Dearest ones, in my hometown bar a couple of months ago, I sat across from a man and had a beer with him. This sounds mundane, but it was far from that. This man, I graduated high school with and, in a town with only 3 stoplights, that's big. It means that we grew up our entire lives together. We saw each other grow and change.
In high school, I was very aware of social strata. I was a band geek. This man, he was a jock. In our high school, those two cliques don't talk to each other. They keep their distance because, most of the time, it was bullies vs. bullied.
This man, he'd never done anything to me, personally, but in our entire school lives of knowing each other, I don't think I said more than 3 sentences to him. In the interest of forging a new connection, I greeted him with a smile. We each bought our beers and we sat down to talk.
Conversations like this always come down to, "What are you doing, now?" That question is so hard for me to answer. It's not cut and dry. It's not short and sweet. The answer is long and I never feel like I fully describe what I do and what occupies my days.
"Well, I'm disabled." I tell him. And I tell him all about Systemic Lupus and chronic pain and what all of that entails. I tell him about the days I can't get out of bed. I tell him about all the doctors and how, at 31 years old, they're using phrases like, "the quality of life we can give you." I tell him that there is no fix and my prognosis is uncertain. I tell him about my strokes and all the tests that still need to be done.
Then, I tell him what being sick has taught me.
Life is not all bad. In fact, it's simple and miraculous. It's taught me that I want to spend every single day playing with and reading to my daughter Pookie as much as I can. I want to smell the top of her head and kiss Hubby and help my stepson with his math homework.
I tell him that I see getting and being sick, of having strokes and coming through them, as one of the best things that's ever happened to me because it put me in touch with what really matters.
When a stroke happens, there's no warning. All of a sudden your ordinary Tuesday gets derailed. Your entire week (and sometimes life) is derailed. Strokes don't care that you have to be at work. They don't care if your job might fire you because you can no longer do the work or can't show up because you're on a heart monitor in the hospital.
In an instant, everything that you've worked towards, everything that you think is so important, suddenly isn't anymore. When you can't speak or understand the language you've spoken since birth, when you don't know who your family and friends are, if you're lucky to come out the other side with most of your faculties intact, your entire life is re-prioritized.
In an instant, your life has changed forever and there's no going back.
Then, I tell him about this project. Visionary Bri. I tell him, "I write and do art. I run giveaways and write reviews, I promote and encourage artists (focusing on women) both locally and worldwide. I am a life coach and a creativity specialist. My followers and readers include cosplayers, LARPers, rennies, fashionistas, dancers, artists, mamas and gamers as well as other passionate, creative individuals from all walks of life. My audience reach is nearing 7,000 unique viewers each week with viewership in 79 countries (and counting). My mailing list subscribers are in the 800-900 range at last count."
"But mostly," I say, "I help people live the kind of life they've always wanted to live. I give them the encouragement and the connections to do so. I want to help people, so that's what I do."
The more I spoke, the more his jaw dropped. And the more his jaw dropped, the more I just wanted to pour out what I'd learned by facing my own mortality. I wanted to wake him up. I wanted to wake everyone in the bar up. I wanted to take everyone's shoulders and shake them a bit and wake the world up.
This is it! This life is short! Plan for tomorrow, but bask in what's important, today! You will never know when tomorrow won't come, for you.
I wanted to throw away all the economic statuses and demographics and ideologies and political views that separate us, as people, and show each of you how we are so alike. So much more alike than we are different.
I guess a simpler idea would be, "I try to wake the world up to the beauty and wonder of today. I try to empower people to chase 'their always wanted to's and 'why didn't I's. And I try to remind them that what's really important is the impact you've made on those that will survive you and carry on in the world after you're gone."
That is the short version of what I do.
I have so much to tell you, my lovelies, about what this life has taught me and I want to share it with you. And it's too long, too much, and too beautiful to give you in little blog post snippets. This is what I want to do, my precious ones. I want to write a book for you.
I'm in the middle of it, now, and it's coming along nicely.
It will be a book filled with love and lessons from my heart and life.
Do you remember when I said that I was going to ask you for help? Well, my dears, this is it. I need funding to put out this book and I'm asking you, my wonderful fans and readers to help me.
On the left, at the top of this blog, I've put a "donate" button from PayPal. If you like my writing and would like it to continue, if you can spare even $5, it would help.
I'm saving up to purchase my own domain and to start my own press and I can't do it alone. Being disabled and on a severely limited income with a family, I can't really get a loan to start projects.
From one soul to another and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping me. I adore each and every one of you and look forward to hearing from you.
We are all visionaries, my beautiful ones.
Love to All,
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