Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Thank you:

Kevin- for ALWAYS putting a smile on my face, and going that extra mile for your fans all the time. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Congratulations to you and Danielle, she is a very lucky woman.

Nick- for teaching me that I don’t have to let anything slow me down, to pick myself up when life gets tough, and to never EVER give up hope. And thank you, especially for your speech in Philadelphia on July 24th. I wrote down every word.

Joe- for teaching me that it’s okay to laugh at myself and to take things in stride. You have the biggest heart in the world and it’s clear to see.

Greg (I’m probably the only one that doesn’t call you Garbo :) )- for being the most awesome bass player in the whole wide world and the rest of the universe. Although I was looking for more serious answers during the interview, “anti-gravity time” and the rest of your replies made laugh out loud. And I’m glad you liked our fan book, too.

John Taylor, Ryan, and Jack- for having Musical Exploration Nights. Music is my passion in life and I love that you take the time to share with us your musical taste and your collection. Bulldozer RULES. You are the best band and without you, there would be no Jonas Brothers.

Caroline, Ray, Miguel, Garret, Randy –for adding the third dimension that IS The H0rns and the strings! I love the element of music you add to the songs, it’s beautiful!

Mr. and Mrs. Jonas and Frankie – for being the greatest parents! Your love, support and guidance, makes everything possible.

John Fields, Phil McIntyre, Rob Brenner, Big Rob (You are for REAL, and that’s no lie!), my crew buddy Gio (I believed you! haha), Rob Hoffman (Your pictures are mind-blowingly awesome) Ned Specktor (We totally got a picture with you anyway! :) ) and everyone on tour! The list goes on and on! (If I forgot anyone, THANK YOU.)

And to Christa Black, to whom this blog is dedicated. Thank you for sharing your story with us everyday. It is indescribable to even begin to say how much reading your story and listening to the lessons you teach has affected me. Knowing that I was not alone is the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you.

This Really Happened (Part 7)

The crowd went wild. Nick, Kevin, and Joe were making their way to the stage for their interview and on camera performance. As they came to the end of the catwalk where we stood, we watched as they waved to the fans with big smiles to match our own. Suddenly, Kevin Jonas walked over and found me in the crowd. Outstretching his arm to me, he took my hand and shook it warmly. “We got your letter, Emily. Thank you so much, it means a lot to us.” Speechless, I shook his hand back, beaming my smile up at him. When they took their places for the performance, I turned to the girl who had hugged me as I cried and asked her with a dreamlike tone, “Did you see that? Kevin just shook my hand…Did that really just happen?” And it did.

Later I would find out when watching the taped show at home, that Meredith had mentioned this very story during the show.
“And it’s more than just meeting these folks, you know, because they’re great singers and they’re fun. A little girl in the crowd here gave me a letter to give to them to say thank you. She was very, very ill a few years back and it was their music that inspired her to hope and to get better and to be brave.”

And with that, I cannot stop saying thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For everything that the Jonas Brothers, their family, their band, and their entire crew do everyday to inspire thousands of fans like myself.

Mission Accomplished (Part 6)

And suddenly, after what seemed like an eternity, the boys were in the city, bringing the sunshine with them. We waited anxiously as the band arrived, hollering their names from our side of the street, hoping to get a glimpse. Once we were allowed into the plaza, we took our spots right at the edge of the catwalk.

There we were, ready for the moment we had been waiting for, the moment I had been just dying for, was finally about to happen. I was right there, practically sitting on the stage, in perfect position to hand my letter to a Jonas.

During sound check, I stretched my arm holding the letter out to Joe, serenading the crowd as he was a few inches from me. But he didn’t take it. Disappointed, I understood that he was probably not allowed to take things from fans during a performance. Determined, however, I was going to try again.

Going back inside the TODAY Show building, the Nick, Kevin, and Joe, left the crowd and were replaced by the hosts. After a few minutes of talking, one of the hosts, asked us on camera how long we had been waiting, impressed by both our dedication and lack of sleep. When the bit was over, Meredith Vierra, the show’s anchor, literally got down on her hands and knees to greet the fans standing around the stage.

When she had gotten over to our side, I held out my hands and asked, voice shaking, “Meredith? Could you give this to the Jonas Brothers, please?” “Sure!” She said happily, taking the letter from my hand. “You can read it, if you want,” I said to her as she opened up the paper.

Reading my words, she took her hand to her mouth and turned to me, eyes watering in the crowd, half delirious from my lack of sleep, half caused by my overwhelming emotions. “This is amazing,” Meredith said, “I’m going to hand deliver this to them right now!” I couldn’t believe it. I had accomplished my goal. I was so happy. I hugged a girl next to me, someone I had just met, and cried. Little did I know it was about to get even better.

The Letter (Part 5)

As my friends and I walked up and down the line of 400+ people, we held out our hands to perfect strangers and got them to join us in singing and dancing right there on the sidewalk. We formed a parade, walking up and down the street, inviting people to join us and sing along. Everyone was so happy to be there, even in the pouring rain.

Before I knew it, many of those strangers had become my friends, and some, almost like family. That kind of magic stemmed from just one common bond: The Jonas Brothers music. Music has the power to connect the people of the world. Regardless of age, gender, race, or religion, music is the one thing everyone in the world can share.

From America to Argentina, fans around the world would like to thank them for everything that they do for us everyday. Because whether we speak English, Spanish, French, or German, music will always be a language the whole world speaks.

But unlike most of the girls in the line with us, I was on a mission to do just that. I was on a mission to thank the boys for everything they had taught me and for being my inspiration over the past years. I had worked very hard on a letter I had written to them and was determined to give it to them on Friday. The letter read as follows:

Dear Kevin, Joe, and Nick,
I hope you're having a great time
today. I just wanted to send you a
much deserved thank you.

"You just don't know it", but your
music actually helped to
save my life.

Last winter, I was hospitalized with
a very serious medical condition. Every
time I was feeling down and out, and I
had run out of hope, I would remember
your lyrics.

Countless times you have reminded me
to Hold On, Take a Breath, and that
even Underdogs can come out on top.

A few days after I left the hospital,
a friend and I went to a concert in
Reading, PA. By pure fate, we found
rows of empty seats FRONT ROW and had
the time of our lives!

That was the first night I heard A Little
Bit Longer. After that night I knew
I was going to be fine.

Thank you, Kevin, thank you, Joe, and
thank you, Nick for all your hard work
and dedication to all of your fans!

Thank you so very much,
Emily Wisniewski

I had read the letter to my friends, causing tears to flow from our eyes, and hugs to be shared. I read the letter to a news reporter, breaking down in the middle, sobbing in the back seat of his car, still soaking wet. I recited the letter to a pair of independent film makers, after eloquently sharing the all of the reasons why I was a fan, and how incredible these three boys from New Jersey truly are, leaving everyone around me speechless. But it wasn’t enough. Nick, Joe, and Kevin, needed to know.

Something Was Missing (Part 4)

It had been a little over a year since I was afflicted by my disorder, but even fully recovered, something was missing. My love for the Jonas Brothers grew more and more. Not only are they exponentially talented musicians, they are also kind, intelligent, funny and generous people, that inspire their fans everyday. But something was missing. I needed to say thank you.
On June 19th, 2009, I got my chance.

My friends and I had just gotten out of school on Tuesday and planned on going to see the Jonas Brothers perform on the TODAY Show on Friday. Because we wanted to be the first ones in line, we left Pennsylvania for New York City on Wednesday, the 17th, to make our way to Rockefeller Plaza. After a few hours drive, we realized we had gotten lost in Brooklyn. But with a few calls to the TODAY Show, calling on strangers walking in the street, and a reset on our car’s GPS, we hand managed to make it to Rockefeller Center.

We saw the flags, we saw the statue, but we could not find this “Rockefeller Plaza”. In panic, we drove around and around the Center until finally, my friends and I decided to get out of the car and search. After about twenty minutes of literally sprinting through the streets of New York, we returned to the car, confused and lost.

When I had called the show, the man told me that the line for the show started at the Citi Bank right in the plaza. Suddenly, the bank’s logo caught my eye, and as the rest of my group waited in traffic, I took off my flip flops and ran barefoot through the street into what looked like an alley way between buildings.

I entered into an office and asked the doorman, who was heading on his way out, if he knew where Rockefeller Plaza was. Puzzled, but kind, he told me that I was in fact, in Rockefeller Plaza. Ecstatic, I flew out of the building and back down the street to tell my friends what I had found.

We got to the Citi bank, confused by the lack of fans, and asked both persons from the TODAY show and Rockefeller Center if we were in the right location. To our surprise, it turned out, we were first in line. Walking on air, we took our spot on the sidewalk and prepared to wait.

We waited for hours before anyone showed up to join us. It was then our group grew from four to eight with the addition of other fans anxious to see the Jonas Brothers on Friday. The eight of us began to talk and became fast friends, playing rapid-fire rounds of “Guess that Song” on our Jonas-filled iPods, and doing The Hoe Down Throw Down and Honor Roll in the Plaza at two o’clock in the morning. But that night, it began to rain.

It rained for the next 24 hours, a constant down pour, soaking us to the core. But we stuck through it, darting in and out of Rockefeller Center to take turns underneath the blow driers to try and get dry, as the line grew and grew. Around 4pm on Thursday, and what seemed like a week and half spent in the rain with no sleep at all, the fans had arrived.

And then I listened. (Part 3)

I told my guidance counselor back when the school year had started that I felt like something was wrong. We had figured after some research that I had an anxiety disorder. As I got progressively worse, our prognosis changed, and it was clear I needed to get help soon. Before it was too late. My condition was so severe, I was checked into a recovery center on February 14th, 2009. It was there I would spend the next four weeks until transferring to an out-patient program.

I have been a fan of the Jonas Brothers since October 8th, 2006. I bought Its About Time and Jonas Brothers. I loved the music, the boys, it was great.

But for the first time, I listened.

It was falling apart, I was feeling lost. All my hope was gone.
My empty room was so loud, and it took too many tears to drown it out, but they told me to Hold On.

My upset face, I wore it well. For so long I had camouflaged the way I felt, when everything was the matter.
But they told me that clouds can move and skies can be wide open. They told me to Take a Breath.

Everyone saw me, but no one knew me. I hated it, but I faked it. I screamed in a pillow for a better tomorrow. They told me that even Underdogs can change the world.

And for the first time, I listened.

Freedom (Part 2)

My days went on this way. A carefully calculated system I had devised, of just three to four meals week, if I was lucky. Because of cheerleading, I got to be away from the dinner table for two nights a week during basketball season, and some Saturdays, as well, for practice, in addition to practice on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Needless to say, I was very good at what I was doing. I had the act of lying down to an art form. “Do you want any dinner? We saved some for you.” “No, I ate at the game. I’m fine,” became our regularity in the car ride home. It was easy and I was in control.

When the holidays came around, I was pushed to my limit. Using my system, I would “save myself” for the multiple family gatherings we would have through out the season, eating nothing at all, until I got to the party that weekend, or other social event involving food. I could go on like this for weeks, a human shark, the times between meals stretching far beyond most people’s comfort level.

What people do not understand about eating disorders, is that, most of the time, food is not the problem. An eating disorder is a mental instability, all in the mind. I used my absolute power I had over the food I allowed in my body as a pacifier, exercising the control I had over it as a mechanism to satisfy the feeling I that had about my life – that it was spinning out of control.

A time that exemplifies this that particularly stands out in my memory was a short scene around the table during Christmas Eve. It was simple. Small talk over coffee and Christmas cookies after dinner. I was sitting with my aunts, my bloodless fingertips fiddling with the festive table cloth. “How long until you can get your license, Emily?” “Six months.” “Oh that’s not long! Before you know it, you’ll be out cruising around with all your friends, driving all over the place, doing whatever you want!”.

It was at this time I was to the point of tears. I excused myself and went into my bedroom to cry. Simple. A driver’s license. But to me, a prisoner within myself, trapped, caged, and alone, this simple symbol of freedom meant so much more. I wasn’t free and I needed to be. Something had to be done.