30 Under 30

When I got the email inviting me to be one of Melbourne Writer’s Festival’s 30 Under 30, I just stared at my screen for a really long time. I got up, walked around for a bit, sat back down and stared at it some more. My brain went all fuzzy. I felt overwhelmed.
It’s been over a month since I got that email and my thoughts about the whole thing are still fairly muddled. I haven’t made sense of them all yet so I’ll try and just say one thing, for now. Let me try and explain why being on this list is so overwhelming.
Last year was really hard. I feel like I keep going on about it, but that’s a testament to just how hard it was. Last year, I moved to a strange cold city that felt very separate from all the places I’d called home. People sometimes asked me why I moved and I would say that it was because there was more opportunities to do the work that I wanted to do. The longer that I was unemployed, the more I came to falter over that answer. I’d always believed that hard work and ambition could get you anywhere. But I’d worked really hard and I’d still hit this brick wall. I was lonely. I was poor. No one wanted to pay me to do anything. I came to doubt my own abilities on a fairly fundamental level. And it was hard not to place a little of the blame on this city that I was struggling to call home.
In the battering that was 2014, I lost a lot of confidence in myself and in my writing. I discovered a capacity for panic attacks that I didn’t know was in me. I’m doing a lot better now but it takes a long time to build yourself back up again.
I have this mantra that I recite to myself on days when things are hard and it goes like this – ‘There are people who believe in you. There are people who think that you’re capable of incredible things.’ That mantra has got me through a lot of things, it’s helped me to push myself to be better.
During the days (and sometimes months) when believing in yourself is an uphill battle, it means so much to know that other people believe in you. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for some incredible people who believed in me. Being invited to be on this list is like being picked up off the floor. It’s like being dusted off and told that it’s ok, it’s going to be ok. There are people who believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. This city believes in me. This city that I’m still learning to call home.
That means a lot.  
If you can spare the dollars, please consider donating to the Pozible. All the funds go toward sending the 30 Under 30 to festivals across Australia and the world. Myself aside, this is an incredible project and I’d really encourage you to support it.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year