The Front Porch : Destee's Letter To The Family

Discussion in 'The Front Porch' started by Destee, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hello Family,

    I have always been quite personal when it comes to this community. I've never really approached things from a business standpoint, but rather, from a personal one. This is my personal dream, and it shows in every thought i've shared here.

    In an effort to heal myself, and continue being me, the way that i interact here, i feel that i need to say everything that is on my heart and mind. So please bear with me 'cause i'm sorta kinda long winded.

    As many of you know, this community means a lot to me, but most of you don't know the personal sacrifices and struggles i've gone through, to keep it here. Things have been very difficult.

    I started destee because i had a dream and desire to do and be a part of something those before me never had, to fully experience something new. As many of you know, Black folk have historically never been allowed to take full advantage of "new" stuff. We usually are only able to experience these things when others have sucked all of the good out of them, leaving us the scraps. My Grandmother, God Bless her, shared with me how she had to buy "dead mules." The mules were so old, tired, and used, they were no good to her in the fields of Mississippi, but she had a note on them. It was this that really compelled me to become involved in this technology. The Internet was relatively new and i saw the opportunity to be a part of it. It's been hard work, cost money, long hours, but i felt an obligation to do this, for my Mother, Grandmother, and all those before me. They deserved at least one new mule, and i was going to give it to them.

    I did not come into entrepreneurship with a college degree or generations of Family experience in business ownership. No one in my Family had these things to share with me. I knew i was working at a disadvantage, but no one could tell me that i would not be successful. As a matter of fact, i refused to allow those with negative comments around me.

    Because of my lack of knowledge and experience, i don't believe anything that i've done has been "standard operating procedure." To give you an example, i'm a single Mother of 3, and in 1998 i quit my job of 16 years after making my first $100.00 in web development. I was so excited, had faith in my ability, and in God's unwavering love for me. I was ready! I was so encouraged by that $100.00 check, that i didn't immediately cash it, i wanted to just look at it for a while. The Sister that did that business with me, called to ask why i hadn't cashed the check. I told her, i was so grateful and excited, i just wanted to look at it. She said, "Gurl, you better make a copy of it and deposit that check now, while the money is still there!" :)

    It has been a wonderful experience. I've learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and given my own children a glimpse into business ownership, so if they ever decide to go this way, they won't be as blind as their Mother was.

    My Mother, Grandmother, and my Mother's dear darling Husband, passed away in 1995. It was in 1996 that i began studying web development, i buried myself in it. It wasn't intentional, but i wanted to learn, be good at this, and it wasn't easy teaching myself. It happened naturally, the burying myself part. Not to mention, i simply loved what i was doing, so burying myself came easy. Now, 8 years later, i can see that it was also a way for me to deal with the great loss of all these wonderful people in my life. I didn't have to think of my loss or anything other than web site development. Even though it was probably used as a coping mechanism, i don't regret any of it. I still consider myself blessed beyond compare to have been given a desire, mind, and determination to do this.

    As you can imagine, it's been a struggle all along, but 09/11/2001 hit my business really hard, as it did most across the country. I saw many long established web sites die, no doubt for a number of reasons. You all are aware of the "Dot Com Crash," well i made it through that, somehow. Things were so difficult financially, that even Stevie could have looked at my situation and told me, "It's time to let it go, close it down, it's over." Of course i did not see it that way. Quitting was never an option for me, no matter how hard it became. I'm the type of person that finds it very difficult to just quit, and usually, i'm so deep into a thing, that by the time i realize i should quit, so much damage is done that i may as well ride it out to the end.

    Unfortunately for me, the overwhelming pressure of no money, three children to care for, and a sense of failure began to take its toll on my mind, body, and Spirit. I went into what i call a great depression, because i never saw a doctor for this. I considered suicide, my children were paying a great price for "my dream," and doing so without ever suggesting "Momma, you should quit this and get a real job." They stood by me like the protectors of their Mother that they are. No matter what, they were with me.

    It was in 1999 that we first added chat to the site, and in 2001 we added the forums. Much of this while i'm krazee and can't really see a way, but faithful that God would sustain us, somehow. We continued to grow in spite of the fact that there were no new seeds to plant. Flowers just coming up everywhere, from previous plantings. I often thought how amazing this is. We can't even afford to water stuff, yet things continue to grow. Simply amazing. I love this community, and as it grew, i could only love it more. Sisters and Brothers from all over the world, living together peacefully, with positive interactions with each other, our youth and elders together, love oozing out of everywhere, i believed then and now, that God was pleased with what was being done here and that He was with us.

    I had hoped that the financial challenge would simply go away, but it did not. As the community grew, it required more and more of my time and money. As i mentioned above, i loved this place, so giving it all of me was therapuetic to the depression i was experiencing. The majority of my business clients fell to the wayside (due to the depression). One client of mine, in NYC, sent the police to my house because he was so worried about me ... just to give you an idea of how bad it has been. Only those who really loved me, and could afford to stay with me, stayed with me. I don't blame any who left, because i was only a shell of my former self. I was not doing for them what i used to. I was so overwhelmed by everything, a great sense of failure, and it seemed to all come crashing down on me, paralyzing me, keeping me from doing what i knew i needed to do.

    With virtually no money coming in, i struggled to keep the community alive. It was like the last little piece and i could only imagine what its demise would do to me. I neglected my own Family to sustain this Family. I neglected my own house, to keep this house running. I neglected my children, taking what little money we had, to keep this community here. All the while smiling, laughing and interacting with everyone here, while my children saw me crying, depressed and devastated that i'd made such great errors in my life, and didn't know how to correct them. It's been uglier than words can convey.

    The last quarter of 2003, i got the nerve to ask for contributions. That was the most difficult thing for me to do. I felt like i was begging and it only added to my depression. Well, it didn't "only" add to my depression, the love i received lifted my Spirit as well, gave us the money to move to a new server at the end of last year, and upgrade many things here, but i felt like i was begging, felt like i should have been able to do this without asking for help, felt like a failure ... it was very hard on me. Since that first request, we have had approximately 60 Family Members that have given (some twice), and i thank each and every one of you.

    This brings me to now. Let me say first, that the only reason i'm able to share these things with you, some of my deepest, darkest secrets, is because i'm on the other side of the depression. I'm with my Brother in IL and am welcome to stay as long as i want or need. I've been here for about a month. I'm surrounded by my Family that loves me, thinks i'm strong and encourages me in every way to live again.

    I'm sharing all of this with you, because it may be one of the last opportunities i have to let you all know how things really are and have been for me. As i mentioned above, i often chose to support this community and Family over my own. I have a daughter in college and i can't send her a dime, haven't been able to for some time. I have a home that i'm about to lose, that i've been buying for 18 years. There is no money left for me to continue this community. I didn't think the end would look like this, but i anticipated that it could, that it might, so i have no regrets. I went into this with my eyes wide open, but it doesn't lessen the disappointment.

    I spoke to Sister Queenie about this a few days ago, sharing everything with her, and she (and the Moderators) have come up with a plan to save our community. The plan was supposed to already be presented to the Family (April 1st) ... but the fact that i've got to focus on saving my home first, coupled with this exceedingly great joy of no longer being in darkness, which is just as overwhelming as the first ... has me sorta kinda krazee right now. Hmmmm ... looks like i'm gonna be krazee whether i'm depressed or not! ... :) ... because of this i've not been able to do all that needs doing, to present The Plan to the Family, formally.

    Basically, we will be presenting the Family with the option of paying $10.00 per month or $100.00 per year, to have access to all that we offer (and all we'll be able to add in the future). Family rates are $15.00 per month or $150.00 per year, for all those Members living in the same house. All those who have already contributed, will get full credit for those contributions, beginning on May 1st. If you gave $100.00 before, you're paid up for a year. If you gave $5.00 before, you need to give $5.00 more to be paid up for the month of May.

    May 1st is the scheduled effective date, where if you have not purchased a Premium Membership (as outlined above), you will not be able to interact here, only read. We also want to build in a way so that new Members joining us will have a 2 week trial period, full access, so they can see how we live and make an informed decision on joining. Since it's not "formally" being presented at this time, you all have an opportunity to share your views regarding it in this thread.

    If you'd like to pay toward your Premium Membership, whichever fits your situation, please feel free to do so via our Contribution Form, and you'll be given full credit effective May 1st.

    Family, I don't know how things will end up. I don't know if this Premium Membership effort will be successful. I don't know that this community means to anyone, what it has meant to me. I don't know that you all will be willing to help. So, just in case you aren't ... please know that i love you and i love this place, and i thank God for the opoprtunities i've had to interact and learn from you all. I have been given the desire of my heart. We have the greatest online community for African Americans ever. We have a home that is full of love, peace, knowledge, wisdom, laughter, and joy. We have already experienced these things Family, so if we get nothing else, if nothing is ever added to it, we have been blessed and are successful.

    Again, if you have any questions or comments, please share them here.

    Much Love and Peace.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  2. Nita

    Nita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    WoW!!!

    Destee,
    First I want to say that I thank you for ALL you have sacrificed on this communities behalf. I know this is NOT an easy job, and it does take time and a lot of money. I myself have been through the same problems that you spoke about. I wanted death...I wanted to give up on everything, but there was something inside my spirit that would NOT allow it. This forum has always been a home to me. I received love the first day I walked in...and have been getting the same caring and undying love ever since. One while, problems kept me away. I was struggling so I know what it is to lose everything. My kids needed things I could NOT supply. Bills pilling up. I was a mental wreck. Then I came back home. Here to the forum. I found life again. Something I had lost for a looong time. I couldn't find it in my friends because they were too busy...I couldn't find it in my home, because it was broken and I couldn't find it in me, because I was too an empty shell. This place has brought life
    back into me. If it wasn't for you Destee, Khasm, MBA, Alkebulan, Jehiah, Python, Gladiator, Changes, Twision, Triniti, Story, Foxi, Misterliberator, $$RICH$$, Bishop, Blue, Sage and so many others encouraging me, I don't know where I'd be because I was on edge. I just wanted to let you know that you have my support. I will fight just as hard to see that this place will always be here. If you need anything, you need just ask, I can't be
    having you all out on the streets.
    I just wanted to say thank you sister, and I love you. God has allowed our paths to cross and I thank him everyday for that. Remember, lean on me my sister, I'm always here to give a hand.
    ~Nita~
    :heart:
     
  3. watzinaname

    watzinaname Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nita, I feel ya sister.
    Initially I was going to send Destee a pm, but I decided to suck it up and just post. You know I recently posted in another thread about how i wanted to read something from you about how this came to be, well, here it is.
    I'm taking a deep breath before posting this, but we are family, sometimes loving, sometimes fussing and feuding, sometimes joking and forgiving, but yes, a family. And I am not writing this for folks to say, poor Watz. Im writing this to perhaps get the ball rolling.
    I look forward to coming to this forum everyday. I love writing poetry. I have forgotten I even had this talent until last year when frankly I thought I was going to lose my marbles. So I began writing again, looked for a poetry forum, and there was destee. The holiday season last year was particularly difficult, with my father's death, the breakup of my marraige, and being forced financially to live in a place where I have no relatives of my own around. But with the help of God, a few good friends and family over the phone, and this forum, I made it to 2004.
    Some things have gotten better for me, some things, worse. For the last couple months, I haven't been exactly sure when the rent was even going to be paid. But somehow it has. Yes, I have considered getting a second job, but my youngest has special needs, and I simply can't do some of the things that others are free to do.
    Enough about me. Destee, I think you should be so proud of what you have done, for shooting for that star. If I had had half the ambition and belief in myself, I wouldn't be in the situation that I am in now. I really admire you, and what you have done.
    I am going to dig deep, and come up with the 10.00 and more as soon as I can. Now come on, gang, Let's all do what we can to save this special place. Whew....now, I can say a thousand times to myself how I don't believe I just typed this, lol, as I finally sit down and eat dinner.
     
  4. Nita

    Nita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    :)

    Thank you sister watz...
    I believe if we all really think about it 10$ a month is not alot especially when we think about all the pointless stuff we invest in everyday. This will help US...so why NOT support this forum.????I f you cn't afford it, let somebody know...we may start an adopt a member program or something.
    Anyway thanks for your courage watz...and Destee you too.... ;)
    ~Nita~
     
  5. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Do you Take Food Stamps?

    I tried to use my EBT card but it got rejected.

    Manasiac :uzi:
     
  6. gempis

    gempis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Dear Destee,

    I certainly do understand about lack of money. I've been poor my entire life. I do get why you have to do this. But it makes me sad because we're going to lose most of, if not all, of our youthful voices. Teens don't have credit cards. It makes me very sad to think we're not going to be able to read beautiful works from our children anymore. :(

    gempis
     
  7. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    from the heart of $$RICH$$ as alwayz u have me 110% to back u
    in anyway i can at any point for whatever reason i've been here
    far too long growing from ground up to near the tallest building
    i am very proud of u sistah for everything u have done and how u
    made all this dream come true for many poet's , writters , and our
    people and never mumble now time we all support u an this worthy
    cause to keep every light every forum / chat and all the wonderful
    toyz , gifts and hope alive thank u ....i will back u through any fire
    know this .........family i am a full support please become one too
     
  8. Nita

    Nita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yes

    That was one of my concerns as well gemphis,
    the youth and those who may not be able to afford it which is why I suggested maybe a sponsor type program where we adults can sponsor a child or member????Jus puttin that out there....
    What I really want to see is people supportin so that there is no need for membership fees so that ALL can have access to the forum. I believe we can do this family, I know it's a big task but I just have faith. We just gotta pull together.Whatever Destee decides is best...I'm here.
     
  9. MzBlkAngel

    MzBlkAngel Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    For one let me say: I am very proud of u my beautiful sister for everything u have done...without your dream and hard work it would of never been a destee.com THANK YOU

    For me
    This is my home from day one i support you in all ways that i can.
    we are a family that have bond and grown.....and still growning
    i am happy to have found here....to release and express like never before
    I love me some DESTEE.COM the people i have meet and those i talk with on
    a daily....we have shared, laughed and cried...as family.....this site means alot to me....actually as i ramble on..its no words to place what destee.com have done for me.......so i will just end here......
    I AM A TRUE SUPPORT

    Angel
     
  10. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Destee for all you've done for us. To my fellow community members: I think we should look at this as an opportunity to ensure that Destee.com will be around for a long time. I have also been financially struggling since 9/11. Indeed much of the country has. In these times prioritization is necessary to make it through the month, I only spend money on things that are important & necessary to me (and my family). Few things are more important to me than this community. Although I have been struggling too, I can afford to give $10 a month to keep my "home" alive. I will be selecting the $10 a month option because I couldn't afford to give $100. If any can't afford to select the annual fee, I encourage them to choose the $10 monthly option. I also encourage everyone to give!!!! This community means too much, and has done too much for all of us! :help:
     
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