2017 The biggest year ever. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, and how much I’ve packed in. How was your year? What have you learned and achieved? And what’s planned for 2018?
Achievement wise, it was huge. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities, and proud for all I’ve achieved. Success doesn’t come without sadness – and I’ve felt lonely and excluded from some of my community for a little while. I hope this passes. However, I’ve had some amazing support in different areas of my life, and I’m so grateful to the people who have made this year wonderful.
Health-wise, my skin has been pretty good, though there have been some sore times. I think not being in a traditional workplace has helped a lot.
The expectations I’ve felt on me – from various people – have been huge – and I have realised the importance of setting boundaries for self care.
I’m still processing some of the other lessons I’ve learnt.
It’s been wonderful seeing Adam’s career take off – I’m so proud of all he’s achieved. He’s gone from working full time and handy-manning on the side, to dropping back a day at his day job and dedicating a full week day to his business.
Here’s what’s been happening.
In January I spoke to a writing agent – after getting a little interest from two publishers. Jacinta Di Mase has been excellent and I’m so thankful to her, Danielle and Natasha for representing me.
I saw Bruce Springsteen live – gosh it was amazing. I’m definitely a new fan.
In February I started a two year contract with a company in Sydney, providing their staff disability training once or twice a month. And so commenced the very frequent interstate travel! This work has also created some wonderful friendships, and confidence that I can in fact have a successful freelancing career.
Cyber Hate with Tara Moss aired on TV in February – she interviewed me briefly last year.
I also commenced a six week course with Arts Access Victoria – it helped me to set career goals.
Adam and I went to Mornington to a music festival picnic – it was a lovely afternoon.
In March Adam and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary over a weekend in Ballarat. On the day of our anniversary, my agent sent off a book proposal to nine publishers!
I also spoke at the National Disability Services conference.
I wrote about Speechless and it was published online and in the paper paper!
In April – I can’t recall April but I’m sure it was busy!
The response to YCAT has been amazing – I have received so many comments from strangers about it. And last week it was named the best Australian show on TV by The Guardian.
I also quit my part time job, which was a great relief.
I endured some ridiculous trolling – and my Daily Life editor wrote about that here.
I also performed in my beloved Quippings at the Malthouse as a part of the Emerging Writers Festival.
I did a little video about reporting on disability for ABC online.
I wrote about homelessness and mental illness for SBS.
To end June, I went to Perth to meet friends and speak to a group of home schooled kids – it was fun.
While I received the book deal with Harper Collins in May, I could only announce it in July. That was exciting! My book should be out in August 2018. It’s called Say Hello.
I spoke at the Australian Medical Students Association Conference in Sydney too.
Adam and I went to Artvo for his birthday – that was lots of fun!
I also began a regular voluntary spot on ABC Radio Melbourne as the Afternoons arts reporter. It was amazing to work with Claire Bowditch once a month until she finished up at the end of November.
Jason and I interviewed Bob Evans for our podcast – listen here.
In August I went back home for a week to write my book. While I was there, my parents drove me to Coolamon where I spoke to over 200 school kids about appearance diversity. It was lovely to see my childhood friend Brigette, she organised my visit.
I also went to Geelong to speak to their senior primary school students’ breakfast.
Ms Magazine included me in their list of top feminists on Twitter. I’m floored.
For fun, I spoke to Bob Evans for his podcast – it was released in November – you can hear it here.
In September I performed at the Melbourne Writers Festival, and I also flew to Sydney to do some filming with Bus Stop Films – watch that here.
I saw Placebo which is a band I’d been missing.
Jax Jacki Brown and I spoke about installing pride and confidence in young disabled people to a group of paediatric professionals at The Royal Children’s Hospital.
I signed to Inspiring Rare Birds speaking agency – a decision I made after a lot of consideration.
I spoke at an RMIT writing and editing event – it was great to be back there.
And I went to Wangaratta to talk at Goulburn Women’s Health – which was a lovely trip. The hospitality was wonderful.
Adam and I had a break in Sydney which was filled with shopping and good food.
In October I went to the Sydney Opera House for the launch of 200 Women – a book featuring 200 women from around the world. I can’t believe I’m in the company of women including Cheryl Strayed, Roxane Gay and Susan Carland!
I also delivered a session at the Feminist Writers Festival, spoke about race and colour at The Pin’s event at the Melbourne Recital Centre, and wrote a piece for an artist to perform at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
I spent the month in a studio writing my book – after meeting a new friend Jo on the steps of St Pauls Cathedral. This was a wonderful experience – it was a lovely space to write, as well as some much needed company – and I’ve decided to work there one day a week in 2018. I finished my first draft on 31 October. I wrote 84,544 words.
In November I spoke about life in the online fishbowl at the eSafety Commissioner conference.
This was an amazing conference – not only was it interesting but I got to hang out with friends like Ginger Gorman who I usually talk to only online.
I wish I could have stayed both days. Alas, I had a flight back so I could meet Jimmy Barnes at my local bookshop. I told him about the woman who laughed at my face at his concert, and he said he was appalled. Jimmy, who I’ve been a fan of for years, was lovely – and it turns out we share a publicist at Harper Collins!
I also spoke at Women’s Health West’s AGM with other disability activist friends, MCd an event at Parliament House in Sydney, and delivered a webinar through Writers Victoria.
The Guardian asked me to write about Jeremy The Dud – the short film about disability discrimination – and I did so here.
I posed in my underwear for the Underneath We Are Women project – and met wonderful new friends.
I saw Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders, and Lorde too, which were all fabulous.
And after a year’s leave without pay, I quit my safe well paying government job to work solely for myself. No safety net now!
In December I delivered training to the Albury and Wodonga Councils – plus a keynote at the combined councils’ event for International day of People with Disability. This was a great event – again, lovely country hospitality. The Border Mail interviewed me and I was on the front page!
Mum and I spent quite a bit of time together – while I was in Albury and also when she came to see Paul McCartney. We saw a Beatle!
Jason made me a unicorn birthday cake!
My cousin Pauline had her book launch – Can You Feel It? was one of my fave books of the year.
I also had my first modelling job – I’ll tell you more soon. It was like playing dress ups!
To end the year I got reading glasses – the most fashionable medical need ever!
I’ve done such a lot in 2017. I’m a little (lot) tired, but very happy. And I hope next year is just as successful, if not a little slower paced.
Thank you to you, reader, for your support, conversation, feedback and positive energy. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you.