I’ll be taking a little break from the blog, from now until early January. I wanted to say happy holidays, a huge thank you, and highlight a couple important things from this year.
First of all, I am writing this sitting on a cloud – otherwise known as the incredible mattress that was made by possible because of fundraising initiated by Marianne Eliott and Giovanni Tiso. Thank you so much, to them, to everyone who contributed and boosted. You have no idea what a difference this has made for me. As someone who spends an unfortunately disproportionate amount of time in bed, I’m somewhat of an expert in the matter. I literally moan with relief when I climb into this damn thing.
A huge thank you to my Patrons. Your ongoing support means so so much. It’s not just the money, although obviously that makes a big difference for me. It’s the belief in me. It’s knowing I have people who have committed to my writing because they see its value. And that is something that really helps keep me going when I need it.
And the biggest thank you possible to everyone who continues to read my rants and raves and cries of despair and yelps of delight. Whether it’s here or Twitter or Facebook or IRL, your engagement with me, your time, your support – I can’t really say what it means. It means, as I said above, that I keep going. That I feel other people give a shit about the same things I do. That I’m not just shouting into the ether. That my writing is worthwhile and valuable.
I thought I’d just do a quick rundown of the year.
In January I had to abandon my old twitter account, and I considered shutting down the blog because of comments. I’m very glad I didn’t.
Also in January I had the MRI – paid for by fundraising by you all – that confirmed my Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was able to start Humira treatment.
In February I talked a lot about the struggles around applying for the benefit, and the welfare reforms. I had some guests talk about their experiences.
In March we celebrated International Women’s Day and my friend Pinky was denied entry on a bus with her Blind Foundation card because the driver said she wasn’t blind. I talked about this a lot since – the impacts of invisible illness. In fact I wrote a poem about her which was part of my LitCrawl performance in November. Pinky is amazing and I love her so much.
The Canon Media Awards were in April. I chatted about changes in journalism, and the negative impacts of comments sections.
In May, Canterbury Community Law released their report into what basically amounts to abuse of beneficiaries. The findings were horrific and this reminds me that I need to follow up on this. I remember the immediate response from the Government being deny deny deny “this was a small group of individuals” etc – but I wonder if anything has happened since with the results, or if there’s further research being done. I should contact CCL.
My favourite post in June was ‘How soon until I die?’ which is about Ann Lamott’s book Bird by Bird. On the surface it’s about writing – and addresses the mental health aspects of being a writer – but it’s really about sheer, stupid, stuttering, ongoing bravery. Go read it.
In July I wrote a few things, mostly concerned with my feeling powerless, but the main thing that happened of course was I got accepted into the International Institute of Modern Letters. This was one of the best things that ever happened to me. My three months in Wellington were very challenging and very stimulating and it was fucking fantastic to be around my friends and be around people who love poetry as much as I do. Here’s a post I wrote in August about feminism that includes some of my own and my class’ work.
September was a busy month. We had Bisexual Awareness Week, Invisible Illness Awareness Week… and then we had Sean Plunket being a massive ass. After much publicity there was an eventual apology but it was pretty meh and meant little to me.
In October I wrote about imposter syndrome, which was something a lot of people related to, and also about having a minor meltdown in Warehouse Stationary, another thing I got a lot of feedback on. I also did a thing about what fatigue really really means for me. I’ve since then found this pain scale, which could also apply to fatigue. I now tell people “I’m at bee territory” when my pain and fatigue escalate.
I wrote a lot in November too. I guess I’d been saving up all my blogging energy while I worked on poetry for the past three months. I talked about Statistics New Zealand failing the Trans community. I talked about John Key’s hideous comments in the House and the resulting walkout. I shared the talk I did on invisible pain for Wellington Litcrawl. I shared the talk Dr Mike Joy did on New Zealand’s environmental crisis for Wellington Litcrawl (which got posted to Reddit and started a massive argument haha). I wrote about how depression and antidepressants can fuck up your sex life. And I did a popular post that explained how chronic illness feels through the emotive method of cat gifs.
December started with International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and the horrific shooting at a community centre in California. That was a bad, bad day.
I wrote about how having a disability doesn’t mean your body isn’t yours to control.
I also did some stuff about domestic violence, a masterlist of all the medication I’m on to answer some people’s questions, shared a couple of brilliant things I read about women/writing/pain, and let everyone know I’ve been diagnosed with toxoplasmosis. (I’m meeting with my doctor about that tomorrow). Quite a lot covered in a couple weeks.
So I guess it’s been a pretty huge year and I am really really looking forward to taking some time off over Christmas. I know people are gonna be like “but you don’t work! you don’t have ‘time off.'” Well, it’s true I don’t work a traditional job. But this is my job. I consider writing about social issues, about my life, about politics, a job.
I also consider my creative writing a job. I’m working on two manuscripts right now. Sitting down and writing is fucking hard for me. So yeah. I’m going to enjoy a little break from it all. I’ll be on Hiatus until early January.
With that, I want to wish you all a happy and safe holiday, and may the new year be a good one for us all.