Who Am I?
My name? Jonathan. My job?
Well, that’s trickier to answer.
By day I work at a bookstore. By the rest of the day, and sometimes during part of the night, I do a bunch of different things. I started doing graphic design back in 2019, though I had learned some of it all the way back in college in the mid 2000s, and found I enjoyed making designs of all types, mostly funny ones but occasionally a more serious inspirational or health-related design. I found out about print-on-demand services pretty quickly, and launched my first products soon after. I now have my products up on probably 7-8 sites total, but I’ve abandoned a few that didn’t draw in customers, leaving me with the four I advertise now.
Because of reasons I’ll explain a little further down, though, I eventually got burned out on making new designs, so you’ll noticed that most of my designs are a few years old now. I started looking for something else to do, and landed on two different ideas. The first was to review products, usually just in exchange for getting to keep the product itself, though sometimes there’s some sort of monetary benefit to the review itself. I never EVER take money to give a positive review specifically, though, only an honest one. The second idea was to start buying products from clearance aisles and discount stores and selling them on eBay and Amazon (usually called Retail Arbitrage, though that mostly refers to new, in-the-box items, and I do resell used items too, once I’ve cleaned them up and made sure they worked).
I’ve dabbled in a number of other things over the years too, but those are the ones that have stuck the best so far! Why have I tried so many things, though, and not just stuck to a regular day job like most people? After all, that usually pays well if you get into a good career and a full time job, right?
Well, in 2014, I woke up at the beginning of the year (literally, on January 1st) with a headache. No biggie, right, probably a ton of other people did too. I hadn’t had any alcohol the night before, so it was more unusual for me than most, but still, one headache isn’t anything to worry about. Except it lasted. A couple days later, I was starting to get worried.
Two weeks later, my boss sent me to the hospital.
Thus began my medical journey into a condition that I now know by one of two names (my doctors have disagreed on what to call it): either New Daily Persistent Headache, or Intractable Migraine (Status Migrainosus). Either name can be interpreted as this: Constant Head Pain. 24/7/365 pain. There’s not a moment of my life, sleeping or waking, when I don’t feel a headache. And despite one of my t-shirt designs, it’s not a low-level headache either. I’ve usually reported to doctors that it’s an 8/10 on their pain scales.
As if that wasn’t enough, chronic pain apparently often begets chronic pain. Conditions like NDPH or IM apparently can bring on conditions like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (thank you spell check), better know to the public as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia. Within 6-8 months after the headache started, though they came on slowly and I didn’t notice them beginning, I realized I was losing most of my energy and even my ability to hold my head upright, and also hurting not just in my head, but all over my body. At this point, I’m hard-pressed to find a spot on my body that doesn’t feel pain, and often can’t find one.
I sometimes forget (don’t know how) that this wasn’t the beginning of my chronic pain journey, though. Long before my headache began, back when I was a teenager, I began having chronic abdominal pain, and went through several doctors visits before we kinda shrugged and said there was no cancer or anything killing me, and I just lived with it for about 12-13 years until my wife helped me realize I had a corn intolerance, which greatly relieved the pain, though it’s not gone. All together, that means I’ve lived in chronic pain about 21 years now, which is plenty of time to get used to it, and yet you never really get used to it.
Despite that, I’ve really had a lot of good things happen in my life. Obviously, I got married, to a wonderful woman, who really tries to help with my health problems in addition to everything else she does. We’ve had 3 wonderful smart and silly children, and we have been blessed to have lived in several great places around Central Florida, currently in a great home in the north side of the area, out in the more spread out areas away from even the busier suburbs.
I’ve been active in my church all along, spending many years in children’s and youth ministry, and then moving into worship vocals, which I loved. We moved to a new church a few years ago, Grace Church in Orlando, and I currently serve on the greeting team there and love it.
I have worked for several small Mac repair stores, all of which are now out of business sadly, as well as RadioShack and the Boy Scout Shop, and then thought I had a career building at Apple when the headache began. Unfortunately, the combination of health problems means I can only work part time now, and while I have a great job at a local bookstore now, BrightLight Books, I only work a relatively few number of hours. Hence this attempt to make extra money by doing things that doing require a lot of time input and have a lot of flexibility in schedule, to work around my health needs!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you got this far, here’s some cookies!