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About illness

Tell me why?

I have a sheer vanity request. I’m ashamed of myself for asking this, but I also accept how much I need it right now.

If you have the time, could you please leave a comment telling me why you read what I write? I’ve had some feedback that is making me lose faith in myself. This is a weak moment I will probably chastise myself for in the future because I feel it impacts on my credibility as a feminist and political voice, but I’m allowing it because anything that helps me gets through the next few hours and days and weeks has to be worth a bit of vulnerability.

Thank you for #lovetosarah, and all your other messages. I can’t express how much it means. As I’ve just said to the Herald and Mr Jones – words are powerful. They cause things to happen. Make your words strong and sensitive, and the right things will happen. I have to believe that.

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About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@writehandedgirl) or read more of her writing at writehanded.org

Discussion

41 thoughts on “Tell me why?

  1. I read what you write because there aren’t enough voices like yours. Not only do you give people the privilege of a glimpse into your heart and mind and what it is like to live with chronic illness, you also offer really amazing perspectives on a range of social issues. You write with empathy and you write to try and make the world better. You write without egomania and the desperate undertones of trying to be cool, you write to be understood and to help people. And by doing that, you’re extra cool x

    Posted by Coley Tangerina | December 17, 2013, 11:32 pm
  2. Hi Sarah, I read what you write because you’re so damn brave and so damn insightful. You show your vulnerabilities in the face of illness, hurt, and abuse. I think you’re amazing!

    Posted by Lilith Grace | December 17, 2013, 11:33 pm
  3. Because you word things in a way that I can understand, you help me understand issues i’m very naive about, your posts make me think, make me laugh, make me want to do more. Because not reading them would be the stupidest decision I could make.

    Posted by Eddy | December 17, 2013, 11:35 pm
  4. Because you have a voice that needs to be heard, and we love you for it.

    Posted by Northshoreguynz | December 17, 2013, 11:35 pm
  5. I got asked this question in an interview a year ago:

    Q6. Occupy Savvy: What advice would you give to a woman becoming involved in activism for the first time?

    Marama: The bigger your mouth, the more targeted you will be. That can suck but have a good cry and gather your authentic friends and support network around you – dig deep and keep going. And laugh. Never stop laughing.

    http://occupysavvy.com/2013/03/15/women-warriors-of-the-global-revolution-pt-3-marama-davidson/

    Your writing is strong and clear. And calls out nitwits. We need more of this, not less.
    xx
    Marama Davidson

    Posted by Te Wharepora Hou | December 17, 2013, 11:36 pm
  6. You’re amazing, your writing & the courage you have makes you both a hero & an inspiration to me. You are an embedded journalist on the front line of a war that all those who suffer from mental health issues are unwilling soldiers in. I read you to be inspired, to help me understand myself & to know I am never alone.

    And neither are you.

    Posted by thewarhell | December 17, 2013, 11:37 pm
  7. Oh and also, I have a severe chronic illness. For years I was too intimidated to speak up publicly about it. But I think speaking about illness and disability is SO IMPORTANT. We need to be visible, and help people to understand what we go through. You do that so well. xx

    Posted by Lilith Grace | December 17, 2013, 11:38 pm
  8. I’ll keep it simple: Because you write well of important things.

    Posted by russell brown | December 17, 2013, 11:38 pm
  9. I read because you are articulate and thoughtful and because your posts, while often deeply personal, look outwards at society with a very sharp eye.

    Posted by hungrymamanz | December 17, 2013, 11:39 pm
  10. Because you speak truth to power/privilege and we will always need this.

    Posted by philaznz | December 17, 2013, 11:40 pm
  11. I read your writing because I find it interesting and insightful. I don’t know much about how shit the mental health system is in NZ because luckily I’ve never needed to use it and I think it’s important to spread awareness and start agitating against any sort of funding cut. I think you do that, which is pretty incredible really, given the amount of crap the world has thrown at you. I think your eagerness to help others is inspiring. I think you’re a very strong person who has had to deal with a lot of shit, and I hope in some small way I can be in your corner cheering for you.

    I think you’ve got an interesting view on the world, and I hope to learn something from reading what you have to say.

    Posted by Johanna (@jmcdavitt) | December 17, 2013, 11:41 pm
  12. You’re wonderful darling.

    Posted by Kelly Dare | December 17, 2013, 11:43 pm
  13. We all need people to lean on from time-to-time. It doesn’t weaken you at all. It makes me respect your willingness to be honest.

    I read what you write because you write from the heart. You are brave and honest. You are willing to accept feedback, and keep learning.

    You make me feel like I’m not alone in battling this stuff, and that even at the worst of times, it’s still possible to help other people and make a difference.

    It’s going to be OK, OK?

    Posted by Nat | December 17, 2013, 11:43 pm
  14. I read you because you I like what you write, and the reason I like what you write is that you don’t sugarcoat it and what you say is always on the mark. Frankly, I want there to be more voices like yours.

    Also, as someone who had chronic fatigue syndrome a few years ago, I know a little bit about what it’s like being in a situation where just getting out of bed everyday is hard. So I guess one of the other reasons why I like what you write is that it, in part, describes some of the things I had trouble expressing to people at the time, and I really wish I had had your eloquence and honesty back then.

    Posted by Matthew Dentith | December 17, 2013, 11:46 pm
  15. I read your writing because it’s important. It’s intelligent. It gives me an insight into something which I have never experienced. I read because you help my understanding of issues affecting thousands of people every day in this country. I read because you have a story to tell.

    You wrote yesterday “words are powerful”. Yours certainly are.

    Posted by Lucas J-C | December 17, 2013, 11:47 pm
  16. I read it as it does give a fresh perspective on how individuals are coping like you. One needs to understand both sides of an argument in order to argue!

    Posted by patbellwp | December 17, 2013, 11:48 pm
  17. I read because you write the sort of things I only rarely managed to do but always wanted to when I was suffering from mental illness.

    Posted by A | December 17, 2013, 11:52 pm
  18. I read because you write intelligently and personally on the issues that matter to me, especially mental health and feminism. Your writing is extremely compelling and insightful and you’re just a darned lovely person!

    Posted by izzyelle | December 17, 2013, 11:59 pm
  19. I read your writing because you’re always clear, direct, meaningful, and affecting. Reading you grows me, on the inside as I work myself out, and on the outside as I build more understanding and empathy for those around me.

    I share your writing because I want it to take up more space in the world.

    Posted by Reuben | December 18, 2013, 12:20 am
  20. I read because you are articulate, and you need to be heard. Even though we might not talk, I just want you to know that someone is always listening.

    Posted by Amanda | December 18, 2013, 12:30 am
  21. I read because sometime I hope to have the courage to speak about my depression to my family. I hope to someday be able to be open about it to the point that all the people in my life know what I go through. I see your strength and it impresses me. You write well and you write passionately. You write about the truth inside of you. I’m just now figuring out how powerful that is and I try to work it into my writing, but I still disguise it. I don’t want to admit weakness. It’s a shell that the more I break it down, the more vulnerable I feel, the more scared I get and I have to hide away from the world. Somebody that stands tall and open is a breath of fresh air to a guy that has kept a lot of misery hidden away for so, so long. I’m just starting on my journey to try to feel better through therapy and medication and there are bumps and bruises and I know more are ahead. But, I see that you are going through it and continue to work and I will do the same. Thank you.

    Posted by Chase Jackson (@ChaseJack3307) | December 18, 2013, 12:36 am
  22. It’s nice to hear how you are getting on. If it wasn’t for this blog, I’d have to visit you which would be fine except I get harassed by your obese cat.

    Posted by Uncle Vandy | December 18, 2013, 12:46 am
  23. I read what you write because you’re a great writer with depth and insight far beyond your years.

    Posted by Eric Rowe (@kiwieric) | December 18, 2013, 1:06 am
  24. I read what you write to make myself think, to get a different perspective on something I care about, or to learn about something new that I might care about. I read what you write because it is worth reading what you write.

    Posted by Matthew Beveridge (@matthewjpb) | December 18, 2013, 1:12 am
  25. You’re my disability blogging pal! And you’re awesome.

    Posted by Chris Miller | December 18, 2013, 1:20 am
  26. I read your response to bob Jone’s ridiculous article and thought you to be one of the most courageous people I’ve ever (not) known. Not for expressing your understandable outrage at what Jones wrote but your complete honestly and frankness about your afflictions. I lost my brother to suicide and it’s the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Having never suffered mental illness myself I feel like an abject failure at understanding why my brother was so ill and how I could never help. But it’s people like you that express what it’s like to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts that help ignorant people like me try to understand what it must be like. You are a little piece of magic and your word make a difference to people. So keep writing and I sincerely wish you all the very best in tackling the current demons making life difficult for you.

    Posted by D | December 18, 2013, 1:23 am
  27. I’m a latecomer to your writing, but it strikes me as clear, personal, representing a voice that we don’t hear nearly enough, addressing issues that are far too often hidden. You write from the heart, and it affects those of us who read it.

    Posted by Mark S | December 18, 2013, 1:23 am
  28. From what I’ve read, our experiences are very similar. Experiencing abuse, mental illness and chronic illness in one lifetime can make a person feel very angry, hopeless and isolated. It’s extremely frustrating and isolating being in this position, as you understand – sometimes there are just no words.

    It’s very comforting to know someone out there knows what I’m going through because when you experience mental and chronic illness (especially one that’s not widely understood or even recognised), you often feel ignored, patronised and disregarded by everyone else. It’s just good to know someone else gets it. Thank you so much for being open about your experiences.

    I’d love to reach out to you but cannot find an email. If you like, you can contact me through my blog http://www.kaylaramsay.com

    xx

    Posted by Kayla Ramsay (@kaylaramsay) | December 18, 2013, 1:41 am
  29. > I’ve had some feedback that is making me lose faith in myself.

    For every person that feels compelled to give you negative feedback you have ten who get something positive from your words.

    I feel like an imposter replying here — I’ve been fortunate never to suffer from a persistent chronic illness (mental or otherwise) — but your openness and honesty has helped me to confront and understand the actions of several very important people in my own life.

    Thank you. I know it comes at the cost of many spoons, but know that you’ve got a huge number of people cheering for you, even if it’s in their own quiet way.

    Posted by H | December 18, 2013, 1:45 am
  30. I read you because you help me to understand what its like for people living with chronic illness. You write in a tone that helps me to empathise and in a style that is not convoluted. You show strength even when you think you’re showing weakness 🙂 (@Ellipsister)

    Posted by Ellipsister | December 18, 2013, 1:51 am
  31. because you address the hard stuff and give it nowhere to hide, and you do it in a strong clear voice

    Posted by Karen Lee | December 18, 2013, 1:55 am
  32. I read to know I’m not alone.

    Posted by buzzandhum | December 18, 2013, 2:09 am
  33. A lot of what you write comes from something special. It’s that transformation of pain and suffering into something … good. Something that makes a difference in people’s lives.

    You write about how difficult it can be to just face another day. This is important. Vital. People who are going through this sort of crap are lost, they feel alone. When you write, you offer a beacon of hope that there is a way through. You demonstrate to people that a path can be found. You show that it’s not easy, it’s not pretty, but with friends, we can find our place.

    I read what you write because you remind me of the love that there is in the world. That in face of all aridity and disenchantment love is perennial as the grass (thanks to Desiderata). You remind me that we are never alone, never alone.

    You have a really engaging style of writing.

    Above all this, you, along with certain others, show me something. Through all the darkness and scarring, tears and pain, there is a light. There is a beautiful bright light shining within you. Full of strength and grace. I know you don’t believe that right now, but I can assure you it is there.

    I read what you write because it is full of humanity, vulnerability, righteous anger, and love. YOU are the sort of person we should all be reading in newspaper columns.

    Posted by Good Gravey | December 18, 2013, 2:40 am
  34. All these previous comments have alreayd articulated so well why I read your blog and follow you on twitter, but your voice is a very important one. Please don’t stop.

    Posted by Michael Foster (@house_monkey) | December 18, 2013, 4:13 am
  35. I read your stuff because my wife has chronic illnesses too and while she is a wonderful communicator, by reading your brave words I find out more about her.

    Posted by Bryan (@bazfreq) | December 18, 2013, 4:43 am
  36. I am somewhat new to your blog & twitter, but find your perspective interesting and very valuable for getting through my day-to-day.

    Posted by Craig | December 18, 2013, 5:16 am
  37. Finally, the chance to give feedback without the constraints of 140 characters!

    I read what you write because practicing and promoting empathy is a big deal to me; both in my personal and professional lives. Your writing is insightful & always leaves me with things to think about. I honestly believe that yours is a voice that needs to be heard, particularly in a punitive & overly individualistic society such as ours. So please, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep fighting & being brutally honest. I always look forward to seeing you on Twitter – you’re in my Top Ten because you’re a wee legend. Lots of love xx.

    Posted by neitherplacenortime | December 18, 2013, 9:50 am
  38. honesty, and shared health experiences. But very much because it’s good writing and i like reading good writing

    Posted by Sue Tyler (@styler) | December 18, 2013, 9:52 am
  39. I read what you write because, having been referred to your work by people I like and respect, I have come to admire you.

    I find your courageous journal to be inspiring. And maddening.

    Your writing is clear and relatable. It gives me a strong sense of empathy, and of a connectedness to others around me, some of whom face (non-obvious) challenges quite different to mine, and different struggles.

    We all experiece times of darkness and despair. Your willingness to be so courageously open about yours is a treasure, a gift. I know it’s not easy or without cost.

    Thank you for giving your gift.

    – P

    Posted by Peter A | December 18, 2013, 8:19 pm
  40. I read it because you articulate what I sometimes can’t. You encourage me to face what I’m going through, if not head on, at least with my eyes open. I read it because you make sense, you’re brave and scared and beautiful and scarred and I love that you share yourself with us all. Xx

    Posted by jinderellaJanine B | December 19, 2013, 8:56 am

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