Melissa Hevenor
Sunday July 23 , 2017
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Archive for April, 2016

A Dream Come True: The Journey To Meeting Jessie J

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

It’s been such a long time since I felt inspired to blog because my life has consisted predominately of feeling sick, going to the hospital getting treatment and coming back feeling worse during the battle for my life. Even so, overall I’m still a happy person,  I pray a lot, listen to music and use makeup to keep myself sane and inspired. I love all types of music and music has been a part of my life since I was very little in huge way. At age 5 I started taking voice lessons at the YMCA realizing very early when I was singing it didn’t matter that I was in a wheelchair. people saw my heart they didn’t assume that I wasn’t intelligent they didn’t care that couldn’t run across the playground they saw who I really was inside and not differences. Music helped me get through a world wind childhood filled with a sick mother who was a prisoner of multiple addictions. It wasn’t long before I started entering voice competitions to earn money for food and for what I called my  just in case money stash to give me a sense of security to care for me and my sister. Those circumstances put a lot of pressure on me to succeed, instead, of concentrating on that pressure, I made it a game against myself to always keep improving.

Late at night when I couldn’t sleep because I was hungry or because my mom had not returned home I would hold my hand brush in my hand and pretend to be Singing on stage with Whitney Houston as I belted it out “Saving All My Love For You” at eight years old. Whitney Houston was what I strived to be as a Singer. Fast forward to age 17 doing a voice competition in a small theater Washington D.C.I was offered a record deal. With a broken heart I turned it down because I couldn’t imagine leaving my sister and because I was a minor and my mother was too jealous to grant me the permission. My mother also could sing before drugs and alcohol destroyed her voice she could sing along with Barbra Streisand and you absolutely could not tell the difference between her voice and the record. I went into a deep depression for about a year because I wasn’t able to take that opportunity after working so hard. However, I never stopped getting good grades in school because I knew good grades and education was my only chance to do better for myself and my sister. Thank God, I had two Aunts my grandmother’s sisters who wanted me to have the world and showed me what unconditional love was. My aunt encouraged me to join the drama club when I started high school as well as choir because she saw how fearless I was on stage and how much I loved it. She used to say it may not be easy for you to get opportunity to be in front of crowds because of your differences but the world needs to see you on the stage to make a difference on a large-scale. Getting the chance to audition for Tish School of the arts in New York City was amazing and my Aunt  put money aside to save up for the train tickets and the hotel as the audition process was a  two day thing. I did my audition in front of a panel of five faculty I put my whole  heart into it, a full portfolio of how I would Direct a play by Tennessee Williams.
I was devastated when I didn’t get in until at the very last moment a professor came running out who had been on the panel and said, ” please don’t be discouraged your audition was flawless, logistically the school would be very difficult for you to manage with your wheelchair, the buildings are old elevators don’t work and the amounts of snow that we get in the winter. Of course, the rest of the panel will deny this as the reason but I could not put my head down tonight having you think it was because your audition was not good enough. There’s many amazing art schools out there just put your whole heart in that’s what matters. This was the first time I began to understand that my talent may not be enough so I started studying psychology and that’s the direction my life took. I don’t regret it at all because it prepared me for where I am now to use my intuitive/ Mediumship  skills to help people in a therapeutic way. Music was  on the front burner again as I started taking art therapy classes and realizing how much music and writing helped people with healing. Getting accepted into the University of Maryland I wanted to take dance classes as my electives. Of course, the faculty was not happy thinking I would not be able to show my skills so  how would I be graded. This time I wouldn’t take no for an answer because it was just elective classes so I learned dance notation and I could verbally tell the dancers the different routines. At the end the faculty thanked to me saying that the dancers became better dancers having to learn to truly listen to verbal instruction of the choreography.

Working as a student therapist as student Director of the suicide crisis hot line and going to school full-time in my masters program was extremely demanding so to relax at home I would watch YouTube videos of young singers when I came across Jessie J singing Big White Room. I was one of the first 100 views on that video which now has so many but I knew in that moment she would be a massive star. She had edginess of Janis Joplin the elegance of Whitney Houston and and infectious loving quality similar to the energy of Princess Diana even in the very beginning. Eventually I had to have my thyroid removed because it just stopped working once I had that surgery I was unable to sing the same way again we now know the collapse of my thyroid was probably the first sign the rare form of cancer I am now fighting that had not been diagnosed at that time. Jessie J’s passion and talent helped me  through the sadness of not being able to sing the same, even though, I could hear the music the same way and it resonated to my core, I could not reproduce the notes that I heard with the same precision.

In 2010 I lost my job as a counselor due to cutbacks and I live on savings as long as I could. When I finally lost my house in 2012 because I couldn’t make the payments, as I was packing up my belongings Jessie J’s first album who you are was playing in the background. I will never forget praying to God to give me strength and to keep happiness in my heart even through the darkness I was facing much of the time sitting alone parking  my belongings for Storage because my family had gone to heaven. The one person’s voice that was always there in the background was Jessie’s. Thankfully  had amazing friends who helped me a as much as they could but late at night when the tears would flow it was God myself and Jess.

Slowly I began  to build clientele giving intuitive readings something I had done on the side for free just to help people for years. I began to understand this was gods way of getting me on my life’s purpose to really own the gifts he had  given because I’m a very loyal person and otherwise I never would’ve quit my job to follow the path as a spiritual teacher. Having success slowly building my own business with various opportunities to do readings on stage. Most stages are not wheelchair accessible and even though, I was the entertainment often I would have to do the readings or inspirational speaking on the ground or floor in front of the stage rather than on the stage. My preparation to get ready for readings has always been listening to music beforehand, music that usually consists of pop R&B or hip hop and traveling as far as Australia to study mediumship.

The most recent challenge I’ve had to deal with for the last three years is battling cancer thank God for Technology that allows me to do readings worldwide by email or Skype in between treatment on the occasions when I’m feeling halfway normal. As usual whether I’m going into emergency surgery to remove my port because of infection, or going in for treatment Jessie J’s singing through my phone. Hearing her voice sing conquer the world even regulated my heart beat while under anesthesia.

The power of social media and an Earth Angel disguised as a Record label executive colliding with me with the help of another Earth angel who is now in heaven named Talia Castellano who taught me through her YouTube videos how to apply makeup for my public readings and inspirational speaking. Before losing her battle to childhood cancer Talia I became friends and when I was diagnosed with cancer 31/2 years ago she was my counselor even at the young age of 12.  Now I honor her by helping to carry on her legacy and finding a cure for childhood cancer because after going through this myself I’m determined no child should go through it! Working her magic from heaven she helped Jessie’s Record label  follow me and  offer to help me get tickets if JessIe performed in Florida. Not only did I get to go to Universal Studios to see her perform but was granted the opportunity to meet her.

On April 9 with 101 fever the whole night before due to an enlarged spleen from a buildup of cancer cells and an infection and pain as a result of the enlargement. I was unable to leave on the three hour car ride up to Orlando until 1230 in afternoon. After coming up with a pain medication routine and reclining the passenger seat as far back as possible we began on the journey to make the ride to Talia’s house which was about 40 minutes from Universal Studios where the concert would be that evening. Talia’s sister Mattia and mom Desiree have become part of my family and a huge support system during my own Battle with this beast known as cancer. Therefore, I wanted them to join me in this exciting Adventure of meeting Jessie J.  My friend Sandra who is my sister by choice because she’s been with me through everything losing my job losing my house losing my health traveling an hour once a week just to bring food because I couldn’t afford to buy any or because I was too sick to make it myself. Sandra is my very best friend, she knows my heart, she knows my faults, she knows my flaws, she knows my happiness, knows my sadness, she knows my abilities and my disabilities and loves me no matter what.  So she also had to be a part of this is special celebration of life through Jessie’s music.

When we arrived at the house we only have an hour before we had to leave for the concert so we quickly got out of the car and  Mattia did my makeup while Desiree Talia’s mom painted my nails. (Talia’s sister who is an amazing makeup artist like her little sister Taliajoy18 on YouTube. Although, Mattia Joyce who is also on YouTube has her own sense of style, her own sense of humor and a talent all her own while carrying on the beautiful Legacy of her little sister. ) Helping me get glammed up is something that comes very natural for Mattia and Desiree because they continue a program Talia started called Glam Wars where they go into children’s hospitals and give makeovers two little girls going through chemo and face painting to little boys going through chemo to  help them feel more confident and happy during their fight. CoverGirl provides all the makeup for the program Since Talia became an honorary Cover Girl on the Ellen  show.( To find out more about this program please go to taliaslegacy.org)

Rushing out the door we head to Universal Studios arriving early until we realize how long the customer service line was where we were supposed to pick up the passes to go to the concert. Then I find out Jessie was running late. Before long the show was about to start so meeting Jessie was delayed until after the show. I began to worry maybe we would run out of time or maybe it wouldn’t happen that is until, I reminded myself I had asked Talia to send me a sign that she would be with me in spirit. Days earlier I asked her to send me a feather representing one of her Angel feathers. Hours before the concert , Jessie posted on Instagram a picture of a hummingbird made out of paper or  Kleenex  held in someone’s hand but what stood out in the picture was the delicate beautiful feathers that were part of the hummingbird and I knew that was my sign from Talia. I sang my heart out to every song watching Jessie on the big screen because the wheelchair accessible Area was pretty far back. When the song Bang Bang came onI got a text it was the last song to start heading over where we would meet her. So we all rushed over to where we were supposed to meet her before the show. When we got there and there was a young man he said no she’s meeting you somewhere else. We followed the path through the back ways of the park and my heart began to pound as I realized how close I was to meeting her something I wanted to do for years. If I was able to get up from my wheelchair and run I would have at that moment. As we approached Jessie was seated halfway in her rental car in the passenger seat and again my brain started thinking oh she’s ready to leave she’s going to say hi and take off. This was a huge lesson for me because fear allows our mind to create a story that is so different from god’s plan. Jessie stepped out of the car walked over to me and knelt down to be at eye level with me in my wheelchair. I started to cry and I explained to her it wasn’t because she was famous it wasn’t because she was JessieJ, tears were flowing because since my family is in heaven her voice through her music is always there no matter what and to be in front of her for that reason was overwhelming. I gave her a necklace I designed that is a guitar pick that says Jessie your music helps me breathe Friends forever on the front and a music note on the back. I have a matching one that I wear all the time for inspiration and now she would have hers. Then I asked her if I could show her one more thing? Jessie replied of course you can! I apologized because I told her it was 17 minutes long, I wrote a poem using all her song titles from each of her three albums and made a video of it on YouTube. (I wrote it when I was very sick in the hospital in intensive care and the nurse told me I should be resting, it was a waste of time because Jessie would never see it. My dream was for Jessie to see the poem because I have an easier time expressing myself through writing and the poem embodied everything I wanted to say to her. Jessie sat on the ground held my hand and watched the entire thing as the tears just ran down my face as a result of the happiness that was overflowing from my heart and had to come out through my eyes. Then Jessie and I made a video that I will show the nurse tomorrow when I go to the hospital for chemo. Jessie and I had fun saying she did indeed see the poem. I showed Jessie my tattoo and explained why I have tattoos, and that the other person tattooed on my arm is Talia. Jessie said she knew who Talia was and had followed her story. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce her to Desiree and Mattia and explain why I’m so passionate about childhood cancer, since seven children die a day from childhood cancer, 46 children are diagnosed every day with childhood cancer and it is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15 in the United States. Sadly, childhood cancer still receives the least amount of funding to find a cure getting only 4% the cancer research money to understand how pediatric cancer forms differently and come up with treatment options specific to treating childhood cancer.  Gold is the color for childhood cancer and September is childhood cancer awareness month so I gave Jessie a fuck cancer beanie with gold writing as well as shared some other ideas on how to bring awareness to pediatric cancer. I told her some secrets like who I have a crush on, I shared other private thoughts and moments for her to carry in her heart for inspiration. I wanted our time together to be one where I could give  back to her, the best of myself through writing, encouragement, laughter. and inspiration. I knew Jesse J was a special person because I can see peoples energy but she goes above and beyond she was severely jetlagged wasn’t feeling well and still made time to do a Make-A-Wish meet and greet before the concert and spent over an hour with me after the concert. I jokingly told her I was so relieved she was nice because I wouldn’t have to get my tattoo removed.

She took pictures with all of us and even invited me to see her in Miami perform so she could sing bald girls instead of bad girls in this song Bang bang! Jessie’s team was trying to arrange to get me onstage with Jess, but as usual the stage was not wheelchair accessible. It  needs to become a priority that all stages become accessible because as long as they are not there is an unspoken message silently screaming that people in wheelchairs or with differences do not belong on the stage or a  platform to be heard. I completely understand because I’ve dealt with this my whole life.  Maybe now that Jessie’s team asked for someone in a wheelchair  to be on stage it will start a small ripple that will change this unspoken discrimination. Jessie being the earth angel that she is, kept her word, I just got back from the Miami concert last night and she absolutely did sing bald girls during bang bang as well as, took the time to give me one more  hug, reassure me that she has my necklace, Tell me she loved me. And made sure Sandra and I we’re all set to get home with the chauffeur her amazing manager Cez arranged when he found out I didn’t have a car to get there. Jessie’s entire team is amazing Alisha, Jessie’s hairstylist waited patiently in the car while Jessie and I hung out. Jessie’s manager Cez made sure everything fell into place with perfection and smiled with joy as I met Jessie. They are all kindhearted legends who’s shoulders Jessie stands on to spread hope, love, empowerment, fun, and realism with the world.  Jessie and her entire team hold a special place in my heart until I see them again and one day I dream of writing a song or working on a creative project with Jessie in person or in spirit however God sees fit. I love you Jessie, Cez and Alisha forever sending you  multitudes of gratitude and carry all you in my heart.