In brief: Hey, everybody! I sort of went away, but not really. Either way — I have news AND I’m back!
Note: I’m an activist/writer/media contributor full-time. If you can, consider supporting my work so I can do more of it by becoming a patron at PATREON or making a one-time donation through PAYPAL. Thank you!
It feels really good to be writing this right now.
I didn’t actually go away. I’ve been doing a ton of writing — very often on all night stretches to fit it into my unpaid “day” job. (If you can call a job you do basically 24-hours/day for three-and-a-half to four days a “day” job.) The unpaid gig that provided me with a bed was so much of my time that I hardly got to promote the pieces I published over the past four months. If you want to go back and catch up, you can grab everything at my Credentials Page which I update every time something goes live.
I’m also producing for the Best of the Left Podcast now which is exciting for all the reasons — including the increase in that contract as well as the trust my friend and client Jay is placing in me after eight years of the content being entirely his. (You’ll be shocked to hear that my first curated episode was on reproductive rights and #FightBackTX: “Moving the goalposts on “undue burden” (Reproductive Justice)”.) I’m also writing for new outlets, including personal essays and narratives in my platform and expanding my base. You all and your messages of encouragement have kept me from giving up. Honestly.
ANYWAY. Back to the announcements and updates….
Things are changing. And I’m super excited. The gig that I thought was providing me a safety net turned out not to be not what I was told. BREAKING: poor people in desperate situations are perpetually taken advantage of by those around them, including friends and family. When I hit my breaking point, I did what I typically do: I started letting loose on Twitter. And a very unlikely thing happened. A conversation about poverty TRENDED. For the uninitiated, that means that more people were talking about my #PovertyIs than any other topic for a day.
Even though 14% — or 49 million — Americans are food insecure and that number hardly fluctuates with the state of the economy, no one talks about poverty. So I decided to. I have two articles out so far:
I have two more on the way this week. Poverty is so complex and so stigmatized and pathologized that even my rather boring, ordinary story breaks down into a series of pieces on the contributing factors and assumptions that come with long-term languishing in disadvantaged circumstances.
Those circumstances are what makes this update a #GetWell2015 post. My inability to access appropriate, comprehensive medical care is largely what lead to my need for a safety net — a safety net a gracious godsend is providing me starting the beginning of August. I have a very simple, but very severe medical condition (that I’ve talked about at length here) which has made achieving even a portion of what I’m capable of impossible.
I might suddenly be a believer in karma.
I know get to return to physical therapy in a real, twice per week plus home exercises way and with the treadmill time prescribed to me — but prohibited by my physical therapist if I haven’t slept. I get to sleep now and possibly even eat — even though the state has taken away my SNAP for daring to cross the $1000/month income level as a self-employed person. (That’s for another day.) I’m moving to a peaceful, supported — document supported and enforced — situation with parks, open space, quiet, HIGH SPEED INTERNET, an understanding of what I do for a living and what it means to be an only child/at-home introvert, with someone who’s backstory gives them understanding and empathy for my situation. They’re also responsible and together and a massive sports fan. JACKPOT.
Please allow this update to be both a celebration and an apology for breaking my promise to post here regularly. Even if breaking my word was inadvertent and out of my control, it is still a breach of trust. I will be getting back to this space and tending to it regularly again now that I have taken back control of 80+ hours of my week.
I’m really looking forward to seeing just how far my health has actually come despite the discomfort that comes with not sleeping or eating or tending to one’s basic needs. By the time I move the beginning of August, I’ll know where my new baseline is and be able to do simple things like exercise and sleep and have some time off here and there (which our culture needs to find a way to recognize as a health necessity).
I have some exciting things coming up and hopefully more announcements due around the time or just after my move. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate those who have stuck with me, added on as Patreon supporters, and sent encouraging messages rather than abandoning me as so often happens when people with public profiles profess challenging circumstances. You all are pretty damn amazing. I feel lucky every day that you are on this journey with me.
So, here’s to more coming up and more consistent attention to this space.
Note: If you have something you want to rant about, let people know, vent over, or add to the #GetWell2015 project and discussion, just email me: KatieSpeakMail@gmail.com. I won’t be able to cover everything that’s important because I’m writing from a personal perspective and I haven’t been through everything there is to go through. Pitch me or send me what you’ve got — it can be short or medium-lengthed and I probably am not going to ask for edits. I’d like to include some other voices because poverty, wellness, and stigma affect a massive range of people and experiences.
This post is an entry in my year-long project documenting all the messiness and inconvenience and stigma of trying to get well in our culture. You can subscribe, follow, and join in the journey at #GetWell2015 here and on Twitter.