Goodbye 2022. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!

CN: Mentions of ableism, eugenics, the pandemic, depression, suicidal ideation, gaslighting, and physical illness

Whew. I made it. Just barely.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Nothing Without Us Too came to be!

Holy moly, when Talia and I pitched Renaissance to take on a second disability-fiction anthology, we had no idea the work would happen during a global pandemic. And the reality for many of us disabled creatives was that our mental health had been tested to the full because of being the “onlies,” as in only we could die or become severely ill from COVID-19. We watched as people took off their masks and didn’t seem to care about what happened to us. The result seemed to be that many disabled authors in my friend circles or who I observed on social media struggled with words—either they had a hard time enjoying reading or writing or both.

Talia and I considered those who submitted to the anthology like superheroes who fought through this cloud of eugenics by creating art. (And this is not to shame those who couldn’t write. I had gone through that for all of 2020. You’re also superheroes for taking time to rest your brain through this mess of a pandemic.)

But even though I had co-edited an anthology before with Nothing Without Us, by 2022, I had found the weight of everything around me and the isolation from people had taken its toll. Even simple tasks had seemed almost insurmountable. Truthfully, I don’t even know how I managed. I know Talia felt it too. But thankfully, by March, we curated a heckin’ awesome manuscript with 27 stories and a foreword by the wonderful Amanda Leduc. The anthology would happen after all. (It was published in Sep 2022 and you can find it here!)

April brought showers. Flowers were rising, but I was sinking.

This past year almost didn’t keep me in it. The host of heavy-duty stresses, a potential lack of medical support, and gestures-at-everything-about-the-pandemic had brought me right to the brink this past April. I was near the end of my rope and was strongly wondering if I should continue to take up space on Planet Earth. Hope had fled me in a way it never previously had. I’m always someone who lives for hope. Like, that unrelenting Irish optimism thing is real in me.

But back then I didn’t feel anyone cared; and yet, for some reason, I thought I’d say something on social media, expecting no response as to whether I mattered at all.

This is the result of that cry for acknowledgment. Dozens of responses. I printed them out and pasted them on my office closet door, under a rainbow of shredded paper with a cute unicorn on top who is saying, “You MATTER.”

Photo of my closet with all of the affirmations posted on it.
I will keep this up and stare at it if I ever feel that low again.

You can save a life just by letting someone know they matter, folks. Thanks so much to all who sent me kind replies.

The go-ahead for cool kids who tear through space!

Starry space with an aqua-silver spaceship. Its center and sides resemble spoons!
The SS SpoonZ will tear through space in 2023!

Feeling much better from getting honest with my therapy and family and closest friends, I decided to remain on Earth. So, it was time to get back to what I love—writing.

After discussing the editing budget with Renaissance, we could now hire sensitivity editors for the first “season” of my new book series, Iris and the Crew Tear Through Space!

Sensitivity editors are such a blessing because even if you research like you’re training for a medal, it feels so much better to receive validation or correction, so you know readers have a much better chance of finding themselves in your stories. I also have been careful not to act like I know all the lived experiences in my Iris series from a deep point of view, but just to have them “be” as disabled/Deaf/Blind/neurodivergent characters doing the PEW-PEW-PEW.

To date, the book is with the final sensitivity editor, and I am both nervous and excited to receive their notes. All I want is to make Iris and the Crew shine. Hopefully readers will love this crew as much as I do!

I got wired! Well, I got jewellery-making wire, anyway.

One thing I did to soothe my brain this year was take up jewellery-making. I had done this with quilling years ago, but repairing a few pair of earrings had inspired me to learn more things! I played with wire, polymer clay, chips of stone… And because of hot flashes, I had to crop my hair super short, so that made it a good opportunity to wear my art on my ears!

Silver hook earrings with stones in red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple. A silver leaf dangles from the end of each earring.
I’m proud of these Pride earrings!
Silver hook earrings with little baby Yodas made of polymer clay.
I couldn’t resist making these little Grogus out of polymer clay
Silver hook earrings with white coral and garnet, and a twisted silver wire pendant with the same stones.
A gift for my mother. That pendant was one of my first twisted wire projects!

Cosplayed another Barbie

A Black Barbie is transformed into Reve Sevander, dressed in black with brown leather strips in cross-cross over a black tunic. She is smiling and holding a purple lightsaber. There’s a little brown and beige puppy beside her.
My fanfic of how Reva is now!

I had a bit of a jolt that triggered a core trauma, so once again, I soothed myself with an art project. I loved the Obi-Wan Kenobi series so hard. Fantastic mental health rep. And I also loved Reva. Read more about this Barbie cosplay in “How Cosplaying a Barbie as Reva Sevander is Helping Me Through Childhood Trauma.”

I have to add something about cake, right?

This fall, I discovered that I could make pale pink frosting from replacing milk with liquified strawberries. And I’m also getting better at making the cake sides smoother!

A two-layer vanilla cake with strawberry jam and whipped coconut cream dividing the layers. The cake is topped with pale pink strawberry icing. The cake and two pieces rest on plates on my countertop.
So nom!

My physical health decided to smack me into another galaxy…

Liver and GERD issues peaked in the fall of this year. I felt so massively ill and eating was not my friend. I had to make a drastic change in my diet (don’t worry, my cakes are made from bean flour and they weren’t the cause). But radically altering how one eats while one is experiencing intense gastro pain that takes away one’s appetite is… super fun.

However, resilient little thing that this GenXer is, I am figuring it out. I also managed to lose quite a bit of weight over the course of the year, so that is helping. (Btw, one can be fat and healthy. I just wasn’t healthy at a certain weight.)

So, I’m still working through this. Blood test results are showing improvement, but I am still not out of the woods yet. Still, my Irish optimism is saying that all will be well!

Being gaslit one time too many.

You know, I can move past quite a bit. I’m like that. But when someone publicly gaslights me, never mind privately, then I am done. I don’t wish harm on anyone, but folks like that can never re-enter my life as a safe people. I took off the month of December for intense self-care.

I thought to myself: This year I survived suicidal ideation and am working through other health stuff, and I’m living with a chronic pain disability, all during a pandemic people think is over. I don’t need anyone punching me while I’m already down and vulnerable.

So, along with eliminating excessively fatty and fried foods, I am putting myself on a strict drama diet. Consider me drama intolerant.

Um, well, so 2023?

Yeah, despite the craptastic stuff, there were good things in 2022. I’d made new friends and built existing relationships. I still had laughs and am so ridiculously proud of Nothing Without Us Too. I would really love to get out there in 2023 to promote the anthology and then Iris and the Crew. Even if I have to wear 17 masks. I miss in-person events. I’m that rare thing—an extroverted author.

My wish is that we all have an easier time of it in 2023. It’s been challenging for so many of us, and trials can sometimes cover over things, so we can’t celebrate the wins. May you be able to feel those wins with glee next year (which begins at midnight).

Happy Hogmanay for those who celebrate it. May you boldly release the cranachan! (I’m sober so I replace whiskey with maple syrup. I’m okay with that!)

A greyscale close-up of me, standing in front of a blank background. I am a white woman with short silver hair cropped closely on the sides. I am wearing dark metallic rimmed glasses with rhinestones on the side. I’m wearing silver hook earrings with flat beads and a plaid shirt.

Cait Gordon is an autistic, disabled, and queer Canadian writer of speculative fiction that celebrates diversity. She is the author of Life in the ’CosmThe Stealth Lovers, and the forthcoming Iris and the Crew Tear Through Space (2023). Cait also founded the Spoonie Authors Network and joined Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the multi-genre disability fiction anthologies Nothing Without Us and Nothing Without Us Too. 

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