At TEDxBrum, a poet who writes love letters to strangers
At the age of 23, TEDxBrum speaker Jodi Ann Bickley was performing her poetry in venues all over England. But after a performance at a music festival, she contracted mengo-encephalitis, a brain infection that led to a mini-stroke, and things changed.
Left with daily chronic headaches, exhaustion, and dizziness, and without the ability to write or walk, Jodi had to teach herself how to live after illness. She re-learned to walk, and write, but many things remained a challenge.
At TEDxBrum, she told her story of starting over.
The bit about long-term illness that is not explained to you in the discharge lounge is the sense of loss you feel for your life before. Certain friends disappeared. Simple things like answering the phone, checkout noises at the supermarket, you know the beep, beep, beep, it leaves me close to passing out. Some days I’d spend trawling Facebook and Twitter, seeing what my were up to and beating myself up because I wasn’t doing the same.…[One night a small distraction] made me realize I could either sit here and let this consume and potentially kill me, or I have to do something a little bit magical.So, what could I do? All I have is me and a lot of time and my love of writing. I’d always left little notes around for people, whether it’d be on my mum’s fridge or on the back of bus tickets left on seats for the next people to find.What about if all these notes found the people they needed to? What if they weren’t notes? What if they were letters? Within half an hour, I’d set up onemillionlovelyletters.com. The aim is that if I can actually talk one person down from the curb, then that’s a success. The way I’d do it? Through letters.…So I sent a call out to every person on the planet other than me: If you or someone you know needs reminded how amazing they are, I’ll send you a letter.Within one hour of the website going online, I had 50 emails from all over the world. I was opening emails to stories ranging from 14-year-old girls who had just started to self-harm due to bullying to the elderly women who had just lost their husbands after 40 years. Stories of abuse, loneliness, grief, self-doubt, exam stress, depression, long-term illness, lost souls, heartbreak, and people who just needed to be reminded that they matter…What onemillionlovelyletters has shown me is how similar and strong we all are … I haven’t been divorced, or abused, or experienced many of the problems people have written to me about. But I have [experienced] that moment when it feels like the world is starting to crumble. And I have learned that, sometimes, all you need to be reminded of is that you are loved and that you are not alone.
Through onemillionlovelyletters, Jodi has sent over 700 letters with still 600 waiting to be written as of June, and the project is still going strong. Above, Jodi’s letter to everyone watching her talk. Below, Jodi’s entire talk:
snap shots from our outer banks road trip
Cheers to great friends, especially when they look this dashing at 7am on the start of our road trip to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
Left to Right: K, M, Alex, Paul, Josh & Johna (special appearance by Lady the maltese)
Approximately 6 hours into our drive, we stopped at the first sighting of sand. All smiles here on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, VA.
From accidentally color-coordinated outfits to a sea of rainbow cottages, this little town is a feast for the eyes.
Speaking of feasts, we can’t forget to mention the FOOD. When we weren’t too busy grilling up a storm (every other night) we explored some beach side noshes, including but not limited to: shrimp, wings, & homemade ice cream!
How many times in your life do you get to spend a night under the stars and then top it off with a perfect sunrise? One word = BLESSED.
To our friends, thanks for making this trip one for the books. We LOVE you guys. Can’t wait for what’s next!
we take our cheese very seriously
This project is the perfect combination of our two great loves: cheese & wood. We had some extra maple hardwood and decided to freehand these boards on the band saw. For a little surprise, we wood-burned a triangle pattern along the edges.
We made these baby flags using tooth picks and folded tape. They’re super simple to throw together for a party!
The above message came by way of a very special fortune cookie a few years ago. Sometimes we need to be reminded, & that’s OKAY. As long as we remember. We all create in different ways—whatever that means to you, please don’t stop.
Featuring a bold slab serif typeface aptly titled, chunk (c/o The League of Moveable Type). By the way—if you’ve never heard of these guys before, you should definitely check ‘em out. Their open-source mission and manifesto is inspiring.
"Be careful which stories you expose yourself to. …The meanings you find, and the stories you hear, will have an impact on how optimistic you are: it’s how we evolved. … If you do not know how to draw positive meaning from what happens in life, the neural pathways you need to appreciate good news will never fire up."
(Source: , via explore-blog)
I think we all have that one pair of shoes that are like old friends. For me, it’s these guys. I’ve been wearing Keds for as long as I can remember (one of the only brands I’m truly loyal to). They are a comfortable constant through all kinds of change. And as they start to wear away with time, they’re a sweet reminder of all the places I’ve been in them. It’s nice when something as simple as a pair of shoes can be a marker for things like that.
What are your classic go-to shoes?
Does the Universe Have a Purpose? feat. Neil deGrasse Tyson (by minutephysics)
This video is wonderfully curious. Love this guy.
the pair that started it all
In the spring of 2011, I studied abroad in London. I was grateful that my internship the previous summer hired me to work as a brand consultant for their store located in the regal Harrods high-end department store for my time abroad. If you have never been to Harrods, it is the most elegant, elaborately adorned, royal monster of a place complete with red velvet carpets, gold leaf detailing, & a gourmet food hall (just to name a few). Yikes, I needed to get myself some professional garb to look spick & span. Since my commute to work was a 15-minute walk through Hyde Park, I knew I needed to find the perfect shoes- a pair classy enough for Harrods yet comfortable enough for the walk. I set out, with the help of Katie (the other half of Flat Shoes Tattoos), to find the perfect pair. Our first (& only) stop happened to be Top Shop on Oxford Street. With an entire floor dedicated to the best of the best foot attire ever, Top Shop is the epitome of freaking perfect. I was practically drooling over the Office shoe collection when suddenly among them all I saw them staring at me, a pair of black patent toe and nude suede back flats. As soon as I tried them on I thought I was walking on clouds.
Cut to my first day of work when I was told I am not supposed to wear flat shoes to work (oops) or show any tattoos (double oops, I have one on each foot, which my flats so beautifully highlighted). Needless to say I was heart-broken, but since I try not to follow conventional standards anyway (why should I be uncomfortable in heels all day?), I continued to wear my Flat Shoes, Tattoos everyday for the rest of my time at Harrods.
Side note- Flat Shoes Tattoos became a catch phrase between Katie & me & has evolved into our mantra for living a fulfilling creative life that we define for ourselves!
time to hibernate