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Being Thankful for the Wonderful Year I Had Running RYV!

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Thankful quote 1

“There is always, always something to be thankful for.”

Since Thanksgiving is two days away (can you believe it!?!?), I decided to take a moment to show how thankful I am for all the amazing accomplishments and surprises that has taken place in 2014.

Starting the year with RYV! being six months in the making, I was not sure exactly what would take shape as time passed.  I was, and still is, navigating this ship the best way that I can, but throughout the year, I received direction from my readers and supporters with the emails, comments, and reshares that took place that displayed how fortunate you all are that RYV! exists, and how you appreciated the work it takes to speak out on imperative topics week after week.  Now that RYV! has reached its 16 months of existence, I am more confident in steering and guiding this vessel because of each of you.

Here are the top five things I am thankful for this year:

Reading and Sharing the Stories of My Friends and Followers

I know that I always state how much I enjoy hearing from you all, but I truly do.  It takes courage to email or message someone you do not know with you personal account of what it is like to live with a disability.  I am forever grateful that RYV! has been seen as an open and safe platform where women can disclose their thoughts and feelings about their disabled experience, and I treasure each new encounter dearly.  When I hear from you, I feel as if I have made a new friend, which is a precious gift to receive.  Though most of you I may never meet “in real life,” your stories fuels my drive to make RYV! what you all deserve – an entity where women with disabilities, especially those of color, can read the stories of others who “understand” their plight, and fill in the gross gap that currently exists in the disability community.

Writing Articles that are Poignant to What Is Taking Place In Our Lives

My heart fills with joy when someone contacts me and states that an article touched them because they could relate to it.  Receiving that kind of validation about my writing makes all the outlining, drafting, and planning worth it week after week.  Sometimes I am surprised that the stories I consider to be “educational” or “factual” are the ones that receive the most views and shares, such as the Rock the Disabled Vote article published over the summer.  Those small surprises shows me that you all are seeking this information, and my postings have filled that search gap, which is something that I aim to achieve with my writings.

Becoming Friends with Some of You Via Social Media

This has especially been the case regarding the interactions and relationships I have established on Tumblr.  I have close to 3,900 followers on there, and I have build connections with a small number of bloggers.  As I have stated in a preview article, creating friendships among those with disabilities is indeed important to me, and I am elated that Tumblr has been the space where that has occurred.  My day is not complete unless I scroll through my dashboard during the day, and read what has occurred in the last 24 hours of my friends’ lives.  Sometimes I laugh at funny stories, and sometimes I cry from the pain and discrimination shared.  I know that some of you may not understand, but you do form attachments with those you meet online, just as you would with your colleagues at work or classmates at school.  I have dubbed my Tumblr community as my “Tumblr family” because it is true – we are a beautiful, dysfunctional mix of people and experiences who are there to support and encourage each other through the good and the bad times.  That is what family is and does, no matter how you meet or how far apart you are.

Wanting More for RYV! in the Future

I am so thankful to have a vision as to where I want RYV! to go within the next year.  I am eager to expand RYV!’s reach via a podcast and vlog series.  This will allow me to retain more folks on board to support what I am striving to achieve, and to provide my devoted followers and readers an interactive opportunity to voice and share their stories and opinions.  This expansion excites me to the depths of my core every time I think about it; I hope that you are looking forward to this new chapter, as well.

Having the Best Supporters and Readers I Could Ever Ask For

And lastly, I would not be where I am without each and every one of you!  Without you, there would be no RYV!  Brainstorming new and exciting ways to reach more of you is what drives me in this work; thank you for being so welcoming to a novice advocate like myself.

Final Thoughts:

This is just a short list of what I am unbelievably thankful for this year.  What are you thankful for this Holiday season?

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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