The Art of Writing
Dignity in life and death
Dying with dignity.
Oh the amount of power that sentence holds. First let me start by saying if you’re reading this… this blog is a place to clear my mind, to get my words out on paper (or screen), to think out loud, and in turn maybe you will take away something from this. With that being said.. lets begin.
Recently I’ve pushed through my life with the fast forward button held down. This wasn’t intentional at all. Of course, we all know what its like to look down one second and then look up and six months has passed. This was the case for me. I looked down and when I finally looked up, years had gone by. A nagging feeling kept tugging at my heart. I needed to slow down and check on myself. It was then, when I finally looked into my healthy, that I caught a glimpse of death knocking at my door. Through test and such, I’ve been contemplated with choices to make for my future. None of these options came without consequence. Anyway, pushing past all the boring details… It was decision time. Ill explain my two options and then explain why I made the choice I did. (there is a point to this blog I promise).
It came down to, A. have the surgery or B. don’t.. Yes its more complicated than just that. (isn’t it always lol).
I chose option B.
My whole life has been filed with surgeries, health problems, hospital stays, and feeling like a science project. My surgery list is long and is turning into a resume. In short, I’m done being a lab rat and feeling like I never get any where after surgeries. I’m tired of putting my family and friends through worried times. I’m done with the pain and planning. I’m done with the time consumed by my health and letting it hold me back.
I’m choosing quality over quantity, and for some that’s hard to understand. For some, they see it as giving up, not fighting, or being selfish. For me, its choosing a different path. I’m choosing life. I’m choosing my family, my kids, my friends, and happiness. No one knows how much time you’re truly given on this earth and the same will be said for me. No doctor will give me a date that ill be satisfied with and ill be the stubborn mule that will try to prove them wrong. The point is… I’m not sure if I have ten years, twenty years, ten days, or what… what I do know is, I have the rest of my life to be happy.
I don’t want to spend any more of my time with surgeries, hospital stays, or being miserable. I’m going to jump out of a plane, push my toes in the sand while my kids run on the beach, hike a few mountains, kayak with my best friends, love on my hubby, walk bare foot on the grass, laugh a little harder, and smile more than ever. I’m going to make the most of it all and I’m going to go out of this life with dignity. So when my time comes… please read this and know… In my heart I’ve made the right choice and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I will leave an impact on this world. Ill put my stamp on everything I can. Ill change the hearts of many and spread my good karma as far as I can. I want people to smile, not cry, when they think of me.
If you ever have a family member make the same choice, please hear them out and know their decision didn’t come lightly. Know that they aren’t giving up or not fighting. They aren’t selfish. They are choosing a different path and all they want is you to be there, so they don’t walk it alone. A friend recently told me, “on your headstone it reads your name, the day you die, and the day you’re born. None of those things matter… the dash in the middle of those dates, its what matters.” I’m going to make one hell of a dash.
-living with dignity-
The dirty word "Fame"
Recently ive been plagued by my own thoughts and pondered on how to handle them. Finally, ive been able to not only analyze them but also maneuver a way to adapt to them. For almost six years now ive been writing books. Ive written six books, many poems, script writing, and even turned one of my books into a movie. Its never crossed my mind about my current status of being famous. I know what you’re thinking, why does she care bout her status? Normally, I don’t and honestly until recently, I didn’t.
It wasn’t until I went into a grocery store to do my normal shopping. I get a tap on the shoulder, while contemplating the epic meat prices, and asked if I was in fact Brianna Johnson. Nodding and smiling I said, “yes!”. This sweet woman and her daughter knew who I was, and I had no clue who they were. They knew about my movie and my books and were huge fans. My mind was blown. Its not as if this hasn’t happened many times in the past and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. I haven’t ever put much thought into what any of it ment deep down. We chatted for a minute, I took a photo with them, and continued my shopping.
That same day two people messaged me asking about the movie and saying how excited they were to meet a famous person, a friend reached out and told me she was proud to call me a friend and see how successful I am. I say all of this not to brag but to explain my emotions. There is a moral to this story, hang tight. The people around me seen me as something I didn’t put enough thought into thinking of myself. In my mind it’s only been six years and a few books later. What truly is the meaning of “fame” and how do I adapt to what everyone else sees me as? It was my struggle as of recently. In my head I wasn’t “famous”, nor did I think I had been doing this long enough to even be close to that category. But... isn’t that just it though?
Why does an amount of time define what I am or who I am? Why do I feel awkward putting myself in any category with the word famous in it? I then had to realize I was the one holding myself back and putting myself in a box. In deep thought I was somewhat worried about the internal fear of losing my humble characteristic. Fame felt like a dirty word and a word that means you lose part of yourself to become something else. I had to rearrange that thought process in my mind and find a way that allowed me to think of myself in a better standard then I had previously been.
Maybe seeing it as a status or a “click” was the ultimate problem? I have never, nor will I ever, feel as though I am higher than anyone on any level. With the word fame, I associated it incorrectly. Having said that I had to come to terms with the fact that if others see me as something great then I should see myself as something pretty great too. Mindset is, in fact, everything. So instead of being famous. I’ll be fabulously fame driven.
My point of this is to never put yourself in a box or feel like just because someone sees you a certain way, you have to see yourself that way. In the same sentence, make sure you don’t crowd yourself with overthinking what something means. If the word feels wrong in description to you, change the damn word! Haha. See it, be it, and believe it.
-From Fabulously fame driven Brianna Johnson
I find things in the new year different and refreshing. I also seem to be stuck in this constant rut as well. Ive spent the past few months working on me and trying to get past what led me to my mini stroke. There are always many factors into what causes a stroke and what goes into fixing them. I knew in my heart one of the roots to my problems was stress. I held so much in and tried to save myself from drowning so often that I finally sank rather than swam. I am, to many, the funny friend. I hide my problems with laughter and smiles. Refusing to let others in, was and might always, be a weakness I have adapted to. That’s a problem for another time. I think in some odd way my stroke needed to happen and I needed to slow down. Though, I do hate it happened, I am always looking at the optimistic side of things. I readjusted my home life, tried to figure out the direction of my career, and fought like hell to keep friendships from dying. Do I have any of it figured out? Ummm.. hell no. ha-ha! I do know that I constantly keep pushing to find the rhythm that works though.
My home life consisted of me doing everything for my kids and crippling their independence more than I wanted to see it. It was easier for me to handle things than wait for them to do it. I knew if I left this earth my kids would of course be fine but let’s face it, they would suck at being independent. I can’t move on with anything unless they are self-sufficient. Ive worked hard for a few months to get them on a better schedule and allow them to take the reins on many things. I learned the word “no” is in fact okay and needing “my time” is allowed! They have a long way to go but they also have come a long way. If I can gather any home life advice; let them fall, they will figure it out, I promise.
As for my career, I don’t know where I am going but I do know what I love to do, write. I know I spent so much of the last year and half working for other people that I let myself slip away. My “job” became a nine to five and I fell out of love with it slowly. I vowed to get back into writing more and find “me” again. I’m still on this track but I will say ive been writing more and more each day.
With my friendships ive learned those who love you will understand. Its not as if I wanted to step away and I think my friends understood that. It’s that I had to take a step back to figure it all out. I wasn’t me for so long after my stroke that I worried I lost me in the long run. A huge mental shift happened, and I spent months in a depression. On my bad days I kept to myself, and worried others would notice my differences, because I did. On my bad days my words wouldn’t form, my arm or legs wouldn’t work, my mind just couldn’t process anything, and I felt so useless. Again, I am the friend who smiles and laughs, if I can’t give my friends that, then wouldn’t they notice? Weakness is such a strong thing and that feeling was written all over my face upon my bad days. I knew I couldn’t hide it and refused to bring my friends down with my presence. So, I worked on me and getting better so the “differences” wouldn’t be noticeable. I am finally on a track to redemption or so I hope. I must work at my consistency again and let my friends know I am here once again. I have to show up and not show out haha, so to speak. Again, I’m working on it and they are patient with me because well… I hope they see my progress.
I took time off from work to get my family in order. I vowed to not hold myself to imaginary standards that others predicted for me. I fought like hell to get my mind and body to be one again and with the help of YouTube, I’m back. I might have lost something the day of my stroke but I’m okay with everything ive gained from it. Maybe I’m not ment to find the old me but create a new one. A new me who allows others to see me on my bad days, who lets her kids fall and fail, who says no to others when its needed, and loves deeply with her heart in all things she does. Whatever “me” I end up with… Ill be happy no matter what because in the long run… I will always love me.
You are indeed a very brave lady. I've not known anyone who had a stroke and came back as strong as you. I am also a writer and put myself through that same stress each day. My daughter and grandkids are grown, so all I have to worry about are my dogs and husband. I'd like to send congrats on all of your books. I am almost done with 7 Shots. Wow!
Hopefully sometime soon I can get over to the bookshop to meet you. My three grandkids lived in Gray Court when they were younger. They all live in Simpsonville now. I hope to talk to you about your book and maybe you could read mine. It would be nice to meet.
The Night Owl
As I sit here at 1am I can’t help but feel empowered and motivated. My mind is full blast with amazing thoughts and what nots. Then there is a part of me that refrains from allowing my ideas to flow and restrains me to zone with the darkness…
I’ve spent my younger years being told that sleep impacts so much of your neuron-system. I don’t feel that this statistic is wrong in any way I just feel that the stereo type for when we should sleep is wrong. Some people find the morning hours to be the best productive for them, while others find the nighttime to be their best. I know I am in the category of nighttime workers, and I’m fine with that. Others around me seem to not be on board with my choices.
If I still get eight hours of sleep and am productive during my “normal” work hours, then what is the problem? Is it because its not YOUR definition of the way you do things? Does it make others uncomfortable? Are they concerned about my sleep habits because they notice something wrong?
I must see the perspective in this situation and while I do, I must say I’m confused. I don’t frown upon them for getting up at four am to work on their production or lifestyle, so why must they judge me for mine? Being an early bird doesn’t mean you are better than the night owl in anyway. The early bird might get the worm, but the night owl gets the mouse. In any perspective it is the self’s prerogative, isn’t it? Some might have opinions on nighttime production such as… The world doesn’t move at nighttime like it does during the day. Your social life will plummet being up at night, and so on. Again, these are opinions and not facts of any kind.
For personal preference I will list a few reasons why nighttime is my preferred timing. At eight thirty my kids go to bed; this is when quiet time comes in for me. I love human interaction, but I also need my down time. The world still moves at nighttime, there are other night owls just like me out there, I promise I’m not alone (Walmart was 24/7 before covid). Plus, my late nights consist of a good 3 am crash time. This means that by ten am I am wound up and kicking off my day. I still have daylight to be social and interact with humans. At nighttime I use the quiet to focus on my mind and body. I allow my brain to zone out and create a whole canvas of words. I am a writer and silence sometimes is the golden ticket. My mind craves this time to work and when I turn the switch on at night its like a printing press hard at work.
I have recently tried to force my body to try the early morning routine and let me say it threw my body and mind out of whack. I’m not saying anything bad about the morning times, I am simply saying its just not for me. With all this being said, I’m just asking you to not judge the night owl friends you have and gain some prospective from this blog. Don’t shame us because we aren’t morning people and don’t make us feel less powerful because we like the darkness. We are pretty amazing creatures; we are just creatures of the night.