2023 was a particularly hard year for my little family. There were numerous work and personal stresses which just kept piling up. My partner (Anton) and I kept saying to each other – it’s going to get easier, surely nothing else challenging is going to happen. But 2023 was relentlessly hard for us on all levels. And then in late October, shortly before my second book came out and I embarked on a hefty national book tour, Anton broke his hip (skateboarding) and needed emergency surgery to pin it all back together.
Turns out that breaking your hip is quite bad. As in you can’t walk for three months without crutches and are in so much pain that you basically just stay in bed. I almost cancelled my whole book tour to stay at home and make sure someone fed our daughter and swept the floors occasionally. But amongst all the shitness and hardness we mutually agreed that we still had to throw ourselves towards any and all good in our lives.
And so we asked for *big help*. Every time I was away we organised for friends and family to stay. Loved ones travelled from all over the country to feed our daughter, sweep our floors, water the garden and remind us that we are loved. Local mates joined in on a meal roster – even when I was home, dropping off pre-cooked dinners and treats to lighten the domestic load I had to carry. It’s only now, as we cautiously poke our heads up into the new year which has so far been gentle on us that I can reflect on what an absolute f#ckery of a year 2023 was and the absolute treasure our community was to carry us through it. Just in the last couple of months of 2023, I estimate around 23 close friends rearranged their lives in some capacity so that we could live ours without completely falling apart. Everyday I say thank you thank you thank you.
Why am I telling you this? Because building community is important and I hope for everyone to be part of an active community. Interestingly you don’t even have to be overly close. We had people dropping off food for us who were kind and familiar faces, but were actually friends of friends. Community doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to be.
Beautifully, as I write this Anton is now walking around (with an impressive limp that’s slowly leaving), just made me a cup of tea and is currently hanging out the clothes washing. He’s going to be ok, I’m going to be ok. But only because we exist in a framework of community that holds us together when we break a little.
- This delightful photo up top is actually from a recent garden working bee we had at our home – a birthday present to me from my mates who understand me so well. All I want to do is be outside making things and then share good food with good people.