Once more, I am participating in A Chronic Voice’s monthly linkup.
February prompts: ditching, invigorating, playing, joining, looking.
This post muses about two major topics: BiRequest and turning my blog into a business. I’m excited about both things, and hoping that the steps I am taking in both spaces will lead to a better future for myself and others!
BiRequest has been ditched by people who really could have used the support – who needed help and are stuck in their own very negative, very toxic places.
I think the most upsetting thing to me about being ditched by a group of members was that they said they no longer felt safe.
I have a deep-seated awareness that many of them had been victimized, and their responses to the group were much more about that fear than it was about the actions of our former facilitator.
It hurts me that they felt unsafe, and it hurts me that they were unable or unwilling to recognize that he stepped back as soon as he was aware of their issue.
They entered what was intended to be a space for meditation in anger(they were not alone in this), and they left before any conclusions were reached.
The worst of it was the friendships destroyed over this. Whether it was attempting to keep friendships going while in differing emotional space, or disagreement about the power(or perceived power) our lead facilitator had, the whole thing was a mess of nastiness and toxicity.
I do feel ditched by the people involved and I know that they feel that the group failed them. I wish things hadn’t been forced this way, and I mourn the friendships lost and damaged due to this stress.
However, it is invigorating to build or rebuild something.
I am very actively participating in the structural rebirth of BiRequest, and I am thrilled to be doing so.
The group as a whole is a nurturing and supportive place, open to and respectful of differences, and I recognize that part of the cost of this is that we have some members of the BiRequest community who really don’t have anywhere else to go(we certainly also have many members in good and emotionally healthy places, just looking to explore their bi identity).
We have members who are painfully low on self-awareness, folks extremely lacking in social skills, people who have been severely damaged or traumatized by their lives, and some folks whose lives have been painfully short on opportunities to feel safe.
BiRequest has provided them with that sense of safety and acceptance, and that’s a part of our legacy that I want to protect above all else – even on days when I am so frustrated that certain members of the group become broken records or don’t quite make sense, or can’t stay anywhere near on topic.
I’m grateful that I’m part of a group that gives them space.
As a part of the leadership, one of my goals is to ensure that all participants feel safe, and that is done by having all facilitators be patient, supportive, self-aware, nurturing, and able to reinforce the necessary boundaries.
The next step in that journey is to train our next crop of volunteer facilitators so that they, too, can support our members on this journey, with the respect, self-awareness, and empathy needed to keep all involved feeling safe.
We’re preparing for that now, and as one of two members of the group leading that training, I am anxious and excited to make it happen through demonstrating my own patience, restraint, and sharing what I have learned over my years in the group.
I look forward to this event, invigorated by the idea of new blood in our leadership, and by the part I will play in it.
I spent the beginning of January playing!
The first full week of January, a good friend of mine visited from Denmark – I’d missed out on seeing her in December because I was sick, but we made up for it with her staying with Al and I for the entirety of this visit!
She came with me to BiRequest on Monday night, then we rested up on Tuesday, and returned to the city for a wonderfully Wednesday of exploration before she caught her flight home on Thursday afternoon.
The following week was my birthday, which I started celebrating on Monday with a friend in the city before going to the BiRequest leadership committee meeting that evening.
On Tuesday, I had a lovely massage to close out my day.
For my birthday(Thursday), Al took me out for brunch before I took the train to the city, where I met up with another friend and wandered the MoMa together, followed by BiRequest – at which my birthday was widely announced by others and I received many well-wishes!
At dinner, another friend surprised me with cake, and another friend took me out afterward to treat me to some amazing cookies.
I crashed at another friend’s, who greeted me with a box of chocolates.
I was really feeling the love!
After resting up a little on Friday, I co-led the BiRequest Brooklyn meeting and learned that a participant there was my birthday twin, and had just turned 21.
When we went out for dinner post-meeting, most of us ended up indulging in a few drinks – I shared a bottle of amazing lychee sake with a friend, and our newly-21-year-old member got treated to a glass of wine.
It was a lovely night!
The rest of January has been spent joining the world of business-bloggers(as opposed to hobby-bloggers). I’d decided when I started this blog that I was eventually going to earn at least some income from it, but I had a hard time picturing how.
I am proud of myself for this step forward, and hopeful that I can keep those steps going, slowly developing my site into a business that may be able to support me enough that I can afford to seriously consider getting off of SSDI.
Over the summer, I participated in Building A Fluid Foundation from Chronic Entrepreneur Club and really got some amazing guidance into how to do so. I started to really develop a sales plan and process, but before I could carry through on it, my migraine hit, so all I really could do was keep writing new posts each week.
I decided that enough was enough in late December and vowed to myself that I would start my sales process in January – and I held true to that, with my early-bird sale starting January 23rd, and my sales closing yesterday, February 13th.
In fact, the reason I didn’t put this post up last week was to stick with my medical theme as my sale was for coaching support for people on managing their medical care by improving their communication with doctors(and deciding if they need to fire them)!
I am hoping to start supplementing my disability income with this blog, without ever compromising on sharing quality and useful information. The more I’ve thought about it, the less interested I am in affiliate marketing unless it’s in terms of sharing projects or products by members of our(disabled) community.
Looking forward, to my future, I am building myself towards a place of making a reliable income while helping members of our community – the disabled community.
Whether you’re chronically ill, managing a physical impairment, or neurodivergent, I want you to be in a better place in your life.
I don’t want you to hurt or hunt for support more than necessary.
For the moment, my goals are simply to get up to a reliable income just under the trial work level, so that I can have that income without risking my benefits.
I plan to keep reinvesting it in myself, one step at a time. I am going to make this happen.
I anticipate that in March, I’ll be writing a bit more about the US social welfare system since that’s the other coaching services I plan to offer – and my plan is to start turning this sale process into the next round of sales by then.
The other big thing I want to do is connect more with other service and product providers within our community(people with disabilities) and potentially do some cross-marketing.
I want to deeply connect with our community – create joint videos, conversations, or projects that help our audiences improve their quality of life.
It’s something that I’m starting to taste now, and am hungry for more!
If you have a project or idea or product or plan, please let me know, I’d love to chat about it!