How I’ve Been Passing My Time

Hey pals,

If you’re a regular to my social media, then you know that I am chronically ill and disabled which has lead to many, many months spent inside my own home, sometimes bedbound. I have a lot of isolation practice, except now my family are all home too to shield me, because I come under High Risk.

I can’t lie, I have moments of getting bored and I definitely miss my Costa or Starbucks iced coffees and a good take away, but generally I’m pretty used to this. Seeing all the able-bodied people struggling with spending time inside/at home kind of gave me a boost of energy and motivation because ‘haha! I am the highly functioning one now!’ and kinda just wanted to shove it in people’s faces that I’m doing stuff and filling my time! I even started exercising… daily. Who am I? At this point, I couldn’t really tell you just like I couldn’t really guess what day it is.

I have always been a bit of a loner, I enjoy my own space and I enjoy being alone. I was an only child so that probably helped. But I’ve always been a creative whether it was playing imaginary games with toys, making art, writing stories, singing My Little Mermaid songs, or watching television. I couldn’t read for a long time so I missed out on a lot of books that were turned into shows or films, and actually I’m starting to make up for that. I’ve become quite the reader over time (Yeah I should be after getting my Bachelors in Creative Writing…) and I have a large collection of physical books. One big job I did was to go through all of my read books and decide if I still wanted to keep them or not and I think I halved my collection. I still have a lot of unread books I need to at least TRY to read so that will be keeping me busy as well. I’ve recently found a love of ebooks where I find really cheap ebook versions of books I sort-of-kind-of wanted to read but not enough to splash out on a hard copy and postage. So the ebooks don’t take up physical space and they can be so much cheaper than physical copies, this benefitted me when it came to books I wasn’t sure I would care about, so I buy the ebook, give it a read, and if I really liked it I can buy myself the physical copy at a later date. Plus, it’s easier to read in bed on your phone, and it’s less work for my disabled hands to hold a phone than try to keep open a book! Some of these books are going to be great video and blog content in the future too (I Read the book and Watched the Film: Princess Diaries edition anyone?).

IMG_3730

We’ve had to get creative by baking. I have a really specific diet that makes it hard to shop anyway, but it’s even harder now when the shelves are empty and you’re limited to what you can buy online. So, for fun and delicious treats (for my MASSIVE sweet tooth) we have been experimenting with baking different things. We became the banana loaf cliche (but it’s so delicious… I’ve made FIVE) brownies twice but they weren’t gooey enough so we need to have another go! Crumble, and shortbread. But I’ve got a little list of things to try making for fun and see if I like them and it’s nice cooking with my mum… coz I can’t do it alone. I love being disabled, I can’t even stir the batter.

I’ve been re-organising and decluttering many areas but am far from done. I’m due a clothes re-organise coz I need to swap my winter stuff out and summer stuff in. I put my millions of hospital and doctors’ letters away in my filing box, each under different sections. Also watching DVDs I’ve not touched in a while and completing old games I’ve had for… maybe a decade so I can get rid of those too! But I’ve also been making art! Blackout poetry with some of the books I didn’t like, finishing old works and painting the backgrounds, collaging in my notebooks… I’m tired, the list probably goes on but those are the main gals.

I even figured out my streaming issues on my computer and started dabbling with the Sims 4 again, but there’s a massive bug at the moment making the game impossible to play so… it’s either decorating or not playing at all.

I’ve filmed so many book videos… I’m not a booktuber, I’m a dabbling booktuber but now… my channel is full of books! I’m reading and editing things my friend has written (for her uni course and… her hobby of just writing to maintain sane.) I’ve gone back to my BSL (British Sign Language) course and actually progressing a little… I know how to say ‘sorry, I don’t understand’ and ‘I missed that’. I think there may have been a point where I actually wrote something for my WIP… but that must have been in the early days because I can’t remember a thing. (If you want to learn something, give Skillshare a try)

IMG_7506I keep a daily diary of things I do/things I have accomplished so that I don’t lose the plot and feel like a failure and haven’t done anything. It’s for all things, big and small and some days are shorter because I decided I was going to spend time relaxing either in the sun or watching mindless television/YouTube because we still need to let ourselves rest during this time. Actually, writing this post has ticked something off a massive list of things to do I have. TICK. I’ve made a very long list of things I can/should do for the days I feel restless but can’t THINK of what to do. It’s pretty useful. I’ve been writing in my journal under the writing prompts I found. Practicing mental health care is really important during this time I’m even seeing a counsellor right now but we chat over the phone or video chat. If you need some help, I recommend reaching out and seeing if it’s possible. I’m sure lots of therapists and counsellors still need money to pay for things too.

I’ve already watched almost everything worth watching for me on Netflix but I’m sure most of you lot haven’t so just binge watch a show or film series! I have so many recommendation posts for things to watch, support me by clicking them and give yourself something to do! Want something Spooky? Give this list a try. 

If you want to see what my isolation diary actually looks like, let me know and maybe one week I’ll post some of my diary (coz as I’m writing this I’m on day 30 but this will probably not be out for at least 2 weeks…).

~ Artie

Please check out my YouTube, I’ve been working really hard on content there!

And check out two recent blog collaborations I did! Disabled Writer Tips and Being Disabled during the Pandemic.

Why We Should Help Each Other Get Work

Hey pals,

 

So, I can’t really tell you where this is coming from, except from a recent happening among my family and friends. I said to my family recently that it is near impossible getting a decent job that pays well and has stability, without knowing someone who works within the company. Lots of companies don’t advertise well because it costs, and pretty much all of them will advertise internally, which doesn’t get rid of the problem of not having enough staff. They’re always trying to do you out of money because of your age or experience, or you just wont get the job because of things like this. Yes, even at jobs that say they will provide full training for the role. (This is also a lie a lot of the time.)

 

I’ve heard a lot from people who work full time about people not turning up for interviews they’ve agreed to or ghosting companies rather than just saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’. But the companies still often wont take on people who have a brain and will try their best to do the job properly. Somehow, it’s always the people who don’t have a clue what they’re doing, don’t try to know what they’re doing, and are a nuisance that get the job.

 

If you know your company is about to advertise roles and you have a mate or family member who is unemployed or stuck in a shit job they desperately need to leave, then do what you can to give them a good in? Big them up to other staff (particularly if you know who is doing the interviews) and help them get their application and documents in as quickly as possible, even tips on what to say in the interview…

 

It works the same in the creative world. With everything being online, we miss so many opportunities if we aren’t online at just the right time. So if you see something that would be perfect for a friend of yours, send them the link, or just generally signal boosting is always good especially for opportunities for marginalised people as they are often requested by smaller companies and creators and don’t always have the reach they need.

 

Really we are all in a bit of a crisis where we can’t just climb the ladder of a company anymore, the age of retirement is getting older and older, and the standards for young people are getting higher and higher, no one can stand a job past 6 months because of company abusing their workers and co-workers bullying each other… and definitely not being paid enough to put up with it. And no matter how hard you try to do well, it’s still always your fault. No, yeah, even that. That is your fault too even though you didn’t even know that was a thing. Oh, well that’s your fault you didn’t know… but how are you to know to ask, when you don’t know you don’t know it…?

 

There’s just about a million ridiculous standards that are impossible to meet but we all (unfortunately) gotta make money to… exist. It’s actually a lot easier to get a job when you know someone in the company, so if you already have a job, just lend a hand through the process. You don’t want to see yourself or someone you love going to food banks or being evicted because the government is trying to kill off the poor.

 

Don’t get me started on the government, at least not today.

 

~ Artie

Motivation and Passion: Who is she?

Hey pals,

 

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my sense of passion for what I’m doing and the motivation to continue doing things. I am letting procrastination get the better of me. I try my best to ignore the view or follower count of other people I interact with online, because we are all different and work differently. But it’s pretty disheartening to see all the work I put into my videos, or instagram pictures, or writing across platforms, all getting barely noticeable interactions.

 

My videos barely reach 15 views and I put hours of work into filming, audio, editing and thumbnails. My instagram pictures only reach 100 likes if it’s Harry Potter related and will maybe reach 30 likes on an average day. Jumping onto twitter tags and getting 10 likes compared to the hundreds other people get for less witty and less creative posts… My YouTube subscribers climb one person every couple of months, but my instagram swings up and down by 40 or more every week…

 

And with each platform changing constantly how they do things, I don’t know how I’m supposed to keep up. I’m tired, I’m sick, I have so many ideas floating in my head but not physical capacity to do them. Or even mental capacity a lot of the time, I can’t get past the brain block. I can’t stand to sit in a quiet room for the feeling of loneliness to settle in. The realisation of how completely and utterly alone and unappreciated I feel.

 

I am sick. But I love to make things. I can never be one of those people with a niche because I love to do everything. I love making my videos, I love writing blogs and stories and poetry, I love reading and watching TV and Film, I love singing and music, I love to dance and exercise, I love junk food but I love learning to take care of myself, I love taking photos and I love learning to love photos of myself, I love talking about the things I care about, I love drawing and painting and art and making presents for people, I love clothes…

 

But I hate the effort it takes to do all these things and I hate feeling like I have to improve my content rather than wanting to… I hate feeling like I’m not doing anything, or doing enough, or that people around me are thinking that. I hate feeling like I’ll never be independent and happy… I hate feeling like I wont ever make money doing something I love… or if I do I wont make enough to live off.

 

Making things and posting them on social media can be great but also soul killing. I’ve done my best over the years to ignore (or semi ignore) the numbers, the analytics, and comparing myself. I ignore the fact that I got more views and more likes when I had brightly coloured hair… what’s different from then and now? I’m still relatively the same person and creator… why does my hair colour change how many people interact with me? Why do selfies do better than pictures of my work, or my dog, or things I really care about?

 

Is it the people who are watching and interacting? Or is it the analytics and the way the sites work? Does my stuff get lots or thrown to the bottom of the pile because I’m not paying for it or I don’t have 1mil on every platform? Is it because I’m not skinny enough?? I see plenty of people posting the same kind of content as me… but they have more followers and they are much skinnier than I. I’m about an average size in the UK… Does that mean less interest on the Internet? I can’t help but see a correlation. Will posting more than once a week, or once a day attract more attention? Could I even physically manage that??

 

Some people who make content like I do, may feel like I have an advantage because I have a niche or marginalised experience. Sure, I can apply to more competitions for free, I can talk about things not many other people are talking about, and I can relate in a way others can’t… but along with that, there comes a lot of internet abuse. Trying to be authentic as a marginalised person opens you up to being shit on. I mean, look at the white cis able bodied male creators out there and all the crap they got away with and still get away with, and I am including gay men here for a lot of instances as well.

 

I’m just frustrated and angry and so, so tired of fighting to be heard and fighting to be as valid as other people in the creative industry. I feel like I can never stop doing all these daft little things on social media to remain relevant that I can’t take a moment to do something I really care about and really want to put the time and work into, or even BREATHE. I can’t breathe under all the responsibility thrust upon me by myself, and by society, and by my family (not my immediate family that I live with and give a shit about me…) and by my teachers past and present… by all the people who have no idea about my struggle. All of this whilst going in and out of hospitals and doctors appointments, and private therapies, and nausea, pills, pain, and pain again, and having so many stories to tell but they’re stuck in my head, they’re stuck in draft, and I slept wrong so I can barely move today, I need to buy this and see if that will help, and oh my God where did all my friends go, and well it would be nice if they contacted me surely they know, and I should be working to pay something towards living at home but I can’t keep a job either because I’m disabled or the employer is ableist, or because I’m queer, or because I ask too many questions, oh and why can’t my past stay where it is rather than sneaking up on me months later when it has finally been put away in a box in my head that I will never touch, and now I need therapy again because no one is listening…

 

No one is listening. But people like me are constantly told how useless they are and how terrible we are just for existing. People hate disabled people, people hate queer people (especially the bi and nonbinary kind), people hate mentally ill people, people hate people born as the female sex, people hate slow dyslexic people, but they also hate educated people, they hate poor people, they hate unemployed people, they hate witches so much they might as well be starting the trials all over again… and so much more that I do not experience but others do. And I’m sure they are as tired as me.

 

Where is our right to live a peaceful life? Social media inundates us with all the worst things that are happening in the world but also the most rich and successful people flaunting what they stole.

 

What I’m trying to say is the smallest things that affect us are mostly inherently political and systematic. People’s failure to teach, learn and express empathy.

 

But who cares right? As long as you’re ballin’.

 

~ Artie

I’m Going To Be Published!

Hey pals,

 

No, my title isn’t clickbait, I’m really going to be published! 6 months after graduating my Creative and Professional Writing degree with a 2:1, I received the info that I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO AN ANTHOLOGY!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a small project and has only been made possible thanks to all the people who backed the kickstarter. We had days to spare and reached the £6,000 goal within a month! You can still pledge (I think? I’m not sure by the time I publish this… if not, then sorry.) PDF copies and physical copies of the book are available along with merch and signed copies etc.

This anthology is a collection of nonbinary writers’ personal essays about their experiences of being a nonbinary person! I’ve very excited to get my hands on a copy and read everyone’s essays and to have a real hold-in-your-hands book THAT I’M IN!

I’m sure there will be an option to purchase the book after the kickstarter closes, I will update everyone on that when I know more. I was too excited about this I couldn’t keep quiet about it!

 

Please check it out and keep an eye on the project! And thanks to India for putting all this together!

 

See you guys next week!

 

~Artie