Last November, TED and The Huffington Post proudly debuted TEDWeekends –- a curated series that introduces a powerful “idea worth spreading” every Friday morning, anchored by an exceptional TEDTalk video from TED's extensive library.
The foundation of our upcoming August 23rd edition of TEDWeekends will be Eleanor Longden's talk "The Voices In My Head" (which already has over 420,000 views). We're reaching out to you because we think your interests and expertise align in unique ways with this idea.
Longden tells the story of her heartbreaking and deeply challenging experience with schizophrenia, yet leaves the audience filled with hope, optimism and wonder at the strength of the human will.
As a blogger with schizophrenia who is open to sharing her experiences, your voice could really add to the discussion.
If being a part of the conversation here is of interest to you, send us a 500-850-word post on the subject on or before August 22nd. We will then consider it for publication that week (each edition of TEDWeekends starts on a Friday then runs for one week, and we publish a few posts a day).
This program will not only be given prominent front-page placement on The Huffington Post, but we will also use our unique and vast social-media networks to aggressively promote your content. The combined power of TEDTalks and The Huffington Post touches 44 million people every month.
Please let us know if you'd like to participate in the August 23rd program, or if you have any questions."
To be honest, the first thing I did was to check to see if the email account that had sent it was legitimately from The Huffington Post, as I was sent spam mail a while back of a similar nature. I did realise it was spam last time before I sent anything back fortunately, but it did make me very wary of future emails.
The email account is genuinely Huffington Post, and the person who sent it to me really does work there. Once I had established this, and picked myself up off the floor, I immediately started writing. The inspiration came from the email alone, so the blog piece came really quickly to me. Once I had the basic blog post written, I sent a response saying that I was interested. The response came back almost immediately, but in the middle of it was a snag.
"Please send your post directly to me ... along with a headshot."
Me? A photo?! The last decent photo taken of me is the one I use as my Twitter and Blogger profile picture!
I seriously doubted that they would use a baby picture of me, so I started thinking about whether or not I should go through with this or not. Using an up-to-date picture of myself would wave goodbye to virtually all of my anonymity. Granted, I would still call myself Katy Gray, rather than my real name, but a photo would show everyone who saw it who I am. The worry is no more of people in the street recognising me; my worry is that people who bullied me in school, would read it, find my blog and learn about my long-term effects of bullying. High School was nearly a decade ago. Yes, they shouldn't have bullied me, but people do a lot of stupid things in High School. Regardless of whether or not they are sorry for what they did to me, in my heart I have forgiven them. Holding onto a grudge does no one any good, so while I may still write about bullying and the possible link to my schizophrenia, I no longer allow myself to feel resentment towards them.
After talking it through with my family, I decided I would go ahead with this. After all, how often will I get emails from the likes of The Huffington Post in the future with requests for full blog posts?! This may be my only chance at doing something like this, and I know I'll regret not sending something off over the sake of a photograph.
There's no guarantees that I'll be published by the way. They may not like what I've written and not publish me. But I'm going to at least try. I'll send it off, along with a photograph (eek!) on Monday, and if I find out in advance that they don't like it, I'll write something else. It would be great to be published by The Huffington Post, so I'm going to do all that I can to get in!
I'll update my Twitter and blog when I find out if I'm being published, so watch this space!