This week’s photos are from that incredible snow storm we had 11 years ago in Merseyside. It’s rare we get snow like that.
Hey we made it. Just a couple of weeks left of the year and we made it. 2022 here I come! Yeah! Don’t stop us now cos we’re having such a good time. Woot! alt-tabs because ADHD and checks news Well ok. Omicron. That’s ed up. If you can please try and get to a walk-in centre and get boosted. I went at 9am the other day and was out by 10am. My wife went 2 days later and had a similar experience. No idea how it is now with these numbers. Stay safe. Try not to catasrophise about this. I know that’s a very big ask. I’m… coping as I have oddly more immediate concerns that are causing me anxiety. Yay? So this is how the year ends. Not with a bang but with a scream. It’s… the most… wonderful… screams into whisky glass… time of… gets larger whisky
It wasn’t all bad… was it? Is it even ok to ask that? I feel horrible for thinking that this year had some real moments for me. I absolutely needed them and I sincerely hope you have had moments that helped you. It does feel very odd to say that the pandemic helped me or was good for me. Obviously I wouldn’t have chosen this timeline for us. Yet here we are and it helped me? I can’t easily reconcile those two things. So many people have died. What right do I have to be happy occasionally?
I’ve tried to find an answer to this quandary of “a pandemic helped me…” but failed. What I did find was many people have experienced it. You are not alone. This is a global event. One of the most important things we can do is be open, listen, talk, be kind and respectful. Learn. Grow. Maybe let go of the guilt so you have the ability to go on to the next thing instead of letting it hold you back?
If you’ve followed my journey through 2021 you’ll know mid-way through my “egg” cracked. It’s a term used in the transgender community to refer to a transgender person who doesn’t yet realise they are trans. You may have a moment, like I did, where it cracks and you’re like “Oh… oh! Holy moly!” I had this in July and I’m not alone. It seems quite a few people had their eggs crack because lockdown provided safe spaces to come out. Of course it is important to recognise that lockdown also forced some trans people back into unsafe spaces and I hope they are ok. During the pandemic I found new spaces and new discussions. I listened and learned. One day I read something and crack. I had such a casual understanding of the situation I mentioned it to my wife 5 minutes before dropping her off somewhere. Little did I know where that would lead. I almost never present as masculine now. I’m confident enough to go out almost anywhere in a skirt and tights with makeup on.
What a year. The next few minutes, hours, days, and weeks are going to feel like 20 years has passed. I can only hope something this year has given you the strength to keep going. Being non-binary is not a choice for me. It is an understanding away from so much that has been explained to me over the years. Would I chose to put myself through something so stressful during a pandemic? I keep thinking that people are going to attack me for wearing women’s clothes because that is what is happening. This is not a choice it’s me understanding myself and I am stronger for it. Strong enough? We’ll see. I am made stronger by those around me. That is why I courageously wear a skirt outside and my empowering jacket covered in LGBTQ+ positivity. I need to change the world so I can feel safe. I need to change the world so the younger generations can feel empowered and make the world a better place for us all.
… in a few weeks. It’s Christmas. Fill your lungs with crisp chilly air, if you feel ok doing so, during a winter sunrise if you can. Take a moment for yourself.
This isn’t to show off. This is to remind myself of a few good things that happened because I absolutely needed a few good things to happen. I’d advise you to think back over the year and make your own list. Anything that gives you strength to get to tomorrow.
- I have an amazing wife who never said “Have you tried not being a mutant?” She was understanding and loving.
- I walked past a car and some kids were overjoyed at my choice of clothes. They opened the door and shouted “You’re amazing!” I’ve never experienced anything like that.
- I posted a photo of me courageously wearing my skirt and tights outside on the Snag Tights Facebook group. It got over 1,000 likes. That is about 100x more than anything I’ve posted on social media in 10+ years. I was lost for words. People can be that nice to a stranger? Over 1,000 people?
- I was commissioned to write a few articles including;
- Making new connections through video game photography for Disability Arts Online
- Waves of anxiety for The Mersey Maritime Museum
- We raised over £500 for the autism research charity Autistica via my Twitch channel.
A few highlights from the site over 2021
- Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.
- Fear, doubt, disbelief. Got to let it all go.
- Did the pandemic help be understand my identity?
- he/they is non-binary now
- 3rd anniversary of my autism diagnosis
- The return of social anxiety
- My digital self
- You Be You
- What a year of open water swimming did for my mental health
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12 highlight links from 2021
- January – Autistic togetherness during lockdown | Wellcome Collection
- February – Neurodivergence And The Spirit Of Progress: The Hill We Climb
- March – Every Mind Matters – how video games can be used to support positive mental health
- May – Temple Grandin: What’s Right with the Autistic Mind – TIME
- June – Three Transgender Kids Share Their Stories | Cup of Jo
- July – Wellcome Photography Prize 2021 | Wellcome
- August – ’Authentically myself’ beats medals for non-binary U.S. Olympic skateboarder | OPENLY
- September – Emma Mitchell 💙 on Twitter: “If you wake & feel very low, here’s a step-by-step to help,based on scientifically-proven ways to alleviate anxiety & lift mood. Important:if you’re on meds & have missed a dose, sort that first. If you’re frightened by your thoughts, emergency numbers are the last step below…” / Twitter
- October – ADHD and Imposter Syndrome – by Rach Idowu
- November – Coming Out Autistic – Scientific American
- December – FOR NEWLY DIAGNOSED YOUNG AUTISTIC PEOPLE – Autistic Girls Network
- Latest coronavirus advice from the National Autistic Society (UK)