I watched a TED talk by Amanda Palmer last week, it was doing the rounds on facebook in one of those articles that is guaranteed to put me off! Enough people I respect commented or shared it for my interest to be peaked and I’m really glad I watched it. I would highly recommend the 14 minutes of your life it takes to watch it.
Essentially it is a story of trust, reciprocity, connection and vulnerability – dressed up in a fantastic narrative about the music industry, crowd-surfing, couch-surfing and her hugely successful attempts to crowdfund her work.
I’ve been musing on this video ever since. There was so much of it that spoke to me, what she said about trust and asking for help, about connectivity between people, about systems and hierarchies, and vulnerability and change. I don’t want to spoil it, I’d highly recommend it. Then I read the comments below and what I was faced with were people commenting on her eyebrows. Seriously, not her talk or what it was about, or the implication, but her appearance.
This scares me. Amanda is beautiful, intelligent, articulate, famous and they’re focusing on her eyebrows! In a month’s time I am shaving my head, I know it’s pretty much all I’m talking about these days, but now it’s definitely going to happen, it’s an omnipresent thought. A week today is my birthday, I really don’t want anything for myself. No presents, no nik naks, no cakes, no cards, not even a postcard. Since Dad died and I quit my job I’ve been trying to declutter and downsize, I spend a lot of time living out of a suitcase or sitting at my desk, I hope to sell my house this year, so really I don’t want any stuff.
What I would like though is some help raising money for Rowcroft Hospice and JusticeforLB. There are only 21 days left to donate to my crowdfunding for my head shave. What I’m asking is if you would normally be buying me a card for my birthday, or if you’d be at Social Care Curry the night before my birthday offering to buy me a birthday drink if I were there, please pledge that money instead (should point out to anyone who doesn’t know I’m not *that* necky, I am one of two people behind Social Care Curry and it’s a definite labour of love).
The minimum pledge amount is £5, I know that’s not an insignificant amount for some of you, and I’d hate for anyone to donate what they can’t afford. That said, I’m blessed with being connected to thousands of people on twitter, and hundreds on facebook, and I’d really hope that some more of them might join the 73 people who have already pledged.
I reckon by the time you spend a couple quid on a card, then buy a stamp and then calculate the value of your time required to remember it and walk to the post office, that’s not far off a fiver. Obviously if you offered me a birthday drink I’d be opting for some cocktail, that’s not far off a fiver (actually I’d most likely settle for a pint but you see what I’m trying to do here).
Through the very act of asking people, I connected with them, and when you connect with them, people want to help you…. it’s not easy to ask, asking makes you vulnerable.
I don’t like asking for help any more than the next person, but I know the difference your money can make, and I really hope that some of you can support me. Here’s why:
If you ever need the support of a hospice, or god forbid you need to rely on strangers, friends and family to raise funds to cover legal fees to find out how your son died, I’m guessing it’s hard to ask and rely on others too. I really hope that you never need this help, but the funds you donate will ensure those that do, can be supported. Please click here to visit crowdfunder and make a donation if you’d like to. Thank you.
ps If you can’t spare the cash but would like to help in some other way please get in touch, I’m sure we can think of something. Thanks.
Things you never expect to happen in life….you rave about a TED talk, you muse on it, you blog it, a friend shares on twitter (thank you Anne Marie) and the amazing Amanda gets in touch.
Given the topic of the video, and her evident awareness of the power of connectivity this probably shouldn’t have been a surprise. However, it was. Amanda shared on her facebook page, sharing more about the eyebrows comment (take a look). Her post, and the comments give me hope in humanity, was particularly interesting to see someone else who’d shaved their head have similar reactions from others. As yet (I’m an eternal optimist) this hasn’t led to a deluge of donations, but it was a brilliantly generous thing for her to do, and it’s reassured me of what I’ve always known, I shouldn’t care about the doubters.
People who care about me, care that this is important to me, and will support me irrespective of what my hair looks like! Thank you all for the support, financial and moral, it’s appreciated more than you realise.