Thanks to the brilliant Aya Walksfar (if you haven’t read her work, please do), I was recently nominated for a Lighthouse Award. Here are the guidelines:
1.) Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
2.) Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
3.) Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
4.) Share three ways that you like to help others.
5.) Nominate as many bloggers as you like.
I have to say that, when I read this was an award for helping people, I was really surprised. Now, I’m not trying to say that I consider myself a rude blogger. I don’t. I really try to avoid celebrity gossip, hurtful rumors (which is kind of redundant, since when have there ever been rumors about positive things?), or put-downs. I am the same way with my Twitter account. I don’t find any enjoyment in ridiculing the flaws in others.
At the same time, though, when I think of a blog that promotes helping others, I think of something a little more positive. I think of someone who writes inspirational blog posts about how everyone in the world has something to offer, or someone who expresses the goodness in all human beings, or someone who reminds us that our dreams can work out if we persevere long enough. And then I look at my latest posts, which includes parodying Princeton Mom and the recently vetoed Arizona S.B. 1062, and I have to think, “Am I really helping anyone here?”
What does it mean to help others? Doesn’t that mean someone who makes it their purposeful mission to educate, to instruct, to inspire? Doesn’t that mean trying to be there for others in their time of need? I suppose that when I think of blogs that are helpful, I think of those who start and stop each workday with the intention to better the lives of others. In other words, not some blogger whose website is “a place for art, discussion, and everything else interesting”, which is basically the short way to say, “This blog is a random collect of stuff I found interesting.” Hardly the award-worthy attitude here.
However, at the same time, there is value in discussing what interests us. The great Leo Tolstoy once said that art is “a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and humanity.” Apart from the slightly sexist attitude (women can and should join in the creation and celebration of art—something I’m sure Tolstoy was just about to add), I completely agree with this statement. When you are sharing things that you are passionate about, you are helping people. One of the greatest parts of being human comes when we feel we can be human together. Human connection is something a lot of people crave, but not everyone can get from their day-to-day lives. Just because we are around people in real life does not always mean that we have the opportunity to dig deep enough to discover the person behind the skin. Though the internet always has (and always will) question material on it, one of its strongest assets rests in its ability to create a platform that can be shared worldwide. Sometimes there is nothing more enjoyable than going to a blog or a YouTube channel or a Twitter account and feeling like you can relate to someone else. I belong to the train of thought that says if I the writer find these articles interesting, there might be someone out there who finds it interesting as well (of course, I’m very ready for my idea to be disproven). Maybe someone even finds it to be exactly what they needed for the day. And, to me, that makes blogging worth it.
Looking onward, the next part of this award (indeed, the best part) is passing on this award to others. Below are two websites that I have found extremely helpful in their candor and honesty. I encourage you to take a look at both.
Freaked—This is a blog about a lot of things. A description of agoraphobia is what it started out as, but the blog has since stretched to include topics like eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, graduate school, and trying to do more than just pass through life. The writer Shelly has endured a tremendous amount. What is inspiring is not just her ability to share all the details, but the fact that she continues to push herself towards new heights, however terrifying they may be (and they usually are terrifying because anxiety disorders don’t take vacations).
My Bright Shining Star—Rhonda Sellers Elkins’s ability to hold back nothing in her description of life after losing her daughter to suicide is perhaps one of the strongest pro-life websites I’ve read recently. Her posts highlight the difficulty of adjusting, as well as the unconditional love that a parent has for a child. By spreading awareness of how depression and suicide can greatly impact a life, I really believe that the work she is doing can and will save lives.
If you know any other websites that you believe are helping others (you can market your own website, I won’t judge), let me know in the comments down below.