The Award I Did Not Receive

I notice when people start their biographies with references to awards they’ve received. While self-promotion is not a sin, it takes a lot panache to pull it off without stumbling over the words like an overeager lad boasting about schoolyard accomplishments.  Still, that’s more endearing than someone who acts nonchalant and unaffected by such pedestrian acknowledgement – those folks are just assholes.

Note that I am well-aware of the fact that as I blog this, I’m asking you to vote for me/the blog for the Reader’s Choice Awards and for the Pittsburgh Magazine Best of the Burgh awards. Vote for me! And keep reading.


Last week, a woman who I know sent me a Facebook message. She had nominated me for a Hometown Hero Award from KDKA. And I wasn’t selected as an honoree, so she wrote back to them to give them an earful for their lack of LGBTQ awardees.  I’m not sure what made me smile more – the nomination or the fact that she took the time to push back against a perceived lack of diversity. She told me that “just wanted to put it out there that your efforts do matter.”

And you know, it does matter – it matters that she took the time to fill out the nomination, that she cared. She understands that being visible and being validated can help sustain a person when things get tough. She’s a foster parent and I’ve tried hard to amplify her concerns, needs and advocacy on behalf of children in care, biological families and foster families, too. It isn’t quid pro quo, but more the shared experience of wanting to be heard and encouraged – to know that we aren’t alone in the struggle, whatever it might be.

That’s why it is rather endearing when someone is sincerely proud of their honors and acknowledgements. It matters that someone cares, just like it matters when someone says thank you. Just like it makes me feel when a few friends mentioned that they voted for me in the Readers Choice award, it was far more thrilling than actually winning. Or perhaps differently thrilling?

To be honest, I’ve had my share of lumps.  Earlier this year, I was nominated for a national blogging award, but didn’t make it to the final rounds. I was crushed which was unrealistic since it was my very first time to make it that far. Last year, I was contacted by a different local radio station for an award that they offered, but was told that they couldn’t honor two lesbians back to back so they rescinded my profile. Ouch. Double ouch even.

But those are not the worst things that have happened to me, even this year. They are blips, especially in the face of messages like “hey, I thought your work was worth taking time to acknowledge” from a neighbor, a friend, a stranger.

I’ve never been nominated for a high-stakes award with pressure and speculation and things like that. I’m sure all of my serenity would be out the window, but as that’s unlikely to happen – for now, I can advise serenity. More aptly, enjoy the nomination – enjoy the moment.

It really is nice just to be nominated.


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