Today's message is one that is close to my heart, and I am hoping that by the end of it, you will be moved to support me in a way you could not before now. In a way that will make an incredible difference in my life, no matter how small your contribution may be.
But first, let me thank you. For following my blogs and Facebook updates, joining my pages, reading my notes, books, and column, listening to my radio show, watching Sexpot Studio, taking my classes, and for taking the time to share your thoughts, personal stories and words of encouragement, love and support.
Over the years I have received hundreds of heartfelt messages from people around the world who have been inspired by the things I write and the way I live my life. Many of your words have brought me to tears and kept me going when I felt like giving up, and your loyalty has astounded me time and again.
Without your feedback I doubt I'd have been able to create such an incredible body of work. I would have either given up long before now, doubted my ability to make a difference, or wondered why I was even bothering to share my heart and soul the way I do.
But you have received me so beautifully. You have validated my efforts and proved to me that a life based on principles is one worth living. You have shown me that authenticity is a universal craving, that being real changes more lives than pretending to be someone you're not, and that it's okay to be human.
Many of you have been there through my highs and lows, both celebrating and crying along with me. Pivitol moments included my mom's death from cancer, my cat Tom's passing, my dealings with haters and a few depressions in between. Highlights included my projects (The Poet & The Butterfly, GODS & DIVAS, Mandyland in Echo Weekly, Mandyland Radio & Sexpot Studio) and my daughter's entry into the world of photography. All of these things I shared with you and you were there to offer so much feedback, love and encouragement. You have been so supportive over the years that I consider you, and all my cyber friends, an extension of my family, because I know you care and I know I am not alone no matter how alone I may feel sometimes.
So thank you, thank you, thank you.
MY CHOSEN LIFESTYLE
Second, before I make my request, I'd like to give you an overview of Mandyland. Many of my followers will already know these things (as it is probably found in many posts on various blogs), but for those who do not, I will explain. I live my life off the grid, in the sense that I do not work in a conventional manner and do not get paid the way that most people do. This is my choice, because it allows me to do what I most love to do: live naturally, reflect, explore the inner realm, and report back to the world through notes, blogs, updates and videos.
As is stands, society is not set up to financially compensate people like me for the gifts we offer. I get paid to fold shirts but not to change lives (except through my classes-more on that in a minute), and so for someone like me, whose contribution to this world are ideas, reflections, insights and wisdom, it is not very easy to make a living. My options are:
1. To work a 'regular' job that would take away the time and energy (and passion!) I need in order to create and produce work that actually makes a difference in this world.
2. Do the work I am destined to do (writing and sharing) instead of working like most people do, and be broke, because who pays to read insightful posts, updates and notes?
3. Find a way to eat, pay the bills AND do what I love.
In an attempt to avoid merging with society more than necessary, I have opted for #3. I have, over the years, done what I can to not have to end up in a 9-5 that would undoubtedly kill the spirit that I am most known for. Time and time and time again I have gone broke for the sake of having the time freedom to do the work I know I was born to do. I have declined many offers offer the years that would have paid more bills, but at a cost to me. Either it would have made me miserable, gone against my core values and principles, or it just didn't feel right, which was enough to make me say no.
What I ended up with was a relatively empty bank account but a fulfilled spirit because my work drove me to heights that money could never buy. I am an idealist, to be sure, which may or may not be my curse, but I always believed that all my hard work would pay off; that I would one day reap the benefits of staying true to myself despite societal pressure to do the opposite. I was more concerned about doing what was right than what was guaranteed. Hence, a bohemian with no savings but a wealth of life that most people can't claim. Everything I do, I love, even working at Mark's Work Wearhouse. But would I work there if I had all the money I need? No. I'd stay at home and write. It just happens to be the perfect fit in the meantime: flexible, great staff, great environment, and doing an activity that I actually enjoy: making things look fabulous! I also have 2 great bosses that respect and honour me and my other work, so if I am caught up on a creative project I am free to switch the days and times I come in. I am very blessed that way.
WHAT I LIVE ON
This wealth of life and fullness of spirit gives the impression that I am financially wealthy, or so I'm told. People who meet me, read my work, see me in the videos or in my modeling pictures, automatically assume I have money. They also assume by all the work that I do, that I must be getting paid well for it. Well, y'all are wrong, and the tax man and my book keeper can vouch for it.
Here is my monthly income:
$40 per week from Echo (I get paid per piece).
$82 per week at Mark's (8hrs at minimum wage).
$25 per week from each Mandyland Radio sponsor (currently I have 2)
That is the income I can count on. That is what I live on. And the monthly Child Tax Credit is always my saving grace. I am not sure how much you live on, but I wonder if anyone could live off what I do and actually still remain happy to work, inspired to write, and generous enough to give away $100 to a good cause without even thinking twice. That's what I did recently, despite the fact that it is like 75% of what I make in a week.
You might think, holy shit woman! What the hell!? How can you live off that? Or, Why don't you work more hours at Mark's? Why don't you charge more for your sponsorships? I'll tell you why. Because I was working 12 hrs at Mark's for a time and it was overwhelming. Not the work; but the crunch of 3 days going into work (4 hr shifts) when I had so much else to do creatively. So I cut back to 2 shifts per week to keep the balance in my life. As for the radio show, I support local and independent businesses, so why the hell would I want to take more from them? They need all the support, promotion and money they can get, and I am happy to provide that service.
I view both my Mandyland column and Mandyland Radio as my contribution to society. I do it because there needs to be a spot where courageous independents are showcased and applauded for breaking out on their own. I do it because it's the right thing to do. I have the voice and the forum to help them get known, so I use it. Is it my passion? No. Navigating the inner world is. Connecting deeply with others is. That's where Sexpot Studio, GODS & DIVAS, and my various blogs and notes come in.
But these are not the things I typically get paid for. Yes, of course people pay for my classes, but if you saw the paperwork you would see that I offered more of them for free or reduced prices than I ever accepted full payment for. You would see that 3-6 months can go by without a paying class, and you would see that apart from the time I couldn't pay my rent or buy groceries last year, I actually didn't care that I wasn't making more money. If I had enough to live, I was content and my desire to help others was paramount. I just wanted to be free to write, to connect deeply, and to not have to work in a job that I hate, spending hours upon hours away from the work that I was born to do.
Now I know there are many artists who can do their craft outside of a regular job, but that has never been me. I chose to go into credit card debt to finance both my books, to make ends meet during the months I didn't teach, just so that I wouldn't have to go and work in the world like everyone else. Because I knew that if I did, I would be reduced to something I could not bear.
I would rather die than live like the masses. I would rather financial debt than poverty in my soul. I would rather write this note than do anything else right now, and so, this is why I make the choices that I do.
BEING BROKE ISN'T COOL
I do not think that being broke or poor or in debt is admirable. I do not believe in the starving artist mentality either. I think abundance is our birthright, on all levels, and I know I am destined for an incresingly abundant income. I just haven't gotten there yet. Primarily because it's not a product that I sell (apart from my books-which I often give away for free), it's me.
The product is Mandy's life and inner world on record for all to see and explore. How the hell would I market something like that? Exactly. Yet it is the thing I am the greatest at. It is my gift. It is what affects others the most: my videos and my writings and my presence and my ability to live life with a zest that is rare in our world.
I infuse the cyber and real world with something intangible, yet powerful, meaningful and potent. Yet I do not have a company or a network or an investor or even a partner in life backing me as I do what I do. What I have is Mandyland; a sacred place where I merge with the world in the best way I know how: through words. No one pays to be part of Mandyland because it is free for the world to see. And I certainly have no intentions of changing that because I must do what I do. It is encoded within me. I must share. If I did not write or speak about the things that matter, I would self-combust. And so I write, and I write, and I write.
And you may think: Why not write more books and sell those? Because as you will know if you read my money blog, my goal is to pay off my debt now, not to increase it. Because it costs money to produce them, and as you can see above, I don't have that luxury. I am hoping this post will change that reality.
So here is my request, and know that it is an open and sincere one, and not an expectation at all. If you have the means and the desire to donate any amount as a 'thank you' or a 'way to go, keep going girl', I have now included a PayPal option on each of my blogs. Even $1 makes a difference because I know I have thousands of followers who have been changed by my work. I know that many of my notes have inspired beautiful tears, much needed laughter, inner knowing, positive change and increased self-love and self-understanding. And so, for all that I have provided, I ask that you consider sharing what you can to enable me to keep going while living the lifestyle that supports me in giving my best to my readers and to the world.
You do not need a credit card to use PayPal. You can get it set up with your regular bank account. That's what I have done. You can make a one-time payment or pay each time my work hits home and makes a difference. Or, you can continue to support me through words of encouragement. I do not expect everyone to be into this idea, and I am taking a chance with it anyways.
I want to be clear that this is not a desperate plea and I am not asking for a handout. I am clearly able to eat from what I make through my paid work. What I am wanting is to find a way to get paid for my 'real' work, which I know has an incredible impact on many of you. I have given so freely for so many years and it would be a dream of mine to be financially applauded for my courageous offerings. I am proud of my collection of writings. I am proud of the difference I make in this world. And I am proud of the way I choose to live my life. It may not be conventional, but it works, and if you value what I do, then please consider a contribution.
Once more, only do what feels right to you. There is no pressure. Just an opportunity for you to share a resource (money) if you so choose, in exchange for the impact that I have had on your life.
Thank you for reading my request. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.