It’s been over a year and a half since my last post. Oops. Time really has flown since mid-’21 and despite a few times when I thought to myself that I really should put some content up here the increasingly worsening issue was the amount of things that I would have to write about.
So here are some thoughts and recollections over that period, not necessarily exhaustive, comprehensive or chronological. It’ll be a bit stream-of-consciousness but it’s better to get something out than to ponder infinitely about the best way to write it all and end up getting nothing out there.
Speaking of which. I’ll start with one of the most recent events, which was completing the 2022 Nanowrimo challenge! That involved writing 50,000 words in the month of November (~ 1,667 words per day). I’ve completed it before in 2016 and 2017, so this was 5 years since my last attempt. In 2016 I wrote a series of teleplays but 2017 was a novel, as was this last year’s project. Since last time, I had mostly only written in screenplay format, which molded my writing a lot.
Most notably, I was used to writing as efficiently as possible, stripping back anything unnecessary and packing as much meaning as possible into a few lines. This is of course night and day with the style I needed to write for a novel. That part definitely wasn’t easy and I don’t think I had successfully managed to switch my brain into Novel Mode entirely. Something to continue working on.
The other important part of getting through Nanowrimo, which conflicts with my personal style is writing quickly (hitting a huge daily word count, and it’s of fresh material not adhering to any planning or outline, too), where with short screenplays I was very used to only moving on with a scene when I had edited it several times and was happy with it – and particularly in that editing, it often involved shortening rather than lengthening it! The lesson here is to just write, write, write, knowing the editing will come later, not worrying about perfectionism (and that’s what I’m trying to do here…)
I’m left with 50,000 words of a novel draft that’s far from complete (probably about half-done in terms of progress through the plot), and I haven’t touched it all through December. Thankfully the other good thing about the month of writing was getting into a habit that was working well for me, that was generally about being early to bed and early to rise and getting as much done before as possible before work. I’m going to try to keep that up – it worked better the more routine it became – and see how much I can do week by week to continue the story. In 2017 I made the mistake of trying to edit my 50K draft instead of continuing on until the draft was done, and then editing. This time I am not going back to edit, just going to carry forward until I find the end, then I’ll think about editing.
BDMR Act reform – despite the Qld Attorney-General saying that they’d come out with their reforms by the end of 2021, it was the last sitting day of 2022 that they brought their bill forward. I don’t really have the energy to go over the details of it all at the moment but it looks pretty good! They even included some stuff about waiving fees for people in need, which I think is a conversation that wouldn’t have happened without my petition. These services should be free! The bill won’t be debated until Qld parliament sits again so that’ll be interesting. During the year I was also harassed on Twitter by a bunch of TERFs – that’ll likely ignite again.
The elephant in the room with the events of the last year and a half is pretty obviously the federal election campaign. I guess we did a good job, hey.
I came on to help the campaign in Ryan before it was officially launched – I wasn’t 100% sure what I would be able to assist with but I thought I could help with social media and such. We launched our candidate, Libby Watson-Brown, and the publicly facing campaign began by doorknocking in Auchenflower on 22 May 2021. I was keen to get more of a sense of Libby so we went out together to hit the doors. She’s incredible at talking with people – which I definitely knew from entering doorknock data on Michael’s 2020 campaign, as she was a prolific doorknocker then.
To make a long story short, I eventually found myself hired on the campaign and put into the Campaign Manager position! While I was never alone there were about a zillion skills I had to learn and put into practice all at once. We saw the outside chance of winning, and we knew that if there was any chance of making it happen, it’d be a sprint and a marathon at the same time.
I was working on campaign strategy, volunteer management, internal and external-facing comms, social media management, graphic design, fundraising, events planning, materials development, and spending my weekends knocking on doors like crazy. We tracked our stats and I ended up with over 800 conversations with people on their doors over the year – and there were several other committed people with even more than that.
The weeks went by, all blurring into each other. I cried, I cheered, we responded to COVID circumstances again and again and again, the city flooded and I was without power for five days — traumatised by that — I burned out, I picked myself up again, we kept going. We created our own inspiration. If anyone could pull off what was needed, it’d be us.
On Election Day my job was to drive Libby around so that we’d visit several polling booths, so we met at her place early. It was the 21st of May, a year after that first doorknock, and the skies brought a heavy downpour the entire day. We hugged and laughed and I tried not to cry. It was a hell of a year. We chatted to voters all day, and checked in with volunteers. Spirits were high everywhere we went – it was wild. We ended the day in Mitchelton, continuing to chat with the last voters after the sunset.
I went to the Griffith campaign office, where we would enter all our scrutineers’ data, as Libby went home to change clothes and relax before the party in West End. In the car I got a call from a scrutineer at the pre-poll count. The piles of votes were showing incredibly, even at the booths we had the lowest vote traditionally. I arrived at the office and collapsed on the floor in tears. It took a while for the results to come through, and as we left for the party we were still waiting on a few crucial booths.
We arrived late, and ran into the hotel. On the TVs we saw Amy MacMahon introducing Libby for her speech. Upstairs I pushed through the crowd, saw Libby began to speak and put my hands over my heart and cried the stupidest, ugliest tears I have ever cried. The TV switched to the ABC went to Antony Green showing Ryan going Greens. Libby called out my name and I went up on the stage to hug her.
I’ll skip the political analysis of the victory, and how we actually managed to do it because this seems to have been more of the personal story of it all – maybe something there for another post. No promises.
The rest of the night was mostly trying to desperately give Libby space to breathe as a million people were coming up to congratulate her. There was a brief interlude on the phone in the stairwell of the loud, packed hotel as I explained to Adam Bandt and team that the last pre-poll results we hadn’t seen yet didn’t matter, our lead was too big on every other booth, we could call Ryan a win.
More than half a year later, I think I’m still in disbelief about it all. I worked hard but at the same time, I went from within a year going from not thinking I would ever speak to strangers at their doors to doing training events about the practise. Frankly that still feels bizarre.
What’s next on this front? I don’t know exactly. But I loved everything about the job (and about winning), and I’m never going to forget that.
Looking forward I am feeling really unsure about 2023. In a lot of ways I’m in a better life position than I ever have been at the start of a new year. Last year I had a lot of purpose with the campaign, and I was feeling very confident about my mental health state as well – this year maybe not so much.
I do really miss doing film stuff. I tried to progress things with the VFX for Clouded but eventually got told by a company that they can’t do it for me with my budget, so I need to find another avenue there. It takes a lot of time and motivation to try to move anything forward in that sphere, it’s tough. It doesn’t help that I haven’t connected with anyone from uni in a long time. That’s sad.
In just a couple of months it’ll be three years since losing Dad. That wound to my heart still aches so badly. I was getting sick of crying every time I saw a photo of him, so as a kind of exposure therapy I changed my background on my phone to him. I don’t know how much it’s helping. Three years hasn’t been enough time to heal. With every positive event in my life I wish more than anything that he could’ve been here to see it.
In October I’m going to be getting Facial Feminisation Surgery, which will include a trip to Spain to have it done by the premier practitions of the surgery. I had a consultation with a surgeon about it several years ago, but it wasn’t doable with finances, and then COVID blocked any hope of elective surgery. After an online consultation with Spain’s Facial Team I felt like they were the best option to go with — they clearly understand trans people and what’s involved in FFS much more than any Australian surgeon I’ve looked at, with their awkwardly written webpages clearly not created with any trans consultation. I’m really glad about getting FFS, but I know I’ll be anxious and scared, too, especially as it gets closer. However, with the amount of facial dysphoria I have, I don’t feel like not getting it is an option.
One more random thought to finish off this post was that I was really influenced by watching the film Everything Everywhere All At Once this year (I actually watched it three times, showing it to different people each time!) If you haven’t watched it, consider this my strongest recommendation, and I won’t spoil it to say that I found it so important. Remember to be kind, especially when you don’t know what’s going on.
Peace, love, and solidarity —