Thoughts After I Put Up a Flare / by Melanie Ida Chopko

Since "putting up a flare" for support one day ago and asking my community to buy my prints, I've gotten so many incredible gifts - kind words from friends, print orders from people that knew me as a teenager, orders from people I've played fiddle/blues/Brasilian music with in the middle of the night, offers for loans and shared stories of when money was uncertain and friendship saved the day. And it is a gift to remember that in all my 8 years/96 months of working for myself in various capacities, I can only count a very few other times when I was between a money rock and a hard place.

Most of all I'm grateful for people like Marguerite Chandler and Jeremy Blanchard and Shilpa Jain who taught me when what is in front of me seems just too impossible to survive, I can reach out to those around me. I've been particularly influenced this year by the work of Brené Brown, and her treatise that the extent to which I am willing to be vulnerable is the extent to which I can experience connection and joy. Somehow the most beautiful gift is hearing from people I care about that in sharing my own story, they are inspired to invite and accept support to bring a bit more ease into their own lives.

If you haven't yet gotten a print, I would still love to send you one!