not being a popularity contest and more than 40 bloggers could relate. Yes it’s nice to get awards but being told someone’s mother reads your blog – priceless. You’re a winner because of who you are, not what you receive x

    • Oh Em, did they know? did I think they knew? Was my mind palying tricks on me – I guess I’ll never know. Connections are the most important and popularity really should not even factor into the question or the outcome. When people told me their mums or partners read my blog – I was floored! It was not just enough for me to hear that – it was completely overwhelming xx

  • Josefa, I can just imagine the emotions you would have been experiencing on the night. A year of hard work and expectation coming down to one night. My heart would have been in my mouth. Thank goodness for little sisters and their unwavering support. I’m lucky enough to have one of those too 🙂 Congratulations on your award. You know that I’m probably your biggest fan next to your sister 😉 We have formed a beautiful connection online and I’m constantly in awe of your beautiful work. I can’t wait to see what next year brings for you. You have a fan for life in me.

    • I simply cannot wait to sit down and chat and chat and chat over the summer Renee the people we met, the connections we make – they are priceless in a world that is almost defined by its isolation. I’m a pretty big fan of yours – so that works quite well I think 😉 xx

  • I know that sounds kind of stalker-ish, but you know what I mean 😉

  • writeofthemiddle

    I watched the evening via Instagram. You looked beautiful Josefa! I must be living under a blogging rock because I was unaware of all those different categories of possible wins at Voices 2014 so when I’d see that someone won or came second etc in a particular category, it was the first time I knew that there even was that category! Congratulations on your award – you are way ahead of many of us but then I really don’t like to see blogging become a competition – I’d rather see these things as ‘recognition’. Love all your illustrations on this post – you’re so creative! 🙂 xo

    • Thank you so much! There were SO many awards on the night! I love the idea of recognition versus competition – something in that. The illustrations in this post I give credit to my gorgeous sister @adelphimou – I came up with the concepts and she made them all come to life – love them so much xx

  • Congratulations on being one of the Top 100 to begin with. I only noticed the Voices of 2014 earlier this year and must say I found it inspiring, and have a personal goal to make that list one day. It’s a way off at the moment, but once the triplets are in Kindy I’m hoping I’ll have more time to devote to my blog and it might become a bit more noteworthy.

    • You just never know – all it takes is one nomination and it might just be enough to get the ball rolling. I’ll have my fingers and toes crossed for you xx

  • Congratulations on your award! Enjoy taking photos with your new camera!

  • So pleased for you lovely, you definitely deserved your win.

    • A coffee and an afternoon curled up on the couch chatting Lila – it is on my list xx

  • Fabulous post, Josefa, and beautifully written as always. I loved being part of the night with you. I remember your Kidspot journey beginning in Vietnam. I was SO pleased for you (and a little envious too – both the nomination and that you were in VIETNAM sipping tea!!). One of the greatest discoveries about blogging, for me, has been the realisation that online connections are really meaningful and powerful. And I am thrilled to bits to be a part of it and an award can’t influence that :-).

    • I loved spending the night with you! Ummm actually I always love your company – I think that is a given xx Online connections that spill into real life connections perhaps are the most powerful connections we have today – they are connections that start outside our circle and weave their way into our life. Bringing with them perspective and life lessons to learn – something very blessed in that xx

  • Well done on your award, how fab!

  • Oh I can imagine all the hype and lead up to the night and then actually being there… it’s only natural you felt tense and full of expectation. It’s our nature to want the reward and validation of a win. We are competitive us humans, as humble as we can be too. There’s no shame in that.
    I was vouching for you all night (boo that I missed it in person) and really hoping that your name was called out. I was watching Twitter like a stalking looney actually. You are totally a superstar in my eyes. I adore your words and all that you’re about. You have an amazing talent to connect with your readers and the connection made with them in person, out from behind the screen too at events like Kidspot gala is really unique and wonderful. Those connections soften the blows of disappointment that can come from this blogging business. Be proud, you’re so loved x

    • Oh Vicki – your comment is really just so beautiful, it means the world to me – as did your message before Saturday night. I think there is something that happens between people, something powerful and positive that no award or recognition can come close to – you cannot expect it, you cannot even work towards it – it is just there and when it happens it must be treasured. Like our connection. Thank you and sending over a big hug xx

  • Josefa, I do love how you write! Thank you for loving our post of the event. We wanted a great memory of the wonderful night. Luckily my hubby was nice enough to come along to capture it for me, otherwise I would have been the same and not snapped much at all! It was so lovely to have met you as I do love your blog since I discovered it a short time ago. Don’t be too disappointed in not winning. You’re a winner in all of your followers eyes 🙂

    • Oh Souri – your husband took those photos?! They are amazing! I absolutely loved meeting you and certainly do hope that our paths continue to cross and that this connection only continues to grow xx

  • Massive congratulations to you! There’s something a bit nice in the end about just being there in the moment, and not needing to preserve every moment for posterity and social media, just like the old days. It must have been a fabulous night x
    Dani @ sand has no home

    • Thank you – it was a fabulous night and I absolutely cannot wait for the Kidspot Gala in 2015! xx

  • You always write so beautifully, Josefa and congratulations on your win! Very well deserved. I can’t wait to see all the moments you will capture on your new camera. I’m so pleased you got a pic with your gorgeous sister, she recently designed my new blog header (yet to be revealed!) What a talented pair you are!

    • Thank you so much Sammie! I just love the pic with my sister – one of the best ones we have. And I cannot wait to see the new design she created for you – so exciting!

  • Go you! Remember you don’t need external validation to show what an amazing blogger you are (even though it’s nice), the proof is right here on your blog and is evident in the beautiful connection you have made with your readers. x

    • Thanks so much Jodi – this connection right here – well I have grown to know it is priceless and I value it wholeheartedly – something like that doesn’t need validation, it is validation in itself xx

  • You have a winning blog in my eyes and it’s great that you can appreciate all the wonderful experiences you had on your Kidspot journey this year – you really did so well. You’re also really supportive of other bloggers, including me, and that is worth so much.

    • Thanks Kathy and I love your space and your words, if we cannot be supportive of the ones we connect with and love – what will become of the world?

  • A huge congratulations to you Josefa. What a great year you’ve had and your writing and photos are always so beautiful xx

  • Big congratulations Josefa!
    You needn’t have worried so much, you were already a winner. 😀
    I actually forgot to attend – can you believe that?!! I didn’t even remember until the next day! I feel like I did go now, so thank you for the beautiful run-down. x

    • Oh no!! Thank you for your kind words and maybe next year’s Gala we can share a champagne?

    • Jody! I would love to have met you! Next time you mustn’t forget (but I love that you did!!) x

      • Bron, I have always said my number one reason for blogging was to REMEMBER the years my kids were young because my memory is SO BAD!
        I think this illustrates it all perfectly! X

  • Hey Josefa. I have had mixed feelings being a spectator of the whole thing. It’s been truly incredible – the quality of the events, the type of awards given, the quality of posts by the finalists…but I can’t help feeling that everyone that didn’t win that night, and everyone that wasn’t selected as a finalist, was on the outside; on the outside looking in on something that seemed marvellous. But I don’t think there’s any way you could have avoided feeling disappointed (except had you won, obviously). Despite being initially disappointed to not have been a finalist, in many ways I feel relieved to have been able to just view it all as a spectator. This kind of competition gives me a lot of stress. It’s also made me realise more than anything to just do what you do, and focus on your own intention, and your own audience. At the beginning, I was enticed by all this, but now I feel like a granny contentedly sipping her tea at home, admiring her humble and slightly messy back garden. How great you won a new camera, and had a fabulous evening. You poured so much of yourself into everything Voices related, and you give so much to your readers on a continual basis, you are certainly a winner in every way that matters.

    • Oh Zanni, kindred spirits. Sipping tea while admiring a messy back garden, especially out where you live, sounds so perfect to me. Maybe one day xx

  • Congratulations Josefa. Your Olympus post was amazing.

  • TwitchyCorner

    I’m sorry the night was so internally fraught for you. Without playing down (or sour-graping anything at all!) I’m not sure ever focusing on one thing is as important as the bigger picture. I’ve seen you achieve more by lines in so many different publications lately and I am in awe of your self belief and go-get-em attitude in putting yourself out there! Much love to you xxx #teamIBOT

    • Thank you so much Twitchy – sometimes self belief wavers – but it is those moments that perhaps give us better focus. Loved hanging out with you on Saturday night xx

  • Well, I don’t really know what to say, without putting some noses out of joint, so I’ll just say that I think you’re one of the best writers I’ve ever read. Award or no award. I’ll just leave it at that. In the end, I hope that means more than an award 🙂 xox

    • It certainly does mean more than an award – so much more – thank you. Big hugs xx

  • Competition is stressful! Your mind let you in on that pretty early on by the sounds of it. You write beautifully. Congratulations on your win!

    • Thank you Michelle – yes the stressfulness is one side of it – something we often overlook xx

  • I am surprised that you didn’t rate higher. You are someone that I admire so much and your blog is something that I aspire too. You are brilliant, and whilst I know that receiving an award does confirm this, know also that not getting one, does not dim your brilliance. It was so lovely to see you there.

  • You’re a winner in so many ways Josefa. You write beautifully, you connect with people, and you have such grace. I’d give you an award for that. xx

  • Hugzilla

    Dude, you described that nervous feeling so beautifully, I started to feel butterflies of my own. Sounds like an awesome night, and hoping I can swing an invite next year so I can get to meet everyone!

    • Oh absolutely – make sur eyou are part of #voicesof2015 and an invite will no doubt come your way xx

  • I wasn’t even in the running. Or invited. Count your blessings.

    • Thank you for the grounding perspective Dorothy – sometimes we can get so close to something we can’t see past the end of our own nose xx

  • Hmm the mixed feelings of blogging contests. Stay true to you Josefa. Congrats on being a part of it and your achievements this year.

    • Thank you Lisa xx I think the only ones we can stay true to our ourselves, once we lose that it all just may fall apart xx

  • You were a winner just to be there Josefa. As always, this is beautifully written, you have such a way with words.

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    Oh you are such an amazing person! Reading this gives me goosebumps. It was amazing to meet you and you are certainly a winner in my eyes. Congratulations gorgeous lady!! xx

    • Oh I love goosebumps! I adored meeting you, hope it is the first of many occasions xx

  • Aw. These things are so fraught with anticipation and the possibility of disappointment. I feel for you. Making the Top 5 from over 1200 nominated blogs is a huge achievement and testament to your talent. You did an amazing job, Josefa. You should be so freaking proud of yourself. xx

    • Thank you so much Pip! I am incredibly proud and always will be. In my gratitude and my humility #voicesof2014 will be something I will treasure and never take this experience or this recognition for granted. Your comment here means the world to me xx

    • Well said @piplincolne:disqus

  • It was simply wonderful to meet your equally talented sister on Saturday night, Josefa. Such a highlight for me. x

    • Oh how sweet of you Bron! I plan to make her my +1 for many more blogging events! Speaking of sisters, I bought the The Mapmaker Chronicles today 😉

  • Hi Josefa, You look so lovely in the photos of you on the night. I only began (seriously) blogging in March so I’m not even sure how this whole Kid Spot thing works, how to get on the radar of the Voices thing? HA! So I’m reading along and following what you’re saying from the point of view of someone who’s been at an awards night feeling similarly, but years ago. 🙂

    • Oh lovely thank you so much! I’ll be sure to let you know once all the details are published for #voicesof2015 – keep an eye out on Kidspot – it is a great journey to be part of xx

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