This year has blown away so quickly, and it just felt like it was yesterday. I was typing up a blog for 2020 😅 Despite not being able to travel internationally and over-east due to COVID-19, I could really focus on my current work; on my blog, rather than what I might be looking forward to the next day. 2021 was the year that I expected to be after high school, and it was a defiant worthwhile year.
To start off the year in January, I was named the City of Cockburn's Youth Citizen of the year. For my continuous contribution within the community, across the disability community, and a small part in my local area.
2021 was the first opportunity I had to go and explore TAFE. TAFE was a hurdle that I was afraid, about the isolation I experience back in school by my fellow non-disabled peers. The original thought of catching public transport into Northbridge where I studied was quite scary.
I haven't used public transport before this, and I still rely on Uber's today, but to make it cheaper with going into the city 2-3 days a week. For the first class, I was lucky enough to have my support worker come with me, for not only public transport reasons, but also, anxiety too. After my first class at TAFE, I was confident enough to go in alone. I said this to mum “… wait, what … I'm so proud of you, hun” she said in a shocked voice.
Going into TAFE in person, I expected it would be very similar to school. Back at this time, I was still working one day a week, helping out the marketing team at the Perth Festival. Juggling work and my studies was alright. For me, I have very low spoons of energy in the day. I originally started TAFE with 6 units, expecting it would be the same workload as high school, I burnt out very early in the year. I went, and talked to my phyc, mum and my main support worker and I ended up making the decision of dropping it to three units and then dropped another one later on.
In May, for the same ongoing commitments, I was named a finalist for the 7 News Young Achiever Awards – Community Services and Volunteering Award. This was such a great evening, through meeting the other finalists and semi-finalists, alongside other people that are leaders in their field of expertise
Throughout this year my writing has sky rocketed. A massive personal goal of mine for 2021, was to do some paid writing. I've done a lot of writing for organisations/business and brands that I don't get paid for. Last year I started following Centre of Stories on Instagram, since I have always been looking, and waiting for a workshop that suited my own needs as a non-fiction writer. Many of the writers were on projects already, but I still continued to attend despite not planning on writing a book.
I got the opportunity to dive down deeper in my journey as a writer. In May Victoria hosted their annual writer's festival – Emerging Writers Festival see more information. Due to outbreak over there earlier this year, they hosted the festival, for the second year online. This was the first opportunity. I had to attend some of their events. Through learning from experts in their own genres, I could then experiment with my writing, and in fact, some of these experiments I've done were helpful.
In October the Young Writers Australia Festival was hosted for a second time online. I didn't know about this until after the festival ended last year, so this was, in fact, my first time attending some of their events as well. Held over zoom young writers, get together to learn, and to talk about writing. This is something I'm very interested, as I've only been typing on my blog – so getting some input and advice on directions was really good.
In between all of these workshops and festival events I also had the opportunity to have some paid work this year. This has been a massive goal of mine for the year, as I wanted to go beyond my potential audience, and this has definitely succeeded my expectations. On my blog I am to reach people with disabilities, people with lived experience of disability, and people that don't know people with disabilities.
By putting a $$$ on my blog, or even some of my blogs that will defeats the purpose of why I started this website and my public social media accounts in the first place. With not putting money onto my blog, I have written articles for Every Human, At Chat and Pulch.
Finally, another goal for me this year was to get out, and explore the community. I have done this through attending Perth Festival and Fringe shows, but I have also done this through trying new things out. I had the pleasure of meeting two of my great friends today, Ronnie and Shannon. At the end of March I took my support worker along to Sociability night at Metro's where I met these two wonderful women, along with their house mates. At first I was very nervous, but after couple of times meeting up with these ladies we become friends.
With having the chance to explore my community more out of sport, I was lucky enough to prioritise my own self-care. With leaving a sport which I was so heavily involved in; the past couple years have been really hard with no longer being involved in the sport, but at the end of the day, I'm so glad I left when I did, as its better for my mental health if I'm not involved in this community.
Talking about self-care; Over this year, I have met some incredible people in some of the best accessible salons in Perth. As many of you that follow me knows, I get a weekly hair wash from Studio Mistfits. They are a small hair salon in northbridge which is specifically adapted for neurodiverse people, LGTBIQA+, and people with sensory overload issues. I started going there a week prior to my 7 News event at the end of May.
Every month, I have been getting new designs on my nails. Thanks to Rockebella Beauty a beauty salon that caters for people with physical disabilities and the LGTBIQA+ community. This little salon of folks, is a great group for company while you're there.
I hope everyone is having a lovely holidays at the end of this crazy year that we've all had. Happy new year everyone, I can't wait to get back into business soon!