It’s April already??? How did that happen? So, it may appear that I have been MIA lately, but if you follow me on social media, you probably have noticed that I shifted my focus to concentrate from writing to focusing more on making YouTube videos… and have still been making a lot of appearances. The YouTube videos are something I have wanted to do for awhile and the timing just felt right to start doing them, so I dove right in. They have been well-received so far which is really exciting! I would love to get at least 1,000 subscribers though, so if you aren’t subscribed, please do so. It would really help me out.
Anyway… Here’s what else I have been up to… My reign as Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2018 is about half way over already, which is hard to believe. It has been an incredible experience so far. Aside from being actively involved on the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities and the awards ceremony coming up very soon, I have also been scheduling appearances at a lot of schools lately. They’re fun and I really enjoy hearing some of the questions and comments that the kids ask. Plus, I think the adults learned a lot too.
Going back though (since it has been awhile since I have posted an update)… January was a very, very busy month for me, but it was filled with really unique experiences that I feel helped me truly grow as a person. I had a second newspaper interview with the wonderful Elena at the Tullahoma News. We discussed more about my reign as MWTN. You can read the full article here.
Also, be sure to check out the tv interview I had with NECAT television. This was one of my earliest interviews that was filmed shortly after I was crowned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gldrnnIgK0Y&feature=youtu.be To read more about that particular experience, click here.
As I mentioned in my last MWTN post, in January, I also had the opportunity to discuss veterans issues with ajnashville.com You can check out the full podcast here. Alex is a fantastic person and I was thrilled that he asked me to be on his podcast.
At the beginning of January, I also had my big music & comedy fundraiser. It was a success and everyone had a great time. There were 60-70 people in attendance. Some of my musicians even pulled off a surprise and my friend Danny and his fiancee performed a cover of Keith Urban’s song “Shine” for me at the event. As you all know, that song is very special to me. Of course, I cried like a baby. It was my favorite moment of the night, but everyone did a fabulous job and I am so, so proud of everyone who performed that night. I had 3 comedians and 3 artists perform. It was easily one of my favorite things I’ve done so far. I love exposing everyone to new talent and to see it come together and see everyone come to support me was pretty incredible.
Here is the video of them performing the song: https://www.facebook.com/MWTN2018/videos/1390760381053118/
Danny & Dani
Toward the end of January, I also had the opportunity to speak at the ABLE Youth Super Sports Saturday Parents Connection meeting. That experience was a growing experience for me for sure. For the first time, I really saw the concerns from the parents perspectives and saw what they worry about as a parent with a child with a disability. While it was hard to see the fear and concern on some of their faces, I hope that I also provided them with some sense of peace too. I was so nervous about that particular speaking engagement because I knew that these parents needed encouragement. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to give back to a program that provided so many opportunities for me growing up. It is the single most important program that I have ever been involved with and I was grateful for the opportunity to give back in a small way. For more information on the ABLE Youth program, go to ableyouth.org
In February, my friend Samantha had me visit her Head Start Program. I read to the kids (and got A LOT of hugs) during their Reading Is Fundamental program for ages 3-4 in Murfreesboro.
In February, I also took a tour of the Permobil facility in Lebanon, TN. They are a wheelchair manufacturer. Everyone was so nice and helpful and it was really awesome to get the history of Permobil and an insider’s peek into what all goes into making a wheelchair specifically for an individual with accessibility needs.
One of the biggest things (on a personal level) that I’ve done so far is that I faced my fears and reached out to the Nashville Rescue Mission and they had me come and speak to the women in the Drug & Alcohol Life Recovery program last month. It was something that was laid on my heart to do, so I just went for it. I knew in my heart that someone could benefit from my story. The women impressed me and what surprised me the most was how encouraging they were to me about sharing my own story (even some of the hard chapters). They asked if I would ever come back and (of course) I told them if I was asked, I would definitely come back. There were lots of stories and hugs shared, lots of smiles and a few tears. It was such a humbling and incredible experience. If you aren’t familiar with what the Nashville Rescue Mission is, go check out NashvilleRescueMission.org – You can also read about my incredible past experience I had last year here.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at the Clarksville Chive masquerade ball. I got emotional when speaking to the group though because they mean so, so much to me. You can learn more about The Chive and what they do/have done here. It was an honor to speak to them and share what they mean to me… To date, that group was the biggest group I have spoken to so far. There were 200-300 people in attendance that night. Special shout out to my awesome friend, Justin, for capturing these great shots from the night!
So much more is coming, so keep an eye out. Most importantly, please please PLEASE subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already. I’ve had over 20,000 views in about 6 weeks (which is AMAZING) but I really need to get to 1,000 subscribers. Check it out: youtube.com/MeantToBeLindseyB
To end on a completely random note… This is experience is helping me find my voice in more productive ways, one day and one experience at a time. Last week, I was at a concert and there was a TON of construction going on outside of the arena where the concert was held. When we tried to get to the main entrance, the ramp was completely torn up and gone. Also, the ramp at the side entrance we would normally go into was blocked by one of the tour buses (even though there was security out there monitoring the area)… A cop helped us get onto the sidewalk, but I felt like I should not have had to do that just to get into the main entrance of one of the top rated arenas in the country. I went to address it at the Fan Relations desk, and when I felt that they weren’t taking my complaint seriously, I went to speak with the security at the side entrance we normally go into. They immediately got a manager who was very apologetic and recognized that we have been coming to a lot of events there for many years. He assured me that the issue would be addressed. When we got out of the concert, the bus had been moved. Keep in mind, it was a tour bus for a major artist and the bus only had to be moved a few feet to not block the ramp. I was very pleased that they handled the situation.
This whole experience of becoming an advocate on a bigger level has given me the courage and confidence to speak up when small changes can make a big difference… not just for myself but for others with disabilities as well. What I have learned is that sometimes people just don’t know that there is an issue if you don’t speak up. The old me would have gotten frustrated and either gotten mad or just not said anything at all, but I have learned that if you approach it the right way, sometimes things can get accomplished easier. Also, expressing gratitude toward someone for helping make these small changes can go a long way as well!