I couldn’t do anything that I do without you. Everything that I publish is a creation of my own mind, and took hours of work with my own hands. As an artist, I am the writer, the photographer, the graphic designer, and often, I am also the model. Oh, and I am also the website designer, the marketing manager, and if you count the title I put on LinkedIn to impress people in suits, the creative director. But I’m not really an artist. I’m just an imperfect girl with a trailer park past, piecing together a pretty, fucked-up puzzle. And quite honestly, I have played this game too long. The tattoo on my right arm is the html code for a heart symbol because blogging, and pouring my heart on the internet, is what I have done for more than half of my life. From 2005 to 2008 I blogged actively on Myspace as I grew from a small town teen to a traveling twenty-something, then from 2009 to 2013 I shared daily posts about my life in Miami, on Facebook and then Instagram. From 2013 to 2016, I built and ran a parenting lifestyle blog, which made less money than the amount it would take for me to say it was worth it. In 2016, I called bullshit on the influencer industry and kinda made a big beautiful mess of it all and somehow landed myself all over tv with a signed literary contract. The only thing I wanted after that was a quiet life while I tried to write a book, but instead, I lost a couple years running away and falling apart and finally learning that the static noise I kept trying to escape has been in my mind all along. And then I lost it too, somewhere in the process. And yes, I did the most dramatic hipster thing ever and deleted almost all my old content (like, trashed the files). I needed — and felt like I deserved — a blank canvas. But as per usual with these sorts of things, I gained perspective. Accepting the way my brain works forced me to learn new manners of expression, when all my formerly trustworthy words began to fail me. All my gifts turned to curses, and I went to frantic efforts to figure out what the hell was wrong and how to fix it. For the first time in 29 years, I was able to grant myself the freedom it takes to bring my imagination to life. If authenticity is really the key, I’d like to think I am ready to open a lot of new doors. But in order to be so raw and real, I had to first come to terms with the fact that maybe those doors will never open. Maybe I will never write a book, and maybe I will never sell anything at all, and maybe I am perfectly okay with that. Because the reward for me lies not, contrary to popular belief, in the attention — or the money. I am committed to minimalism and the last thing I want is more material shit in my life. All I want to do is connect with you. One on one, I want to reach you. I want to relate to you. Through my words and images, I hope you feel even a fraction of my electric emotions. In your reaction, I hope for nothing more than an acknowledgement of our shared humanity. I want you to be my witness. I want you to take from my art whatever it is you may need in the moment. I’ve whored my home page out with advertisements from exclusive networks that took hard work and high page views to join, but never paid more than maybe the electricity bill. I bought into a few pyramid scheme affiliate traps over the years, spamming all my high school acquaintances with dumb products in an attempt to follow the cookie-cutter instructions for becoming successful on the interwebz. And since I went viral for quitting it all, of course, I’ve done the typical #sponsored shit. And it sucked out every ounce of my soul for far too long. I am lucky enough to have a roof over my head, and a house full of chaotic and sometimes completely crazy love. I am thankful for basic shit like dental health care coverage and clean water. There have been times in my life that I have had way less. I still found ways to hope. There have been times in my life I did not know where I would sleep, or where I would eat, next. There have also been times in my life that I have eaten $200 steak nightly and driven a fucking Mercedes. I woke up every morning for years on the 25th floor of a condo overlooking a gorgeous skyline – miserable. None of it fucking means anything. NONE OF IT. Nothing money can buy you will make you happy. In my darkest moments, I have been grateful for simply feeling my feet on the ground, and doing nothing more. So, I am always deeply humbled by the messages I receive from fans and readers encouraging me to continue writing and doing what I do, and begging me to create something they can buy from me. Admittedly, sometimes in the past, they were so overwhelming for me that I would shut down, unable to take myself seriously. The last thing we need in this world is another ‘success’ story, and the world is a mess as it is. I think most of us have been haunted by questions lately like ‘why’ and ‘how’ — I just kinda drowned in them. And just before the lights went out in my underwater eyes, I woke up. Thank you, for teaching me that art can heal, and that I can trust the community that believes in it. Thank you for believing in me. I have chosen to make my work on my website and social media platforms public and free, because I believe that art should be accessible to everyone. Please always feel free to share anything I post, in any way that you see fit, with anyone who needs to see it. If you choose to steal my work for financial gain, I hope you someday learn the joy of creating something with your own two hands, and therefore have the privilege of watching your wildest dreams come to life. Reality is so much more fun this way. ♥ ♥ Josi Denise your voluntary contribution to JosiDenise.com goes towards the cost of these sorts of things: photography equipment and maintenance, everything from studio lighting to camera lenses graphic design apps and subscription services such as adobe creative cloud website hosting, domain renewal, security and backups coffee and the occasional donut for my fat happy ass event fees, tickets for industry related conferences or festivals, print materials premium wordpress plugins to create a membership program and allow digital downloads wardrobe and props for photos, travel expenses for photoshoot trips, makeup and accessories campaign expenses for charitable fundraising projects to give back any brilliant ideas our community has for creative collaborations or causes If you cannot afford to contribute, please keep enjoying what I post without any obligation. Only you can place a value on what you gain from me, and what I give to you. Only you know how much you can afford to spend, and your priorities in life. I am thankful for every single dollar, but please, don’t give me your last one.