This is something that I have been turning over in the back of my mind for a while, what next to do with BlackRibbon and how, but now is time. I think it's related to my previous entry, even if it might not seem to be.
It's time to start debuting this. It's time for the website.
This is no small undertaking for me. I know some about websites, but not enough to start one, just enough to make one better (my background is in ColdFusion, SQL, some PHP, and I could pick up Java quickly enough, but I don't know much html and nothing about CSS, or how to make things pretty). Luckily I've found some help from others (many thanks to you), but I'll have to work to add the other content needed for Stage 1 of the live site.
The real undertaking, though, is the risk. True, it would be hard for this to fail financially because it's not a fiscal move, but it could fail and that could hurt. I want so much to give this to the world, to bring people together to help each other so that, in some way, I have made the world a better place by helping to make the people in it better. To strive for this with something that means so much to me and have it go nowhere at all, to sit unused and unrealized...*shakes head* that is not the ending I'm looking for.
But, I will try, and I will try my hardest for this. I will put everything I can into it, and to bringing people into the fold. That's part of the reason for this entry, really. I want to tell you, my readers, about this so that when the time comes, when the site is live, you can tell others, to spread the word.
Really, it's just about doing what you can, whatever that may be, and telling others (when the time is right) is one of the more important things you can do.
We'll see how this goes. Here's to hoping well because I know what this could do and that whatever effort I have to put into it is worth it.
I've been putting for ideas about Black Ribbon for the past week or so but thus far haven't actually asked anyone to do anything. This is about to change, because I want to see this movement in more hearts than my own. Instead of asking for you to go out and change the world, I'm going to ask something a bit more practical but more difficult in its own way.
I ask that you do what you can to help others.
It sounds easy at first because it looks tailor-made to just the level of activity that you desire, and to a point it is. I won't ask of anyone more involvement than they have time for or can give. I will ask for what you can give, though, whatever it is.
It could just be seeing a diary entry on the recent entries of someone who is lonely and leaving an encouraging note.
It could be a phone call to a friend going through a rough time.
It could be something more difficult like confronting someone to encourage them to get the help they need.
It could even be going out and telling others about Black Ribbon and encouraging them to do the same.
On the flip side, I offer this: if any of you who reach out need me, I am here. I hope you are here for each other as well. That is what Black Ribbon is all about, after all. A group of people that are there for each other, encouraging and understanding when they can, but there even when they can't.
I also offer this one addition thing: anyone out there who is truly committed to this and who contacts me (in a private note, please) I will send you a black ribbon. I know, you could go out and buy one yourself, but consider this a more symbolic gesture.
And that's it. That's all that there is to this. Reach out to others to help when you can and for help when you need.
If you would like to contact me about anything, feel free to email me at blackribbonmovement AT gmail DOT com.
I wear the black ribbon because I am committed to helping others fight their inner demons.
I wear the black ribbon because I am committed to fighting my own.
I wear the black ribbon in recognition that everyone has things that they struggle with, dark parts of their life.
But most of all, I wear the black ribbon so that everyone knows that you're never alone.
Not quite last in this series of entries about Black Ribbon is the organization. I've saved it for so far in for good reason, as to understand why I think things should be the way I do is dependent on the other things I've talked about.
It will probably be easier to explain what I do want by what I don't, so let's try that, shall we?
I don't want this to be a centrally organized and controlled movement. I don't want a leader and shy away from even wanting a figurehead. I don't want one website, I don't want it to be in one city or even country. Most importantly of all, I don't want to know about every Black Ribbon community/website/etc that there is.
Now here's why.
Unlike most movements designed to help, this isn't one group of people helping another but one group helping itself. As such, I don't see the need for a central organizing power as long as the basic principles are maintained. Also, I don't want to stand in the way of someone getting help because they feel that everyone needs to go through some central site. I want this movement taken to places that I am not. I want anyone who is motivated to take it somewhere new and share it with new people, to help new people. I want people who travel in circles that I've never even heard of to know about this and benefit from it.
In fact, it would be my dream to travel to a new city, one far from here that I've never been to or heard of, and see someone wearing a black ribbon.
Basically this all boils down to the fact that I don't want to stand in the way of anyone getting helped by this if I can. It's why I hesitate to label what Black Ribbon helps with because I don't want to have someone think that, because their problem is different, they can't come here and be welcome. It's why I don't want one centralized site so that this movement can be taken places I've never even thought to go.
All this to share hope, because hope is kind of a big deal.
"Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have" ~H Jackson Brown, Jr.
The stories that you'll find within the Black Ribbon movement are an important part, but without a doubt the most integral part of this whole thing is people. In fact, the stories, the organization (next entry), everything is about the people. That's where all the power for change is and the greatest resource possible for this.
As for what kind of people this movement needs, well, that would be most any kind, really. People who have struggled and overcome difficult things are important in the encouragement they can give others, but those who are struggling now can do the same. True, maybe not as often, but that is not what is important. The important part is simply that they try to help someone else. Really, that's half of the movement.
The other half of the movement are those that need the help, that need the encouragement, that need others to give them a hand so that they can better themselves. The deceptive part of this, though, is that, at one time or another, everyone involved could play both roles.
Everyone is capable of helping someone else, and everyone needs a little help or some words of encouragement sometimes. This movement is in recognition of both sides to everyone and tries to get people together to help each other.
In another way it's taking something dark and making light out of it. The things that some struggle through are extremely difficult to overcome and can be incredibly painful. This movement gives them an opportunity to take those experiences and put them to good use to help others are they used to (and in some ways may still) be, to take their struggle and use it to help someone else so that those who are going through similar things can feel less alone and have more hope.
It is, after all, a movement of hope.
So spread hope and lend a hand (or an ear). Give a hand up when you can, take one when you need it, and in the end we'll all fly higher for it.
I know, another entry about this idea that isn't even mine originally, just something that I want to see done. But what can I say, I write about those things important to me.
One of the things that I really liked about the site that this was organized through last time were the stories. Some of the members posted stories about what they had been through, where they had been, and also what had changed and where they were now. It was deeply personal, and even though the subject matter was very dark it still managed to be uplifting.
Because these were people who had struggled with serious issues, things like eating disorders, depression, self injury, and even if they couldn't quite be considered fully recovered yet they were definitely improved. They were better, and that's where the hope was and where I think it can be.
Imagine yourself as someone struggling with these kinds of things but without knowing anyone else who is. Then you go to this site and you read these people's stories, and at first you think, "This could be me." The stories are real and raw, and they are powerful. And then you get to the end, and even if it's not bright it's brighter and there is hope, and you can't help but think, "That could be me."
That's the heart of it all, really. Any hope I can bring to those that need it, any hope that I can help anyone else bring, even just some words of understanding and encouragement...if someone out there who is on a rough spell, who is struggling, reads these and their life is better for it then any effort I have to put forth is worth it.
Really, it's about hope. Hope always. (that may be familiar to some of you reading this)
I've been thinking recently about how I haven't had much of an impact on the world around me. True, I have had some, but I feel that I could give so much more which deserves to be given because it should be in the world. Then this morning (for some reason) I was reminded of something from my past: The Black Ribbon Movement.
This isn't my movement or my idea, and it didn't start with me. It started with someone that I know (though before I knew her), but I was touched by the idea of it the moment that I first heard about it.
Here's where I try to explain what it is, and probably don't do that good of a job. We'll see.
I think the easiest way to describe what the Black Ribbon Movement is is to tell you what it means to wear the black ribbon. To explain this, I'm going to tell you why I wear the black ribbon (I don't yet, but I will soon start to).
I wear it because I am dedicated to helping others overcome their inner demons (some of you may know this).
I wear it because I am dedicated to overcoming my own.
I wear it to say that there are dark parts to everyone, that everyone has troubles.
Most of all, I wear it to remind everyone out there that you're never alone.
The last part is the most important; it's the basis of the movement. Basically, it's just people that are there for others who are having hard times and who know that others are there for them when they have hard times. It's a place of support, both in giving and receiving. Everyone who is a part of it is part of both sides.
It's not therapy, it's not going to magically fix anyone, but it is there to help. More specifically, it is there because there are people there that will do what they can to help, even if it's just listening. It's a place where you can talk about, and help others with, things from depression to eating disorders to self injury to loneliness to heart-ache to homesickness, and anything in between. It's there to help with the dark parts of life because no one should have to go it alone. No one.
So you see, it's a self contained movement with no higher organization. The black ribbon is a sign of your dedication to help yourself and others and is there to remind you and everyone who sees it that you're never alone.
This movement, though, is mostly not happening right now. I want to change that, but I need your help. Tell other people about this, in your own words or in mine(it's a great first step). Spread the word and do what you can to help. This means a lot to me, as I've been doing things like this for years but only on an individual basis.
Let's make it big so that everyone knows that they're not alone.