Hey er’body— we are currently working on this new blog, but rather than waiting for it to be completed, I wanted to still post…just know we’re definitely not finished with it…
But how easy is this new address?!:
I have spent the past 5 days taking another road through Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and then down through Texas. The ultimate destination was to meet up with one of my greatest friends to ever live, Steph Simmons and her super fly daughter Emily Nasuta. Right from the get-go we got to work on an evolving project idea I have had for a while. It is because of the optimism and vision of Steph and Emily, among other friends like Tara Miller, that I have any confidence in this formative idea to date. And especially after this past week spent in Oklahoma, I now earnestly believe in this project with all of my heart.
So please brace yourselves……oh and warning: the first 5-6 paragraphs are in my opinion, considerably boring (albeit, grabby if you are new to my blog and want the dirt on my life haha)…but please don’t let the first section detract from you reading the rest of the post… just know the beginning was necessary to catch others up on my life’s rundown. The core of this particular post isn’t super entertaining either, but it’s imperative that I explain in detail what’s going on…because I need all of you!!! Once we’re through that, then we can really dive into the heart and soul (“Here Goes My Trial Run”) of what I have to announce (and no I am neither prego or engaged…I just chose the word “announce” to sound like a big deal)
…and yes I promise the end of this post is well worth your endurance…and hopefully this post will be the one and only super long and tedious (aka boring) post that has to cover all that fine print shizzle.
Let’s do this…
Quick Josie Bio: (the boring part)
Essentially because of the lot in life I have been dealt, I have endured a beyond challenging past few years. As stated before in my post All Should Read…with great difficulty, I articulated with an unjaded candor the raw truth pertaining to my past 4.5 years of life spent enduring a gruesome Depression. I was very direct in describing the different lengths we have gone to as a family, in hope of rendering me some kind of aid or relief. Though I have had my brief intermittent moments of relief scattered throughout the past 4.5 years, no directive has proven to be long lasting. Yet despite this discouraging toll that has produced an unrelenting force of adversity…one source of sound consolation has continually profited me more traction in the growing years. I have learned for myself that I am not alone. And maybe, just maybe, through all of this, I might help another down in the trenches.
I have acquired from on high, a great awareness of those suffering around me; which subsequently has galvanized my inner compassion one for another. Prior to this trial in my life, I was completely unaware of the truth behind the manifold number of just how many of God’s children suffer with the imprisonment of Depression or other mental illness. I suspect many of you would join me in bewilderment, if you were to fully comprehend and could conceive the number of sufferers. Though others’ cause of Depression often vary from mine, many of these prisoners held captive by the maladies of mental illness, still nonetheless, suffer from the same imprisoning plight. As for my personal experience, I have disclosed before, the projected cause behind my shackles of bondage to the disease–congenital/ genetic. Yet either way, situational or clinical, an unencumbered total of people suffer and are in need of hope and comfort…and preferably, from someone who understands.
Soooooooo…I have wanted to write something more than just a blog for a long time. I have wanted to write a composite of some sort, where I can address freely and more in depth, my struggles and bouts plaguing my life…but with humor. And hopefully in return, offer succor to another. But when carefully investigating different options to accomplish this, the outcome almost always prevails as a dead end. I often don’t have enough good days, and more specifically, good enough moments to ever hope to produce anything more elaborate than that of a simple blog post. And conducive with this same desire, I have also harbored a persistent itch to travel outside of Arizona and along the way, commence with my writing. I figure with new ground, I’d encounter new expansion. But most captivating of all, is to accomplish through this writing/traveling combination, the substantiated ability to help others.
Most know I love to get in my car and drive. But what most do not know is just how difficult a “simple” and seemingly “frivolous” road trip is for yours truly. To be absolutely confined to a car when it is freezing, dark, and lonely…plus to be 1,000+ miles from home, can become very challenging. And then if you are to factor in the monotony of my daily bouts with the “Big D” (Depression) as well as the highs and lows from the Bi-Polar…and then to compound that with the exceptionally dark episodes that occur sporadically…all while out of reach from my loved ones…as you can imagine, it proves to be quite difficult. So why then even do it? I certainly don’t make money…in fact as you can imagine, such ventures require a lump sum of money. Yet it is the overall joy I receive from such an endeavor, plus the inner determination to engage in such challenging adventures that override any temporal hindrance. The reality is, when I am outside and AWAY…no matter what I am doing…even if it is just lying in bed all day in some random state…I am still accomplishing something soooo huge for myself. Now unless you have a more enlightened grasp of my dealings with Depression, then this brief analysis will most likely yield no real source of explanation. But for those who have been apprised with further invasive insight into my life, specific to my past 4.5 years, you most likely not only understand these adventures, but rather endorse them fully. Remember…every day spent away from the confines of my room, equals personal victory.
Soooo…as I have given great thought and mental inventory of what I could do next in my life, I have had to rise above the obstruction of such a hermetical list of options that seem to be available to everyone else but me. I am currently unable to enroll in school, a normal job and many other of life’s venues; however for a while now, I have adopted into my life, the refurbished element of progressive (and optimistic) thinking. I have opted to cater to my debilitating circumstances, however not surrender to them…and yes there is a finite difference. So therein begs the protruding question, how can I incorporate this innovative attitude into the next chapter of my life? Furthermore, how can I include traveling and writing (two very therapeutic combatants to Depression), as well as proceed to foster my inherent desire (and believed to be pre-mortal appointment) to help others? The answer to that is what Steph, Emily and I have been working on for the past week.
I hope that the above, more poised illustration of my current standing, helped to inform and not bore to death…it certainly was no party to write, and re-reading it was not that much better. Yet if you read my blog regularly, you know that I strive to swing both hammers-one of grammatical and linguistic proficiency, as well as the more recreational hammer of a rawer, real deal, lay-it-down creatively, type of writing. So let’s cross into the other (more fun and spunky) threshold for a second…To be frank, Steph, Em and I have orchestrated something harnessing some serious potential…if YOU believe in it too.
The 444 Project:
We have designed a blueprint of a project we have been inspired to formulate. By default, because of the vile burdens of mental illness that I have been elected to bear here in this life, negativity seems to find me just fine. So my mission is to retaliate by evicting my comfort zone and instead, go out into the world and find for myself, the positive that I KNOW is out there. I am discouraged at how corroded the world has appeared to become in its entirety. Yes I know for a fact there is insidious and heinous warfare occurring all around us. I am well aware that there is an ever pressing epidemic of moral decay in our society- I am not naive to this, nor am I naive to the existing danger in our world. HOWEVER, what I also know to be true and believe with all of the fibers of my heart…is there is also a bounty of goodness out in the world. The catch?…We just have to have the eyes to see it…after all everyone to some extent, has the light of Christ. But all too often we are distracted by one’s disheveled appearance, or our differing religious beliefs one from another or unsavory habits, to employ the true Christlike attitude; that same attitude that compels us to look beyond what lies in front of us superficially, and instead discover and cherish another’s innate goodness.
Steph, Emily, and I have outlined a tentative adventure, wherein I will journey into the world and prove my hypothesis to be true. My summarized claim being that the ubiquity of thriving goodness is alive and well. I intend to prove that universal goodness is more than just theoretical, but rather factual. We have collaborated and plan for me to travel throughout the Southern United States, by car, alone (and yes I will take the proper safety precautions to protect myself throughout this journey), interviewing perfect strangers along the way. Crazy? Yeah, we think so too. My objective is to obtain 444 different reasons why others get out of bed each morning. My reason for this particular angle being, I know that I am not alone in wrestling continuously, the demonic impulse to give up and surrender myself by staying in bed each day. I know firsthand how taxing it is to face the nonconsensual force of negativity that little by little, begins to manipulate you into believing the corrupt distortion that all that remains on earth, is of negative origin. So on this journey I aspire to not only illustrate others’ (strangers) positive attributes, but also assemble a list (compiled of 444 claims) for those back home, struggling in similitude of myself, a verbose, tangible record of the prevailing goodness that exists here on earth…general as well as individual blessings that motivate and inspire others to get up each morning. And just maybe my struggling friends back home might also be fortified by my efforts to reckon with my own antagonism…as I openly report on daily challenges and battles, victories and defeat(s). I sure hope to spread joy and establish hope in the lives of others back home…and perhaps those who I find to interview, might benefit as well from such a project. I intend to invite as many strangers as possible whom I meet along the way, to join the journey with me through the blog. And please note that I want people of every background, race, religion, affiliation, etc., to join in on this journey.
…and Why 444? Because as many of you know, my beloved and treasured scripture was taught to me by my biggest exemplar and inspiration, my Great Aunt Joyce Nevitt…this scripture is found in the Book of Mormon; Alma 44:4 “Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.”—…and as previously given in some of my priors accounts, the series of numbers 444 are very sacred to me.
Now that we have covered the “why” behind this project…what is the basic breakdown of my game plan? Well to recap, along the way I intend on approaching random strangers throughout any province of the public. If they agree to talk to me, I plan on asking them for a summary of what it is in this life, outside of obligatory proceedings, that get them up each morning. And for those participants willing to contribute more of their time, I intend on interviewing them a little more thoroughly. In my ideal interview, I would ask the participant 1 trivial (totally silly) question (i.e. how many pull-ups can you do?), 1 retrospective question (i.e. what is one of the greatest lessons you have ever acquired in this life?) and then of course the final question that I will conclude all interviews with…what gets you out of bed each day? All while traveling abroad. And as before mentioned…because of my obsessive compulsive tendencies, it can be very difficult to stray from my meticulous and at times, debilitating regiments. Yet throughout the course of this project, I am determined to do whatever it takes to stay out there on the road, until I complete my goal of 444 reasons others get out of bed each morning. One element of sacrifice that will be required on my behalf is living out of my car throughout the duration of this project. This arrangement will entail sleeping in a different parking lot each night, and getting ready in the morning at a different public restroom each day…joy to the world. I do plan to hopefully find someone to stay with at least every few days in order to shower and do laundry. I intend on acquiring these different residential places to stay by networking on couchsurfing.org (where I will find strangers hosting in the area) or from YOUR recommendations of various connections you may have throughout the South.
I plan to post as often as circumstances will allow, (hopefully far more frequently than how oft I currently post) and in turn, hopefully acquire an active and involved audience via the blog. I hope that you will follow this journey closely, and adopt it as your own. I CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT ALL Y’ALL! I plan on capturing many of my interviews and endeavors on video and I hope to take ample pictures of my experiences (both good and bad) while I couple them, with my written report each day. Ideally, I will not return home until…I have successfully retrieved from perfect strangers, 444 different reasons to get out of bed each morning.
The long term goal is to utilize this experience as a corridor to writing the book I have secretly desired to write for so long. A candid and raw, yet humorous take on the different experiences I have had as a faithful LDS young adult girl, anxious to progress in life just the same as all those around her (schooling, career, marriage, children etc.). Yet much to my dismay, am ensnared by the captive bond of life’s circumstances as I am severely tried and have withheld from me, many of the more conventional blessings of life —I plan to share freely, my real-life accounts from my personal experiences procured by my determination to overcome my hardships. I intend to record candidly, both my successful as well as unsuccessful experiences had along the way (in life, as well as this particular journey). Another potential unique angle of my platform being…rather than postponing my writing until I have officially and irrefutably declared victory, I will instead tell the tale as it happens…Therefore those who choose to be my audience, will take the concurrent journey alongside with me as I strive to conquer my adversity and denounce opposition…and hopefully…I will succeed.
So here is what I need from YOU:
**my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Please send (via email, text or leave as a comment) me ideas for more questions to ask my interviewees…(questions that will be asked in addition to the final question, “What is it that gets you out of bed each day?”…I need both silly and creative questions…like asking an old lady, “How many boys she’s kissed in a lifetime?”… As well as more thought provoking questions pertaining to life lessons or whatever like, “If you could offer one bit of advice to every young person, what would it be?” And while recording the interview, when I ask the participant a question that comes from one of you, (unless requested otherwise) I will cite you in the interview, as the source who created the question (so for example I would say something to the effect of: “My cousin Summer from Arizona, would like to know…”)
-I need you all to help me acquire places to stay throughout the South. (Specific itinerary is yet to be determined…but thus far I’m talkin’ Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, etc.)…as far as when I am leaving, I’m thinking I will depart once we can acquire enough support from you guys! So hopefully within a few months??! It all depends on how much and how quickly we can gain enough support!
-Steph and I are also working on creating a collage of different pictures we capture of eclectic 444’s. I’d love if you would email or text me different pictures with various 444’s you come across throughout your daily routine. (i.e. numbers on grocery receipts, various tickets, billboards, clocks, any and all credit card and social security numbers…HAHAHAHA just kidding about that last part)
-Tell a friend. Because we all know friends don’t let friends not read josiethompson.com
-The other little ditty to lay out, is the super cool (totally non-tacky haha) invitation to hit up the ol’ tip jar…if you are interested in helping out financially. Basically I have been instructed to register for a PayPal account and on the right side of my new blog, post for you folks, an electronic and very simple and quick way to donate to the coolest project everrrr. haaaaa…please don’t judge me…gawwwww
….AND FOR THOSE WHO DONATE… (any amount)… I invite you to add an item you would like to see on my “to do list” but really…more like my “dare list”…I have decided to keep a running list of to do’s, that will appear somewhere on the blog. So essentially if you contribute to this cause, then I would encourage you to (via email or whatever) add a task to my to do list you would like to see me accomplish while on the journey…this may sound boring, but I promise I will make it worth your while. I am encouraging you to request silly things… (and again I’d love to cite you for the to do/dare that you propose that I execute)…and solemnly commit now, that I will labor to the best of my abilities, and knock out all of the “to-do’s” or “dares” thrown my way. I would just ask that they fall within the criteria of A. possible B. legal C. moral D. non time consuming…
So for example… some rad dares might be…ask a stranger to drink out of their glass at a restaurant or have a cop give me a piggy back ride…those types of things…totally normal everyday occurrences haha. It may not sound that cool, but let’s remember I am 24 and not 14…I will be all alone and not at a slumber party with an army of 15 other girls to laugh it off with…people are going to think I am a total NUT…and I will capture it all on camera.
…as a side project, (if you want) email me your testimonies or other religious beliefs/gems that will promote goodness in another’s life…all you have to do is write it and get it to me (or I can even pick it up), and I will do all of the typing (if necessary), copying and laminating.
So summary of the 444 Project:
-Travel into the Deep South and while living in my car and getting by on as few rations as possible (in order to survive economically) I will in the process, interview perfect strangers all along the way. I hope to extract from all strangers alike, an accumulative 444 different reasons why people from all over the world, get out of bed each day…and in addition to that for added measure, asking strangers other fun or thought provoking questions.
-Report on the blog at the end of every day of my experiences, successful or unsuccessful. You know I’ll be straight with all y’all. Some interviews (the interviews where the participants agree to sit down with me) will be taped. And I’ll most likely post only the ones worth watching unless requested otherwise.
-Along the way, conquer a “To-Do List” composed by YOU GUYS!
Here goes my Trial Run!!
(here is your reward for bearing through all of that…)
This past week on the way back from Owasso Oklahoma, I decided to conduct an experiment by creating a reflective model of what will similarly transpire along the journey of The 444 project. In a very short amount of time…much was learned. First lesson learned right off the bat…I am going to have to get used to rejection. You guys…it was brutal. Many are not willing to shoot the breeze with this home-girl. And that constant rejection does not bode well with my already severely crappy, level of low self-esteem. However…this will prove to be another challenge if endured, that can strengthen me. In time, I believe this constant rejection has the potential to inoculate me to the constant slavery of worrying about what others think of me…it’ll be like my experience with high school dances all over again hahahha, just kidding.
Along my trial-run, I asked to interview approximately 6 people and out of 6, 4 declined. However with the two willing participants, I video recorded our correspondence (see videos “Meet Larry” and “Meet Walt-”). Again this was all just a trial run, and I learned very quickly what modifications I need to make in order for this journey to work (i.e. I will work on getting a tripod for the camera, apparently I have Parkinson’s Disease). I will not bother posting both interviews in their entirety, but hopefully what I do post will depict a sample of what I am trying to accomplish. Also along the way, I made several recordings of my trip—for example I recorded the snow storm I encountered in New Mexico. And on another occasion, ran the camera just seconds after waking up to capture EXACTLY what I saw, from the parking lot I chose to sleep in that night. Many of these videos are silly and maybe to some, pointless. However I anticipate the greater good will appreciate them for being totally ridiculous but REAL. Nothing gets edited (unless shortened for time’s sake) or recaptured.
As for my climatic conclusion to this post…I have quite the treat. My homegirl Emily who is helping me tremendously to make this all possible, has offered to become my first contributor.
Anyhow…per Emily’s request after contributing, she proposed (dared me) that I ask a perfect stranger (and in this case, one of my interviewees) to cut my hair. The same hair I have been growing out since high school. The same hair that I was to have hang lusciously and “unobstructed by a pony tail” on my wedding day…(yet the discouraging reality to that tale is… that ship has sailed…and sunk faster than the Titanic…ha). And most important, the same hair my mom has pleaded with me to preserve. My mom has asked very few things of me in my life. 1. Be on time to her funeral 2. Don’t be the cause of her funeral 3. One day get married…to a man 4. Live the commandments 5. Don’t cut my hair
I’m afraid she asked too much of me…
Therefore… in an ill-lit McDonald’s parking lot in Payson, AZ, at 4 am… following my first ever 444 Project interview (Walt the truck driver), I then asked Walt to chop off my hair… with something like an old pair of rusty scissors and/or an old pocket knife. Bye 14 inches of hair. Hello p.i.z.z.e.d mother.
(aka birth of #haironthechair- Soon to be Instagram Legend. #haironthechair being a far cooler take on “Elf on the Shelf” …(for further information regarding #haironthechair, see my instagram, username: hijosiethompson, hashtag #haironthechair)
(and no I don’t have a stitch of make up and am well aware of how totally disgusting I look…so you should all commend my bravery ha)
Trying to fix it…thank you Krista and Marci
Meet Steph and Em…and Bosworth
my first 2 interviews…Larry (Conrad, Texas) and Walt (Payson, Arizona)
the Casino I slept at along the I-40…
the snow storm in New Mexico…