Anatomy

Before I begin, I must first apologise to Jamie Trower, the author of Anatomy. I came to the book launch, purchased a book, and I hate to admit it, but it has taken me until now to settle down and read it.

For six months, your poetry has sat on my bookshelf just waiting to be read. It wasn’t out of ignorance, or that I didn’t care for poetry, or anything else. I felt that to enjoy Anatomy, to be able to take it in and appreciate your beautiful language, that I needed to be in the right space.

So, today, I read it. Actually, more like absorbed it. I sat here with my sticky note arrows and posted 17 arrows, either for a favourite poem, or just a line.

Anatomy is a confronting book of poetry, from page one all the way to that blood red page and beyond. It doesn’t gloss over the pain, confusion and sheer anger Jamie felt, not only at his accident, but at his brain, his disability. . .

Disability hung over my shoulders
like an ocean 

Anatomy is a long, painful journey. Jamie details his skiing accident on Mt Ruapehu, his time lost in a coma at Starship Hospital, and then two years of rehabilitation at the Wilson Centre (where we went back to launch this work). He falls down, and learns how to get back up again.

He is angry, sad, confused, lost in a world where he no longer understands. Caught inside his own, broken brain, trapped down a rabbit hole. This poetry feels therapeutic, cathartic in a way.

With each page, you feel everything Jamie felt. His words catch in that part of your brain where you think “What would I do if this was me? How would I feel, my whole world tipped upside down…” Not only the raw pain and anguish of the immediate aftermath, but the tugging, aching struggle of returning to a new normal.

My favourite poem is  ( maybe,  tomorrow ) , the second to last poem, as we come to the end of the journey we’ve been taken on. It takes us from this incredible adversity to a feeling of confidence and anticipation. A tone of ‘If I can get through this, I can do anything’ slinks throughout this piece, imbibing you to feel this for the boy called bird.

 

(You can find Anatomy here on the Makaro Press site)

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A new beginning: 2015

So, last year life was a bit… challenging, to say the least (I’m not going into detail here; if you already know, cool. If you don’t, it’s not important)

In saying that, in the last 6 months, I have gotten closer to back on track, and things are looking up. I’m in a much better place than I was this time last year. Although my issues last year were based on the circumstances at the time, they had a huge impact on my life, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without having gone through that.

And so, from there we get to where we are today; I am in my first semester at AUT doing a Bachelor of Education in Primary. I’m about to go on my first Practicum for 6 days, where I will actually teach a lesson in English, do a game with a group in Maths, and a Math assessment on a child, among other things.

I’m also continuing my volunteering at Zeal (Check out what I wrote about them here), both in the Social Marketing Collective and helping out in other ways that I can. As well as that, I’m still a Civilian Instructor at the City of Auckland Cadet Unit, where I do mainly admin and support work. I’m also occasionally writing on the Tearaway magazine, which is an online magazine for and by youth from all over New Zealand. (I generally post up on my writing page when I’m published anywhere)

So, I’m hoping to do a bit more writing on here, get back to posting regularly across a range of stuff; Issue pieces, my opinions, what I’m reading, poetry, personal catch ups.

I’ll be back again soon, I promise.

Failure is easy, Perseverance is hard

So, today I sat, and failed my Restricted license test. I didn’t know about indicating when doing a parallel park, which is considered a ‘critical error’ in the test, also known as an automatic fail.

I’m disappointed of course, having spent $137.40 on it, and coming down to Te Aroha for a special trip, but I understand why the test is hard; it’s to make sure we’re driving competently and safely on the road.

What I don’t agree with is that the test is almost designed for you to fail on the first time. They don’t tell you that there is a Section 1 that you must pass to continue on to the test, and you’re given very little feedback until after the test. Even just a cautionary ‘You were a bit close on that turn’ would help someone and maybe help them to pass instead of fail.

I’m going to have a little bit of a mope about it, because I was really excited about getting it, but then I’m going to persevere and practice what I’m shaky on, and then go for it again.

At least it’s cheaper the second time around.

I need some time

I may not be around as much for the next few weeks. I had my last Semester 1 exam today, and I’m working Friday and Saturday nights.

After that, I’m off to see some family and do my Restricted license test (I’ll definitely let you know how it goes), and just get away from Auckland for a while to do some thinking and working.

I’ve got a lot of big decisions to make over the next few weeks, many of which could define my future. I need some more time before I start to talk about it outside of discussions with my family and close friends, but eventually, I’ll tell you all.

 

On a less serious and super exciting note, I was accepted as a ‘Maverick’ for the youth magazine, Tearaway. It’s an awesome opportunity, one I’m incredibly excited for. I’ll post up any articles that are published for you all to see.

My Favourite Word

I don’t know if I’m just an anomaly to the norm or not, but I have a favourite word. I like the way it sounds, what it means. I don’t think I’ve ever actually used it in something, but I just know that it is a word I want to use.

When it’s the perfect time to use it, I will. But for now, I’ll just share it with you.

 

kenopsia

noun

  1.  the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet—a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds—an emotional after image that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs.

Those Who I Admire: Nakita Turner

Although I’ve never met her, I know that Nakita Turner is an amazing young woman. At only 15 years old, she has released a powerful song about bullying called ‘One Voice’. She has the vocal ability of someone much older than her, and is definitely wise beyond her years.

I admire Nakita because of her strength. She was bullied in a range of ways, from being booed off stage, to being bullied in school. Instead of just standing by and letting it happen, letting these people crush her dreams, Nakita took it differently.
She took her experiences and those of nearly 200 other Christchurch school kids and made their stories into something beautiful that has been shared around New Zealand.

She spent two years crafting the lyrics and music for One Voice, as well as appealing to artists like Massad and Restoration to contribute, while being supported by a range of mentors around the country, including members of the Zeal team.

She may be only 15 years old, but she has done something many people think of but don’t actually do; see a problem and DO something about it. Use the talents and contacts they have to make a difference to the world. Bullying is something that gets talked about it a lot, but it is rare for it to be done in such an accessible way.

I admire her because she is a beautiful, articulate young woman who is making a difference in this world, someone who I know will go far.

Here is Nakita’s amazing song

Nakita Turner

Those Who I Admire: Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern is one of my Favourite MPs. She was once a Vice-President of Young Labour, as well as President of the International Union of Socialist Youth, before becoming the youngest Member of Parliament in 2008, before Gareth Hughes was elected in 2010.

I admire Jacinda for many reasons. The first of which is that since she became a member of Parliament up until December 2011, she was the Spokesperson for Youth issues, and although she doesn’t hold that position now, she is still a major advocate for the issues New Zealand children and teenagers face every day.

I also admire that for her time as Spokesperson for Social Development, she went head to head regularly with National MP Paula Bennett over a range of social issues, including poverty, homelessness, family violence, among others. She spent her time defending beneficiaries, single parents, the young and the homeless to an opposition who didn’t seem to care. Despite resistance, Jacinda has always been persistent about standing up for what she believes in.

Finally, I admire her passion for involving Youth in Politics. At Youth Parliament last year, she was actively involved in supporting her Youth MP, as well as the other Auckland-based Labour Party Youth MPs. She is also actively involved with Young Labour, both the Princes Street branch at Auckland University, as well as Young Labour as a whole. She genuinely believes that

“If we don’t provide good and strong beginnings for our children and young people, all sorts of things can go wrong, making both youth affairs and youth justice such incredibly important areas of work.”-
(From http://www.gloss.co.nz/Lifestyle/Career/Interview-with-MP-Jacinda-Ardern.html)

I absolutely admire this woman not only for her achievements, but for her drive to succeed not only herself but the country as a whole. Plus she worked for my transcendent political idol, Helen Clark. That’s always a plus in my books.

Jacinda Ardern

Those Who I Admire: Elliot Taylor

Elliot Taylor is many things; a Youth Worker, a Social Justice advocate, a Spoken Word Poet, a Hip Hop Artist, a Hipster (We think. It’s something to do with the beard and the pageboy cap), and one of the people I greatly admire.

I think he’ll be surprised by this, but he shouldn’t be. At Zeal, he is one of the hardest working people I know; as Advocacy and Operations Manager, Elliot does quite a lot. I’m not entirely certain what, but I know he does a lot of it. I believe it also involves a lot of coffee, and he is a connoisseur of a good cup.

I admire him because of what he does, and the passion with which he does it. He runs the Zeal Social Marketing Collective I am part of, as well as doing a whole lot of Social Justice projects on the side. He has had a hand in many projects all over New Zealand around Youth Issues (I’m not entirely sure I can name them all, just know that they happen). He is constantly coming up with new ways to engage with and support Youth on the issues that are important to us.

Another reason for my admiration of him is what he does outside of Zeal. He has just finished and released his first EP, ‘Up’ . How he found the time to do this considering everything he does is mindblowing. It’s also not what you’d expect from a skinny white guy from Palmerston North.

Elliot is one of those people that is truly passionate about what he does, a trait I admire. He genuinely hopes to change the world, one step, one person at a time. It’s actually a compelling sight to see. Not only does he know he can change the world, he wants as many youth to have that same opportunity to make a change in their community, their city, eventually the world.

Finally, I admire his belief in the Youth he works with. No matter their background, what they’re dealing with or have overcome, he believes that they can reach the stars and beyond, and will do whatever he can to help them get there. He gives every opportunity he can to nurture their skills and encourage them to do the best they can. I know that he has given me so many opportunities in areas I enjoy, and has done so for many others.

Elliot Taylor

Elliot Taylor

Those Who I Admire: Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson is a chronically ill feminist writer with an awesome blog called Writehanded Girl. Although that is important to who she is, it’s not the reason I admire her.

Sarah is amazing. She writes openly about her struggles with chronic illness and mental health, her problems dealing with Work and Income NZ, and how hard it is to be a Feminist in a world where women are attacked physically and verbally both in real life and online daily. She also has a column in the Nelson Mail; here is her first piece.

I don’t admire her because of her disability, because she isn’t just her disability.
I admire her for her strength in overcoming a serious group of issues she deals with every day, many of which I don’t and won’t know about. I admire her because in the midst of her own struggles, she stills supports and advocates for a range of people. She even has a page on her blog for people who are having issues dealing with WINZ.

I admire her because she stands up for what she believes in. Even on days when she is low on energy to do much of anything (described by ‘spoons’, which you can read about on her blog), she still tries to do what she can for herself and others. When #YesAllWomen became a viral hashtag, Sarah became an advocate for those who felt they couldn’t share their stories themselves, but wanted them to be told. Using her own blog, dealing with her own pain and that of those telling their stories, she shared them, supporting these women to get their experiences out there.

For all of this, her strength for herself and others, her bravery in the face of adversity is why I admire her. She is an incredibly talented writer, is smart and has a lovely online personality.

In light of all her daily battles, the fact that she is still here, still fighting for herself and others, is worth admiration alone.

 

You should follow her on Twitter at @writehandedgirl.

Sarah Wilson (Writehanded Girl)