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Saturday, October 18, 2014

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Every unpleasant incident or temptation is a test of your inner strength. Therefore nil desperandum. March forward hero! — Sivananda Saraswati



I've had a difficult time finding the time to do much of anything these days. Jeremy went back to work two weeks ago. While it would only take 25 minutes (if that) for him to get to work, we do not have a car. Half the week we take Mobility, the other half we take the bus.

Mobility costs $1.85 for me (Jeremy rides for free), one way. If we were to use their service every day, we'd spend one of Jeremy's four paychecks just on fare alone. While Jeremy doesn't start work until 2pm, Mobility is supposed to pick us up at 12:20. Except that's just the start of the window. They can come whenever they want after that time. Sometimes they'll make you wait an hour and a half. Sometimes they will take us directly to work. Other times we have to ride along while they pick up other customers and drop those people off at their destinations. When we didn't get home until after 9pm last Wednesday (Jeremy gets off work around 5:30) we decided that maybe we should avoid Mobility on Wednesdays. A couple days later a driver confirmed that Wednesdays are one of their worst days, that everything runs late.

If we ride the bus, we both ride for free but we have to catch a bus and go all the way into the city (saw them filming “House of Cards” yesterday), only to catch another bus and go all the way back into the county. The bus from the city into the county (the 15) is always standing room only until we get to the county, then it clears out. Sometimes I have to ride backward on that bus because there's not enough room for me to spin my chair. If we take the bus, we leave the apartment at noon.

Either way, if we make it home before dark it's like we won a contest. That doesn't happen often.

But I have seen a helicopter with its searchlight on circling the next block over as we stood at the bus stop in “Spanish Town.” I listened to live mariachi type music at the bar across the street from the bus stop the night before that. I've twice crossed the spot where Poe died, and we can't walk down Broadway in front of the 7-11 at the corner of the block where the drug rehab center is located without someone bumming a cigarette from Jeremy. And you know what? ALL of this happens on Broadway, which happens to be the street that runs through the center of the John's Hopkins campus.

I don't live in the city, but almost.

When we get home I must immediately pee and have something to drink. Jeremy makes dinner; I do my online auctions and surveys. We eat dinner. If it's not too late and we will sometimes shower. Then I go to sleep.

We get up around 9 am and do it all again.

Today we are catching up on things that need to be done. As I write this, Jeremy is sawing wood to replace the big bump of wood that separated the kitchen from the carpet. I couldn't get into the kitchen without fighting against that bump for three minutes. I couldn't get out of the kitchen without almost falling out of my chair several times while trying to throw my body weight over the bump. We could have gone to the Russian Festival, but I couldn't handle the idea of getting on a bus today. We could have gone to the outdoor screening of Hitchcock's “The Birds” at the theater down the street, but I'd like to get the apartment vacuumed. We could have gone to the outdoor festival at the mall, but I'd like to get the bathroom cleaned. We missed the flea market out front because we couldn't get out of bed until after noon.

Hopefully tomorrow my computer desk will finally arrive from my parents' house. Last week my mom ended up filling her van with my dresser and some boxes, after Jeremy's friend with a truck had something else pop up. This will take forever if I can only get one piece of furniture a week.

The walls here are paper-thin. I have named the chatty man next door Charlie. There seems to be another guy living there, too. I've named him Dan, but I can't remember why. Everyone outside loves to yell. We bought adjustable screens to put in our windows (the building is about 100 years old - see above pic. The window sills don't have grooves for screens) only to discover that after a long day of baking in the heat, the half-dozen dumpsters in the alley behind our apartment smell pretty rancid. We bought scented candles, but we're also right next to all the air conditioners for the apartment building and some huge contraption that runs sporadically and loudly all the time.

But Jeremy and I are making this our home.

We can make this good. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

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"When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways--either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength." — Dalai Lama XIV



9/26/14 2:15pm

I signed the lease about two hours ago and saw the apartment for the first time.

I'm sitting alone in said apartment while my mom and Jeremy go pick up some of our belongings from where we have been staying for this past month and a half, and I feel shaky and weird. Not because I'm alone, but because this is it – and I don't do well with new situations.

First, let me say Thank You.

Thank You Tina, Parker and Draven for being so kind and gracious and allowing me and Jeremy to crash in your home for so long. I appreciate the sacrifices you made and the patience it took to have two additional people living in your space. Thank you for letting us cook in your kitchen and not murdering Jeremy every time he set off the fire alarm. Thank you for providing refuge in our time of crisis and for stepping up and pulling us out of a bad situation when no one else did. Draven, thank you for letting me find comfort and a place to work out my emotional shit in your bedroom.

Thank you to Julie for letting us stomp through her apartment at least once a week. And for letting us use your car, and for all the treats. Thank you for your company and sharing your life with us, and for your friendship.

Thank You to Elle (and Priscilla) for the endless pep-texts and helping me process some major bullshit. You helped me calm down and make plans for the future. You helped me find those silver linings and gave all the right responses when I was bitching it out. And, as I listen to people screaming outside, I realize that there;s probably a lot more bitching to come. (Why is that fool so loud? I guess he's taking advantage of the chance to use his outside voice.)

And while she will never read this, Thank You to my mom. She was the one family member who did not turn her back on me or abandon me. She continues to help/support me on this journey and has done her best to be a positive influence.

Lastly, Thank You to Jeremy. As long as I can snuggle next to you at night I know I will be all right. I love you.

Okay, now that's out of the way...

The apartment is nothing like what was pictured in the brochure, but it will work. It's small, but probably around the same size as Tabco. I'll know better once the furniture is in. Unfortunately, Big Len is off all this weekend and Monday so it seems unlikely that we will get any of the furniture until next week. Right now we will make do with the air mattress and my drop-table that my mom brought from her house. The bathroom is tight with my motorize chair. I haven’t actually tried to transfer yet, but I think it will be possible. It has to be, so I will work on it until I can do it without fear. We have a dishwasher, which is a first. But the microwave is above the stove, so I can't reach it. I can hear my neighbor talking through the wall, that's going to take some getting used to. Thankfully I somehow I learned to sleep with the television on. I think that skill might come in handy here.

I've already decided to remove the closet doors and the doors on the vanity in the bathroom. I'm putting Spot's litter box in the vanity. So far we've found a penny and an earring (some probably fake diamond stud). There was a whole page about bedbugs in the lease. That can't be good, but they had them at Tabco because people are dirty slobs. My wheels make it difficult for me to be messy. If there's stuff all over the ground then I can't get around. I can only reach a small portion of any environment, so I like to have things in their places.


But this is it – for the next year and I'm not excited at all. I wanted more than this in my life. I mean, I never thought I would find someone who loves me like Jeremy, and I wish that I could just be grateful and blissful about that dream coming true. But I'm sad, and... I'll feel better in a couple of days. I just need to settle in. 

(9.28: Doing better. I still have about 100 inner freak outs a day, but I'm not bursting into tears. That's something, right?)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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"I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead." — Beryl Markham (West with the Night)

Took a trip to the doctor's office... well, okay... it's a clinic. I have medical assistance so my general practitioner is based in a clinic at a local hospital. It's a learning facility, so doctors can stay there anywhere between six months to two years. The doctor I saw on Monday was new to me, new to the hospital she reminded me twice, and I will be fine if I never see her again. She is not the doctor assigned to me, but if I had waited to see my assigned doctor I wouldn't have been able to get an appointment until mid-October. I had to wait two weeks for this appointment, as it was, and when I called I was kinda in crisis.

I went to see about getting a mental health therapist. I was having a very hard time and wanted to explore my options when it came to not feeling so sad/depressed/dark/hopeless/desperate. To be honest, I also was hoping for a sedative, but the doctor refused to prescribe me anything (even though I scored the second to lowest on their weird depression quiz). She told me to call and make an appointment to see a therapist, which is what I expected. But still, it's already been two weeks. How long will I have to wait to see a therapist? I called the place and left a message, because for some reason, even when you're feeling mentally unwell you can't talk directly to someone who can help – unless you call the suicide prevention hotline, which I have not done.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I feel like I should be excited and happy, but I'm not. I'm still waiting for everything to go sideways again. I got my move-in date for the last Friday in September, which is less than ten days away, but I don't think I will feel anything except relief and only after I have spent the night in the apartment and not been molested by roaches. At this point, I don't know if my rent will be “prorated.” It would be nice to just take care of October's rent and be done with it. We also have to figure out how to get electricity in the apartment, since that's not included.

Jeremy has been trying his best to get me excited. It will be great to have our own space again, but I can't work up any enthusiasm. I'm stuck in a rut. All I can think of is how once I pay my rent I will have $100 to get through the month, and my cell phone bill will take that. I gave away all my household items when I left TABCO, so I have to find a way to get new (or used) pots and pans, a coffeemaker, a dish drain board, and all that other stuff that you say, “I thought I had...” and you kinda need it right then. Plus my food stamps will be gone by the time I move, and they don't hit again until the 6th. I know I am not the only person who needs stuff, and that millions of people live from paycheck to paycheck and go without. I know I can do it, it probably won't even be all that bad, but my inner spoiled princess is being smashed while she screams, “But I want to see the ocean! I want to do something fun!” Sorry, Princess, you've gone years without seeing the ocean, what's a couple more?

Then there's the whole actually moving all my shit again. Because my move-in date is a Friday, I can't even get my bed to the apartment until Sunday (at the earliest) because I will not go back to my parents' house when Big Len is home. I will not endure that hostility. I will not provoke that rage. And considering the fact that Betty got junked, we don't have a truck to transport the bed. I may have to find the money to rent a U-haul, which yes they claim to only be $19, but it's also 79 cents a mile, plus gas.

My mother has already started packing my room. She gets boxes from work and has packed my clothes and knickknacks. She's trying to be helpful. She's finally realized that I cannot come back. Not until she's the only one still living there, and by then I hope that I won't still be in this state. There must be somewhere cheaper (without the crazy drug crime) to live than Baltimore. Though, if my mom were living alone, I wouldn't be above going back to live with her and make sure she's okay. Modifications would definitely have to be made. That's been the long and terrible battle of my life, and I've lost almost every single round. But if Big Len's not there to break everything (like my shower chair, like my portable ramp) and throw all my adaptive equipment in the trash, then there might be hope.

The doctor also said she was going to refer my case to a social worker. I suppose that I should call her but I don't have the energy. After contacting so many agencies and finding them to be useless, I don't know what this social worker can offer me. Especially now that I have already found an apartment. But I will call, because maybe there's... something... a Uhaul fund. A Mr Coffee fund. Energy assistance. Supplemental monetary assistance. Something.


Though something tells me that I'm gonna end up doing this on my own (with some help from Jeremy) because that's how it's been thus far.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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"At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in." — Mother Teresa

It's been a while since I posted anything because that thing I feared was going to happen – it happened.

I vacillate between telling people I'm homeless, or “between homes” right now.

It's been almost a month since I fled from my parents' house. I woke up one day not realizing that would be the last time I slept in that room. All that planning I did, all that saving, I'm glad I started when I did. I didn't have a place lined up when I finally left my parents' house, but I was hysterical and heartbroken and incapable of taking any more abuse. So we packed a couple of bags, and the cat, and a friend came to get us.

I haven't had to sleep outside. I haven't had to seek out a shelter, or a mission, or a soup kitchen and for that I am grateful. This could have been a whole lot worse and so I shy away from claiming homelessness, but I am currently without a home of my own. Hopefully that will change in a couple weeks. Hopefully I will be signing a lease by next week. I'm nervous as hell that this is going to fall through. It took weeks for me to find a place that was not only within my price range, but also accessible. I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After making at least 50 phone calls, Jeremy and I did manage to find two accessible and affordable places. I also called the Department of Disabilities, the IMAGE center (an organization that supposedly helps disabled people live independently), the caseworker who came to my parents house in the Spring to access what kind of money I needed to make my life easier (who then referred me to the woman in charge of housing who I have yet to speak to, after two weeks of leaving messages and returning calls), social services and Catholic Charities... none of which helped me. The woman from the IMAGE Center even got online and did a brief search that came up with zero results. Instead of being outraged, she brushed me off, telling me that she would print out some information of senior communities that sometime take disabled residents under 62. She didn't care when I told her I called most of those places and they had 3 year waiting lists for those under 62-years-old.

I've been to social services and talked to their housing department. I filled out paperwork to see if I'm eligible for renter's assistance but that takes 1.5 years to go through. I filled out paperwork to see where I am on the Section8 wait-list because that takes 7 years and I'm sure I've been on it for at least two years.

I had one organization tell me that there are shelters for disabled people, but this person could not tell me which shelters or how any of them worked. I'm pretty sure shelters where I would be able to use the bathroom and get in an out of a bed are the stuff of legends. It's more likely that I wouldn't be able to have Jeremy help me; that I would be on my own, without a caregiver, which means I wouldn't be able to get on or off the cot/mats on the floor. I wouldn't be able to use the bathroom, or get dressed, or shower. My motorized chair would be in danger of being stolen.

And while all of this has been difficult, I think the worst part of this whole situation is that no one in my family cares (except my mother). I haven't heard from any of them, including my two sisters. And I can't help but feel that their lack of support or concern means that they think I deserve this. But I don't know why they would think that.

Every week it gets easier. I was crying hard, all the time, for the first couple of weeks. I felt this deep, soul-sucking blackness inside of me. I felt like worthless trash thrown into the street. Yes, I left. It was my choice, but the amount of abuse that I was suffering was making me suicidal. It sickens me to think that anyone in my family believes that I actually deserve to be treated that way. And so, every week it gets a little easier to see a future without them. Because a good holiday celebration or a great piece of birthday cake cannot balance out being told that everything you do is “too little too late” by someone who sits on his fat ass and does nothing at all (except make people miserable), who can't see me for the wonderful, giving person that I am while I was trying SO HARD to make him happy. And anyone who wants to stand in silence when my mother asks, “Why do you hate your daughter so much?” and he answers “I don't know” stands with him.

It's been hard for me to see out of the darkness this past month. I'm a logical person, trying to apply sense to a situation that cannot be understood. The only thing that I can conclude is that I will never be a human woman to many people, because I am disabled. And some of those close-minded, mean-spirited people just happen to share my DNA. I am officially estranged, but I will find people who do care, and who know what it is to love, and I will make my own family. I will start with Jeremy and I will go from there.


If you could keep me in your thoughts and prayers, I would appreciate it. I'm still pretty scared and nervous. Any positive thoughts will help.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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The Scarf Maker is Free for Anyone who is Homeless or is a Homeless Advocate

The Scarf Maker by Johnna Crider Sabri, Art4TH Founder



The Scarf Maker is the second book that I am publishing. It will be out on November 1, 2014 but is available for preordering now. It is free for anyone who is homeless or is a homeless advocate. 


I am writing this book because I want to raise awareness about homelessness, especially our elderly. Many of the situations in this book are real and they happen to millions. It's a harsh reality that unless we bring awareness to it, will continue. Millions of homeless elderly Americans die on the streets every day. 


If you are homeless or a homeless advocate (group or individual) you can have the ebook for free. I will email you a copy. Click here to send me an email telling me about yourself (whether you are homeless, or an advocate). 

The ebook is available for pre ordering and is only $0.99, of which I will only get $0.35. I made the price super low to be attractive. Unfortunately, I am not able to make it free at this time. Click here to preorder now!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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Junk Yard Bound



I wrote the following in mid-July:

I'm sitting in a garage while Jeremy and scooter work on Betty. This is her second day in the operating room. She came in to have the screwdriver removed from her carburetor She's currently having her starter replaced. After that she needs some cosmetic surgery - her facelift - because when her brakes fell out and she crashed herself into the garage she bent her hood. Yeah, our truck might be self destructive. She might be a suicidal Christine. Her hood got hooked into the garage door, bent back and smashed the windshield. She's a fucking mess, our Betty, but we're not ready to give up on her yet.

We've had her maybe a month now. Been fucking nowhere because the engine sounded like a motorboat and Jeremy thought he could make her purr by rebuilding the carburetor Except Jeremy isn't a mechanic and some spring shot across the dark back porch at 11pm so he couldn't get the choke to open or close properly. The truck doesn't start if the choke won't open, so Jeremy stuck a screwdriver into the carburetor which meant the choke was always open, which meant she was blowing through gas. Two miles to the gallon or something Asinine like that.

Jeremy knows scooter from "the joint" scooter was born with a wrench in his hand. His mom was the first female NASCAR driver in Maryland and she was pregnant with scooter when she placed second for the first time. She had to give up racing when she found out she was pregnant, but it seems like the whole family has been building cars since there have been engines.

They just tried to start her. "Not engaging" but I'm not surprised. Scooter picked us up at 7:30 this morning. We all know this is an all day project. I'll be surprised if we get out of here before the sun goes down. The old starter was smashed into place so hard that the pressure bent and eventually broke off both the fasteners - they look like they're at least a quarter inch thick. I can get $30 back when I turn in the old one but right now there's a lot of measuring. It's not looking good. "This is a short snap. You need a long snap."

Guess they're going to advanced auto. They've got to go to the junkyard too, to get the windshield. It's 10am.

We're listening to the country music station in the garage. Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age but it's not bad. ***

8.12.14

Thursday Crazy Ray's is coming with their tow truck to take away Betty.

FUCK YOU, truck!

After the guys got her running again, the windshield was still cracked in several places – that was the replacement windshield, by the way. We got her home, got Spot to the vet (thank God for small favors) and a couple days later Jeremy decided to take her over to the school right behind my house to align her headlights. Because the fates like fucking with me, she started and we got her to the school, but that was all she wrote. She died next to the dumpster and we had to abandon her there overnight because we couldn't find anyone with a chain to use to tow her. The closest towing service wanted at least $100 to tow her about 500 feet.

A couple friends helped Jeremy push Betty home the next night. But, in the meantime, we discovered that the MVA had sent my title to the address of the old owner. Can't sell the truck without a title, which is pretty much what happens when Crazy Ray's takes it off your hands. I emailed the MVA but they wanted all kinds of information, then when I provided that I still managed to go to the MVA office before they responded -three days later. Jeremy and I sat there half the day, but walked away with the correct title. The woman who helped us printed one out right there, which makes me wonder why they don't do that all the time. Three days later, another title (exactly the same as the corrected one) arrived in the mail.

Crazy Ray's should be giving us $350 for the truck. I got some money back from the insurance company and $25 back from MVA for returning my tags (had them for two months, so mathematically that was disappointing). So I'm trying to convince myself that I will get back at least a third of the money that I sunk into this truck. Still, it's going to take a while for me to come up with enough money to try again with another vehicle. There's a minibus/van with a wheelchair lift for sale less than a mile away. Jeremy and I keep daydreaming about starting a party bus for disabled football fans who need a ride to the stadium and back. My mom mentioned that she was thinking about helping us get our next vehicle, when she gets her inheritance from her father's death, but she also mentioned wanting to remodel the bathroom and remove the 50 foot tree in our front yard. I don't think she's going to get that much money.

I feel like I keep banging my head against the same wall. Summer is ending and I am no closer to moving out of my parents' house than I was six months ago. I'm considering starting a gofundme campaign for my next vehicle, but have a hard time believing that strangers and friends would be willing to help me when I can't even convince my family to assist.


At least for the next couple of months I don't have to worry about gas money or insurance.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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"A person with a disability is much, much more than a handicap. A pediatrician is more than a medical doctor. You're MUCH more than your job description or your age or your income or your output." — Fred Rogers (The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember)



Today Jeremy and I were making the two mile trek to the post office...

(you know, cuz the truck shit the bed last night... We took her over to the school so we would have a wall to use to realign her headlights and she wouldn't start once we got her over there. She's still there, as I type this, and it's making me nervous. A cousin of a friend is supposed to help us get her the 500 feet from the school to Mira Court this evening, but until then anything could happen. There's a cute note on her dashboard – an effort to keep someone from calling to report her as abandoned, or having her towed. Jeremy called a towing company last night but they wanted a minimum of $100. Thing is, I can look out the back window of my house and see the spot where she's parked. She's THAT close. Jeremy says that it's either the starter – which we just replaced last week – or the flywheel. If it's the flywheel it's gonna cost too much to get her fixed because the whole engine has to be removed. To make matters worse, the MVA seems to have sent the title to the truck to the old owners – with my name on it. Without a vehicle, I can't go to the MVA office and they have all of one phone line, which is constantly busy. I emailed them, but the automated reply I received said it can take up to three days for a real answer.)

Anyway, as I was saying...

I sell a lot of stuff online so I have to go to the post office at least once a week. I usually go (or get Jeremy to go) on Wednesday, but that didn't happen yesterday so it HAD to happen today. With my entire family on vacation, it's not like I could get my mom to drive us to the post office. And although my grandmother's car is parked on the driveway, I know that my mother's eagle eyes will notice if it's been moved and she doesn't have it in her to not immediately rat me out. So we walked to the post office.

On the way there we were stopped by a man named Patrick. He runs the Bay Country community counsel (or something like that). I have had previous interactions with him when my sister (the president of the school PTA – yes, the same school where Betty is currently “parked”) tried to get him to help her raise funds for the school by holding a community yard sale. He was not helpful in that regard. Apparently he has been trying to get cut curbs installed in some of the sidewalks in my neighborhood, but couldn't get enough signatures from neighborhood residents. They don't want people digging in front of their houses. I guess having a disabled person killed in front of their house is okay, though. Patrick said that he had been talking to another wheelchair user, but that guy didn't want to get involved. I can't imagine not wanting to make an improvement in your community. The state won't do it unless they are shown that at least one person will use the curbs. How much work is involved? I had the crosswalk cut curb at the school installed with a email and two phone calls.

I am the one person who has the power to make this happen. Though I can't understand why anyone would think it's okay for someone in a wheelchair to have to travel in the road, with the cars, because there's no way on or off the sidewalk.

And, while I'm at it, I wouldn't mind trying to get a sidewalk installed along Eastern Avenue before someone walking to the bus stop gets hit. Because while the percentage of people who would benefit from a cut curb is small, a much larger population would benefit from a sidewalk on a two-lane road with no shoulder.


I wonder if this is the reason why I find myself with a piece of shit truck, living in this neighborhood, and walking these streets. Is all this happening because I'm the only one who can make a difference in this situation? Or am I just looking for meaning in a really bad situation?
Tagged under:

Surviving the Changes of Empire Avenue by @JayeAbdulQader


Originally, this blog was posted on the personal blog for Art4TH Founder, Johnna Sabri.  You can see that here. 



EA, as we all call it, is awesome, but now they are making things a bit more complicated: from dissing longtime members such as Michael Q. Todd, who I know has spent at least $40K on EA, and Reggie Saddler, a well loved player who shares awesome photography, to making it harder for your missions to be completed.

So many of us depend on EA to promote our work and ourselves. I do many missions for me, for Art4TheHomeless and AngelTD. When people see us being shared and supported across the web, it makes a huge difference.

So what do we do about these changes? Well, life is ever changing.  You eitheradapt or stagnate and here's how I'm adapting to the new missions guidelines. You can't ask for people to share, like, or comment anymore.

Surviving the EA Mission Changes:

1. Always assume that the person wants you to like, share and/or comment and do those.  Sally K. Witt and Mary Helen Ferris are always doing this for my missions.

2. Always like and rate the missions. It's just nice.

3. Always comment on the missions--again it's just polite and nice.

4. Give back to your shareholders. It keeps them there.

5. If you want people to share your content, phrase it in such a way that hints at them to do so. Such as: "If you like the post, please show it some love in your networks."

6. Grab a thesaurus and research  different ways to ask for engagement. We gotta keep these pesky admin on their toes.

7.  Monitor your mission grades. If you have an A mission that is later a D mission, try to figure out why.

8. Participate in Misson Events.. It shows you are a team player and besides, people like Erin Boykin have great ides for fun missions.


Besides surviving the mission changes, we also need to survive the overall changes. Some of the changes are pretty good. I like the Leaders Idea and how EA is trying to get members in on helping manage, but one of the major flaws is that several members are being dissed, having their accounts closed with no warning and much more.

How to survive and adapt to the other changes:

1. Find your influencer of your niche and connect with them. Even if they don't respond back. EA makes it super easy to do that--just look for the people with all the likes, high share prices, etc. Chances are they are an influencer.

2. Find people with similar interest as you even if they are competition. Showing you are willing to work with a competitor puts you high on their list of liked profiles.

3. Always reach out to people. Don't be afraid of rejection. What's the worse that could happen? Don't be afraid to tell Louie Bauer that those food pics make you feel hungry! I'm sure he'll appreciate your reply. Speaking of food...I'm hungry!

4. Be patient. Yeah, hard to do. I know. TRUST ME. I know.

5. Have faith. EA is a great tool for internet marketers and also for people like me: bloggers, artists, CEO's of nonprofits, and people like Robert Christian, an awesome media host who supports Art4TheHomeless. 

6. Join communities such as EAVElders and Gangstas. Why? Because they are for us to use. We meet and connect with people like us and the bigger players.

7. Remember, the admin are human, too. In the end, we are all humans with emotions, needs, and emergencies. Life happens.

Basically, we need to treat our fellow EAVers as we would like to be treated. Most of the time that works. You do have a few who don't, but it's okay. That's life.

Do you have any suggestions on how to survive the EA changes? If so feel free to share.