I wrote "My Miracle Child" because a blogger I follow, DJ Paris of "Thoughts from Paris," asked for stories about mental health. He was planning to post every hour for 24 hours as a fundraiser for BandBackTogether.com. When he first asked for submissions, I thought, "Oh, I'm not good enough to submit anything for that." But a few weeks later, when I saw that he was still looking for a few more submissions, I thought, "Well, hell, my blog is supposed to be about being vulnerable and taking risks, I have to suck it up and submit something."
I watched his BlogAThon all day, hoping he would post my story. He posted a video log saying that he would post all 29 submissions he received. Alas, he didn't post my story. I didn't even receive a reply thanking me for submitting something. (Maybe that's too much to ask of an individual person, but I'm the kind of girl who appreciates getting auto-reply messages, just to know my email didn't get lost in the "series of tubes" that is the Internet.)
I'll admit it, I started feeling sorry for myself, throwing a little pity party in my head. I felt like an ass for even sending it, let alone expecting him to post it. I kept thinking, "Maybe he just couldn't fit it in for some reason," or "Maybe he somehow didn't see the email." You know, instead of "He thinks you suck!"
Luckily, my friend Miss Bookish Girl sent me a link to the video for "Brave," the new single by Sara Bareilles. It's all about speaking up for yourself, saying what you really think, and letting your creativity shine.
I suddenly had the impulse to tweet a bunch of people I follow on Twitter. I sent a link to my blog post to about 10 people, including Anne Wheaton, who's married to Wil Wheaton (an actor famous for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Stand By Me," among many other projects). She has over 50,000 Twitter followers and is witty, inspiring, and wickedly funny. She retweeted the link to my blog and replied to my tweet. I thanked her, and she replied to that too. It was like the movie "Frequency," I felt like I was communicating with someone from the future or another dimension or something. I feel silly admitting this, but I'm totally starstruck by her.
Anyway, I watched the page views for "My Miracle Child" literally go from 7 to over 200. There have now been over 1,200 page views, and since I imagine most people don't look at it over and over, I assume that means close to 1,200 people at least skimmed if not read that blog post.
Not everyone might think it brave to tweet a celebrity, but I felt incredibly vulnerable sending my writing to these people whom I admire, at the very least opening myself up to be ignored, at the worst, possibly being ridiculed by these people or their followers. Instead, complete strangers thanked me and shared how they've gotten help for their depression or anxiety.
I'm starting to pester everyone I know to write and publish, because I believe that each of us has wisdom and experience to share. Please put in the comments, how are you going to be brave today? this week? this year?