Despite blood relation, Shareen and I grew up not knowing each other. The last time we saw each other was approximately 31 years ago. We reconnected as adults through the magic of Facebook combined with my work as a writing coach and editor. But you wouldn’t know that through online exchanges.
We hit it off hard and fast. She asked me to support her dream of building Open Thought Vortex. As we were working together, I chatted with her about my dream of building #LinkYourLife into a community based off of truly reading shared work-knowing each other beyond the page, being noncompetitive and lifting one another up. She offered to help me build the community multiple times before I said yes. Why? Because I have trouble accepting help, I love working independently, and it takes an enormous amount of trust to allow someone a role in your dream. I was content to the let the group grow slowly, even willing to put it on pause while we got OTV off the ground.
I have not had many positive experiences working with women or family (just scour these pages). Having Shareen say she wanted to help me was frightening. In getting to know her, though, I realized she only wanted to support me in growing my dream. She didn’t want to own it. She didn’t want to claim it. She just wanted to be there for me. And it worked out well, because I was able to spend hours well beyond what we planned on her dream, each of us bringing our own skill set to the table. The coolest byproduct? Just as Shareen brought participants to #LinkYourLife, #LinkYourLife has been a gateway to bring artists and readers to Open Thought Vortex.
Devon Hall called for posts for Shareen’s birthday talking about what #LinkYourLife has affected our lives. #LinkYourLife functioning as it is now is my dream. It is what it is because of Shareen’s support. So it brought me an education on trust and teamwork. It has also brought me the community of artists and survivors I have long craved.
I am grateful to Shareen and to every artist who has believed in the vision of co-creating a safe space where we can support without competing. I know that #LinkYourLife will continue to evolve based on compassion and community interaction. I also look forward to deepening friendships and continuing to extend trust in the process of dream-building.
We truly are better together.