Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Change: You care, you don’t care - it is your choice. Plus five reasons to request a postcard.

In the last day I have gotten over 80 spam messages on the blog messages which I have had to delete. Whew! By the way Mr. Spam, no I am not going to invest in porn during this credit crunch (Strange that it seems only in America could PORN be the answer to everyone’s problems. I am sure this is not a nation of 16 year old boys, is it?).

Unlike spam, I have made a simple offer for over a year now: email me, and I will send you a postcard, and keep sending you a postcard as long as I live....for free. No, there is no secret weight loss tip, no 17 days to abs of titanium, I am not a princess or a inheritor of a foreign country that needs to move millions. But unlike all of the former, I live a rather public life in the blog Screw Bronze. And I deliver.

This is a limited time offer, because it is only as long as I live and I will die, and probably sooner than later. A year would be later. I would love to be here in a year reading the 'new spam'. And so, because I AM dying, in one of the more messy, gruesome ways people think, ‘Oh no, I can’t make this poor person’s life harder.’ Excuse me, but (BLEEP) you!!! What I do, and why I do it is my choice; I assure you, as long as the post office delivers, you will get a postcard – all you have to do is ask. Or if you ask, then a person you care about will get a postcard: just ASK. Stopping me? Not without a shovel, shackles, two bags of concrete, iron grating and a crane. Accept it, you care, I get that but you ARE NOT going to stop me, why not allow me the dignity to use the life I have in the way I wish. That is MY choice. Asking: that is YOUR choice.

Five Reasons to get a postcard.

1) You are sick and (BLEEPING) tired of having bills or bad news come in your mailbox

2) You would like something interesting to put up at the office, by your computer, at university, on a corkboard anywhere!

3) You are (choose one or more): bored, sad, tired, lonely, AWAY FROM HOME, at home too much, or searching for something different.

4) You are shy or you for any reason want to connect to someone, you want to have someone connect with you.

5) You are a caregiver, you know someone who is ill, who is unemployed, who has it hard, who is depressed, who is chronically ill: you and or they could use a little boost now and then.
There, done: I could have done 20 if you wanted but lets start with five.

As you can see there are quite the variety of postcards, from those who are for guys, dudes who like mecha to those who are for guys or girls who like guys who crush on guys (Luv svweet Luv!). Or as one famous anime line goes, “No girl who reads manga hates yaoi! (boys who are fond of boys).” Or maybe you like girls, a lot of guys like to see girls (odd that), a lot of GIRLS like to see girls with girls. Doesn’t matter to me, I am the confessor, you can tell me what you want (generally) and I will try to find it and send you a postcard, and the postcard will be tricked out in the back with things to amuse you, to make you laugh, to make five minutes of your life better.

All of this is for free – well not totally free, because you have to choose. Pretend: Your name is Alex. Do you CARE enough about Alex to have a surprise postcard show up that will make you happy, to give you five better minutes of life? A lot of people don’t. For yes, you only need to email me at mpshiel@hotmail.com with Postcard, or Postcard Project as the title and your name, address and some of your interests and I will respond to that email. For no, just stare and the screen and then scratch yourself.

I did over 60 postcards this week, with the support of my sister primarily. It takes me a LONG time to do it because I have neuropathy, she has neuropathy, but she wants to help me, and I willingly and thankfully take that help. Postcards leave me tired but happy. WHY?

When I left high school, I had NO FRIENDS. I had my first university diploma sent to me in the post because the ceremony with no one to see hurt too much. I was SHY and awkward and though I was in classes, I was alone amoung a crowd of people. I made this project to let you know one thing: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Do you understand? If you want to know someone, if you want to send postcards back and forth, I do that, if you want someone to learn and care about you for hours while making you postcards, I do THAT. If you want to share postcard and then exchange small gifts like cocoa or books we like, I DO THAT. But you HAVE TO CHOOSE. If you do nothing, and thousands have done nothing, then your life is EXACTLY the same. Yeah.

I have someone who wrote to me for a postcard who is visiting soon, I have a sibling because in part of the postcard project, I know and love people all over the world who became friends through the postcard project. Yes, I tried Post Crossing and having someone random send me a postcard with no chance of return, no connection……it sucked. I have a return address on every postcard and I have an email which I respond sometimes within minutes. If you send me a postcard or a letter, I WILL send you a return postcard that weekend. BUT...it is your choice.
You know, or you should know (look around!), some people, some friends, some family who could benefit from getting some nice mail, something good happening to them, for no reason other than that good things DO happen. THIS (a random postcard just for them) is that good thing.

When a person gets cancer, people stop talking to them, when they get chronically ill people say not just stupid but stupid to the point of cruel things like “I’ll talk to you once you get better.” Or “I’ll think of you.” Oh great, while vomiting from Chemo they can know that while you carve up a hill of fresh snow on your snowboard you are THINKING of them. No, mostly what people are saying is, “I am scared of things I don’t know and you scare me, death and sickness scare me.” You know what, THAT is a choice. Say something stupid or DO something.

And that is what the postcard project is about: Choice. You have around you people for who you should care. You should care about yourself! In my life four different time I was so desperate, in so much in pain from depression and loneliness that I reached out, called, or emailed to people who had said, “I will be there for you, no matter what.” Know what? Not a single person came through. I did however get on an 18 month waiting list to see someone about my imminent suicidal thoughts and acts (welcome to socialized medicine).

I am not saying that I will be there for you in every way. I can't. Why? Because I am really sick, like dying sick. But I will tell you this: for over 80 weekends I have NEVER had a weekend I did not send out both postcards and small gifts. NEVER. When I bled, sometimes on the postcards, when I could barely see, with high fevers, I KEPT my word. Three thousand and seven hundred plus postcards. Yeah, 3,700 postcards: 60 postcards this week, 40 last week, 36 the week before, there was a 91 postcard weekend recently. Look down at the comments and see if there is ONE person who says, “You lied, you scammer.” Have postcards gone missing? Yes. I ask people if they haven’t gotten one in a week or two to email me and let me know. And a few people have and I sent another (a washi paper postcard bought in Japan), and I keep sending them until one gets through. I send to almost every country in the world and I will send to you. If you make that choice, you will get a postcard, and if I live long enough, a couple, a bunch of postcards. But you have to choose.

Since I have been ill I have not had a lot of visitors, in fact, not one ‘friend’ or sports competitor or companion, no cousins, no aunts, no uncles, nada. This is pretty much par for the course. It sucks, okay. Pain and alone. Now, you KNOW someone who is alone and home like me, or you should know about someone (ask!). You know your friend is going through a stressful time, the one who needs a laugh? Or you know a co-worker who thinks no one likes them? Oh how about that TOTAL JERK who has not a single friend. I will send them a postcard. So tell them that you care, care enough to try, oh and you asked a woman who is literally sitting and waiting to care about them to send them some cool mail. Oh, yeah, I got lots of university degrees and I could write another book, but I would rather do this, sit here and wait for the most important thing a human being can do: Make a choice.
To care or to not care, even about yourself IS A CHOICE. This project is a chance to make a choice. After that, you can go back to not giving a damn about yourself or anything else (if that is your desire). You can decide that you do care about yourself (recommend this instead!). You can do whatever you want, but you need to make a choice. No choice IS a choice.

In the last 80 weeks I have had a dozen people who have said or written that if I needed something, if I was in trouble to let them know. Eight of those people got bored and drifted away. Twice I reached out, one in total darkness and desperation to say, “an email, a letter, I don’t know what to do, but I can’t TAKE IT anymore, the pain is so bad, please, please, just anything to show that I am not alone.” That person NEVER wrote back, never emailed me again. They got my emails after that, another confirmed, yup. They accepted a posted gift. But when it came to keeping their word they made a choice. The other time when I was hurting, a DIFFERENT person made a choice, and the choice was ME, to care about me.

So 1 out of 12 isn't great odds and they might be hard to find but those people are out there. And I am one of them. My only proof of that is my blog, my comments, and the assurance of this: I can’t cure your depression, I can’t be there for you all the time, but I CAN care for a couple or more hours to find something, to send something in the post that will make you know that you are loved.

Some people don’t want that, and that is cool too. I am here for everyone, all you need to do is ask. Are you like me, reading National Geographic and dreaming of far away places? Then ask for a postcard of somewhere far away! Or do you want to make your workspace more exciting?
How about having something really cool come for your kid? What kid doesn't like post? Or do you want to make your nosy post-person who delivers your mail offended by some hot male/male action or something weird and wild? Then email me and I deliver. Do you want some goth, I LOVE goth, I do goth and darkness and coffins and cemeteries better than anyone. Do you WANT a postcard of a cemetery? Then email me.

It is a choice. Be kind to yourself and buy a dream, for the cost of an email. Send it and something wonderful will come.
That’s my job. Helping people choose, and then learning to find what the person wants from love to wild and crazy, once they ask for it. It is a pretty good job. I meet a lot of great people. I don’t care if you are in prison or a health facility, I don’t care if you are dean of a university or a member of a government, I don’t care if you want hot girls or you want pictures of outer space. Like I said, I meet a lot of great people.