I’m 25 Today / Happy Birthday To Me

Hey pals,

A lot of my YouTube content recently has been about my birthday. Things I’ve done and feelings I’ve felt… I didn’t really know what I wanted to post here on my birthday. I wanted to have a positive post gushing about my holiday to Milan but honestly it wasn’t that great. I’ll talk about that some other time.

I’m typing this on my way to see one of my best friends in London. She has been a bit of a birthday saviour this year. I was supposed to have a different friend come down to visit me, who promised me all kinds of things I was reluctant to believe… just more proof that my gut instincts are normally right. And I made a small Facebook event for the locals to come to the pub with me tonight… one was a definite no, no one else even replied. I did message one of them (the other best friend) directly and we are going to go to the pub this evening when I return from London, the others may appear but if they don’t at least I’ve seen my two best friends today.

The time around my birthday is always kinda shitty, this year I had a lot of health problems as usual. Coming off steroids a few weeks ago and having a lot of pain in my stomach but also other parts of my body come back… numerous health professionals giving me phone calls about my blood inflammation levels creeping back up again… my stool sample showing such high inflammation in my bowel that they can’t even give a specific number… just over 600 when the average is 50 or under.

Going to Italy and not being able to eat much and mostly living off bread and balsamic vinegar… maybe some pasta with sauce. Lots of walking because none of the vegan restaurants were near the bus stops, not finding a single cafe that would give me a decent sized coffee with soy milk and going out of my way to get to a Starbucks and it being on of the big ones with merchandise and a canteen? With fucking bodyguards outside ?? Mad. I just wanted a coffee… also being given cows milk before we had even taken off from Gatwick which was FAB. And having reached one year smoke free, Italy isn’t ideal because literally every other person you see is smoking a cigarette or a cigar.

And I can’t forget that my birthday is usually a day I get to gorge on all the sweet foods I love but sadly they all feature dairy so this is a dairy free birthday to prevent an ass explosion.

25 feels weird. It feels adult. And I definitely don’t feel adult. Some of my friends are married with children others are doing their masters. I am bobbing along, not really knowing what I want to do with myself an very far away from having any children (not that I want any right now anyway??) and just continually being unwell.

The one thing I wish for, for my birthday, is that my health reaches a state of remission so that I can function better and live my life a bit more. I want to go travelling this year.

And now I’m ending this post having gotten a little tipsy with one friend, on the train home to see some pals for more drinks in a pub… and I’m not as salty as I normally am around my birthday. ‘As I get older’ everyone says, I realise all I want is to spend time with friends.

See you next week

~ Artie

Supporting Small Creators and Why it’s so Important

Hey pals,

 

This week’s post is a bit of a PSA and a request for creators to not see each other as competition all the time, but also for non-creators to support their favourites. It is particularly important to help raise voices of marginalised creators to normalise us and start celebrating us equally.

 

This is a general ‘trying to cover all the bases’ post. A lot of artists and creators have their portfolios of work online and sell items to help fund their creative endeavours, and when you are a smaller creator with a minimal following, supporting yourself can be greatly difficult. I will be addressing as many points as I can across most types of creative and explaining how fellow creators or followers of the work can help bring more people to the art.

 

Creators is a pretty general term but I feel like it’s a pretty good one considering all the different types of artists we have now on the internet. Traditional artists, comic artists/writers, clothes designers, filmmakers, YouTubers, musicians, photographers, script writers, fanfic writers, novelists, short story writers, poets, performers, actors, comedians, tattoo artists, dancers, it really does go on. Every category has a sub-category and so on.

 

The world we are brought up in, particularly for millennials, makes you feel like everyone is out for themselves and lifting other people up means losing your clients or customers… If you’ve not succeeded by 25 you’re a loser and will always be a loser. The best thing for small creators to do is to shout out their fellow small creators and acknowledge what they are doing, send some of your following their way. Most of the time this will be reciprocated and if it isn’t you haven’t lost anything in the process. There are other ways of helping your fellow small creators and that is usually offering your time and skills to assist them with a project. It is also okay to ask for payment for your time, or for a favour in return. Really it feely like we are all stuck out on different rocks until we get to a certain ‘popularity level’, it would be nice to make it feel more like a community than an aggressive LIKE4LIKE SUB4SUB spam-fest it tends to be when you’re starting out or trying to boost your following.

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Now onto the people who don’t make content but enjoy consuming it.

If you have FRIENDS who create content and you know work really hard to make quality stuff on the reg, give them a boost! They’re your friend and friends should be doing what they can to boost your status. Even if their content isn’t your thing, do what you can, there is so much on the list below you could do that wouldn’t disrupt your day at all. It’d be great if you could SHARE what your friends are creating once in a while…

This is my all-encompassing list of things anyone can do to support creators!

(if I miss anything, my bad, leave it in the comments!)

 

Writers:

  • write a review (you can do this on any social media, or more specified websites like goodreads or amazon if you purchased the book there)
  • go to the library and request they purchase the books
  • vote for the book on goodreads lists
  • recommend the book (to any one in any way, even lend the book to someone)
  • talking about them or their books on social media is always good promo, also while you do this putting in some links is helpful. Maybe a link to merch, the book itself or other ways the writer can earn some money.
  • Vote for them to be nominated for awards, or vote when they are nominated for awards. Being able to say you won an award as a writer makes people take you a little more seriously.
  • If you’re at a university, see if you could pay the writer for a guest lecture from your course or society funds
  • For fanfic writers, leave kudos! Or comments. Share the link around.
  • These things go similarly for graphic novels btw.

 

Music Creators:

  • Anyone with music on a streaming platform (apple music, spotify… etc.? even YT actually) play their music on repeat whilst you sleep, put it on mute if that’s better for you, and their music will get 8ish hours of play/watch time every night (this would also work for filmmakers and YouTubers)
  • Requesting the songs on radio. I’m not sure how you go about doing this but I know you can still do it, it gets the music out to a more mainstream audience and I think the radio play means something cool? Sorry, I don’t know I’m not a music person…
  • Buy their merch and make sure it’s from the official musician’s seller so they actually get paid.
  • Buy their music. Seems pretty straight forward but, I think it needs to be on here.
  • Some musicians are able to do small jobs like creating jingles etc. so if you need a jingle or short song for some reason, ask.

 

YouTubers

  • Similar to the music one. You can literally click a button to play all videos on a channel, or lots of YouTubers have playlists so you could select to play one of those. Stick it on mute or have it on whilst you do something else. Views are important.
  • Along with views, likes and comments are also important. So wherever you can, give videos a like or leave a simple comment. Doesn’t take up much time.
  • YouTuber success is highly based on interaction. So do as much of that as you can! And please subscribe even if you’re not a big YouTube watcher!

 

Artists

  • Commission work from them. If you like their style but really want to see them do a specific thing, you could probably commission the piece for a price. It’s a cool way of getting a unique poster for your room or presents for friends.
  • Artists often have shops open with their creations available for purchase so go shopping for things they have already made. This could be anything from drawings to graphic novels or even things like tote bags.
  • When you receive your items you’ve purchased, it’s really cool if you take photos and share them on social media. People want to see what has been made before and what other buyers think of the product!

 

Photographers

  • These guys should be pretty good at giving you a headshot if you work in an industry where you need one. So hiring them to do some work for you in general would help if they’re local. Find out what they’re best at, have a chat with them…
  • Buy prints of their work. Again, obvious, but needs to be here.

 

General Performers (writers, musicians, comedians, dancers, etc.)

  • If you work for some kind of event planning job role, do what you can to book performers! There are so many different types of performers, you could find a singing juggler if you wanted, but not many events make the effort to hire performers or a mixture of different types. Universities are a great example of an institution that has the space and time (and sometimes money??) to have events like this!
  • If you can’t hire them, how about starting a regular open mic type event where local creators can come perform to build their portfolio. Plus if you’re a really small creator, it’s a good way to meet other local creators and iron out the wrinkles. It’s beneficial to many people even if it isn’t a paid opportunity.

 

 

Lots of creators now have Patreons. It’s different for everyone but if you pledge a certain amount a month to a creator, you get to see content no one else gets to see! For example YouTuber bloopers, Musicians’ behind the scenes of music videos, Writers’ old works, or just being able to communicate with the creator in a way you wouldn’t normally!

 

This is my list compiled of as many things I can think of! If there are other things I have missed, please let me know in the comments and I might update this post at a later date for everyone to use as reference.

 

I hope this has helped some people to see this differently or find new ways to support small creators! See you next week.

 

~ Artie

Why I don’t think I’ll ever work

Hey pals,

 

I’ve been realising recently my body’s reality. I went for a job interview recently for a full-time role. It was something I think I would have enjoyed and felt fulfilling, but the hours and amount of admin work is what made me think. It was 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, every weekend (or at least every other weekend) at £8 an hour. Maybe up to £10 if I proved myself in the role.

My health isn’t steady and predictable like a full-time job. There are lots of things I can technically do. I have use of my legs, so technically I can stand. The impact of standing (or sitting, or walking, just doing anything for extended periods of time) is what healthy people don’t understand. I’m always in low levels of pain, some days it will just be worse without reason. Some activities will exacerbate it.

One part of my disability in particular that has become increasingly debilitating is the use of my right arm/hand. This is my dominant hand. I do everything with this hand. Overusing it means I can’t grip things properly, there is weakness in the muscles, or searing and burning pain. I can’t write for long, it will hurt. I can’t use a knife to cut certain foods at dinner as my joints lock. I can’t carry things. I’ve found recently I can’t even use a mouse/track-pad comfortably if the pain has been high. I’ve been trying to do some DIY recently; I can’t even paint the shelves I’m working on. It all hurts so much. Things you take for granted.

Brushing your teeth, opening doors, using a hoover, holding a glass, holding certain kinds of mugs (I’m looking at you, Costa! Your mugs are ridiculous and I always have to ask for a takeaway cup…).

It’s a throbbing pain when it’s resting. My disability even makes it hard to stretch out. I have hyper-mobility syndrome, I’m too bendy because my ligaments are stretchy etc. etc., so I have to get creative with the stretching to finally get the right muscles. Half the time it has been so bad recently I’ve had to ask my mum to rub it and I hate asking people to help reduce my pain.

And then all the fatigue that comes along with being in so much pain all the damn time. Even if I sleep well, I will still feel tired and if I don’t it will hit me later and I’ll feel like I have the flu. Total exhaustion, dizziness, hot/cold, all over aches. I normally burrow myself away into a dozen pillows and a soft blanket, my recent addition is a very soft and warm onesie. Another addition is evening headaches or migraines. I had to ask my mum to stop crumpling paper next to me because it felt so loud. It felt like someone was slowly digging a screwdriver into the bit between my eyebrow and tear duct.

So I feel this renders me pretty incapable. I did email this job and say that a part-time position would be best for me if they had any available and I had lots of ideas for the job. But I’m not sure I’ll get a reply.

For now, I’m working on my left hand dexterity (it’s pretty useless but I have got enough things to do to practice!) so that I wont need to use my right hand as much and will still be able to get things done whilst I await a neck scan to see if there are any pinched nerves or slipped discs that could be causing all this pain in my arm. I’m looking into applying for ESA if this is going to be my long-term, but otherwise I’m still doing to same old same old of trying to earn a bit of cash where I can. Right now, I can’t imagine living independently. My family take care of so much for me right now, I guess this is where I need to be.

 

 

~ Artie

My Journal: Messy and Half-Filled

Hey pals,

I wanted to talk about my journal today. I feel like we are brought up with one format for how diaries or journaling is supposed to work. You have to write everyday, you have to expose everything but not, you’re supposed to have juicy secrets and crazy love affairs and everything has to look perfect.

I think (especially now with instagram) that people feel like they have to make everything look perfect, even though it’s just for them. Studyblr is a huge thing now too and social media is all about the aesthetic. When I grew up with the internet, I had facebook for people I knew in real life, instagram wasn’t a thing, twitter wasn’t really something we used… I had a tumblr under a name that wasn’t me. I fabricated a person (except it wasn’t, everything I wrote was me and how I felt) so no one would find it and know it was me. Everyone in my life had a different name or I only used their first name’s initial. I blogged about all the horrible ugly things that were inside my head as a teenager because therapy was more stigmatised than it is today and even if you had therapy they weren’t very nice people most of the time. My blog was my online diary, a real one was too much pressure and tumblr had loads of posts and pictures that described how I felt more than I was able to.

Diaries or journals have always been this teen girl media thing, a way to tell the story of the protagonist of a novel or film and they always looked perfect. Pretty notebooks, perfect handwriting, even a great hiding place or lock system.

They are more than what we are taught they are. Yeah, sure, it’s great to make it look pretty (especially if that part makes you excited about doing it) but this perfectionism has held people back. I’ve known people who can never ever write on the first page of a notebook in case they make a mistake, even if it was a rough notebook. It’s hard to get past that feeling, but remember you do this for you.

My journal that I’ve been writing in since my graduation was a tool for maintaining my mental health. I moved away from my therapist that I really liked and who had really helped me get to the bottom of a few things and I didn’t want to stop ‘talking’ like that entirely. Yes, I write in it everyday (if I forget or am too busy, I try to catch up) but no, it’s not pretty. The outside is nice but I fucked up the front cover because my pen smudged. My handwriting (if you’re new here) is UGLY. Especially if I have a lot to write or a limited time. I also use it to experiment with designs and drawings for when I want to experiment with bullet journaling.

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But the important part is to chronologise my life. I want something to look back on from this period of my life to see how far I’ve come. For a more immediate reason, I keep track of symptoms in my journal. I talk about my sleep, my fatigue, pain, depression or anxiety, mood swings, diet and exercise, anything I try, all of it. I’ve learned that you do need to keep track somewhere, if it ever becomes important you have it in there. I’m experimenting with all sorts of things to try and better my physical health and to see if it helps my mental health too. And if I’ve done a lot, I write down everything I did that day and feel proud of myself for managing, for succeeding. I even write if I didn’t do anything that day and how I feel. There’s no fear in this journal of not being pretty enough or perfect enough.

I mean sure, one day when I write my memoir I’ll probably quote from it but it is not a thing to be edited. It is my truth of now. Right now, I forgot to fill it in today and I don’t want to go downstairs to get it coz it’s late and I’m tired and as comfortable as I can be after an exercise class. So I’ll do it tomorrow and write about the pain I felt today and where, I’ll talk about how annoying this exercise class was and how I’m not sure I want to go back, I’ll talk about managing to write this!

Don’t be afraid of scribbling things out, don’t be afraid of your less-than-perfect handwriting, don’t be afraid of writing about those ugly feelings inside you, because this whole thing is for you to share and to verbalise things you wouldn’t normally be able to.

This is my journal and its imperfection makes it perfect for me.

~ Artie