It’s been a hot minute since I made my last post dump on here (roughly a year and four months? or something like that?) and I’ve written a decent handful of features for NME Australia since then! Here are all of them:
QUICK LIL’ CONTENT WARNING: This post openly discusses suicide and gender dysphoria. If either of those might be triggers, I recommend giving this one a skip. It’s all good if you gotta, I still love you!
Hey, hi, hello!
I wanna try to do a little recap thing every month for this year; I feel like 2022 kind of just zoomed by and I didn’t take the time to stop and reflect, or appreciate, all the beats I hit. And I’ve never had the best memory – we can chalk that down to my tendency to repress both emotions and general everyday thoughts, my ADHD and my complex PTSD – so I think journalling regularly will be healthy for me. And I already have this blog so like, why not make it all public? It’ll be rough and sloppy and very word-vomit-y, but I think I like that about it?
Anyway, I tried to kill myself on New Year’s Day. December 2022 was one of the roughest months I’ve ever lived through, mentally, and I lost hours every day to spiralling thoughts and multifaceted crises – most relating to gender dysphoria, isolation and hopelessness. Those last couple weeks of the year, I was sleeping maybe 2-3 hours a night, 3-4 if I was lucky. I would struggle to make it through shifts at work or day-to-day chores/errands because all I could think about was cutting or getting high or just straight-up killing myself.
I made it to January 1st and… I don’t know, I kind of just lost control? I was high and I was sad and I was just not in a good place – I succumbed to the voices in my head, that’s the vaguest way I could explain it. I tried to overdose on amphetamines. Milo saved me. I spent a few days in physical agony and a few more in mental agony, and then after about a week, it properly dawned on me that I’d lived and I couldn’t keep trying to shove my dark thoughts to the side. I had to address them and address what was causing them and try to fix the issues head-on. I booked in to see a psychotherapist and stopped taking the meds I’d started right before my mental health began slipping (y’know, more than it usually does).
And then on Monday January 9th I went to my great grandmother’s funeral; she died on December 29th last year. I could spend hours writing about her – how much of an icon she was, how much she meant to me, how much she meant to literally hundreds of people – but I think for my own mental safety, that stretch of time needed to be a blip on my radar, lest I spiral again. I will most likely write something in-depth about the legendary Olive Robinson in a separate thing. But that trip to Whittlesea felt like a turning point of sorts – I saw family I hadn’t seen in years and felt like I was doing so behind a mask that I’d really grown sick of wearing.
On the drive home I decided I wanted to stop presenting as masculine. It became clear that the masc-leaning enby aesthetic no longer represents me; I don’t feel connected to androgyny like I did a hot minute ago. That’s a revelation I’d been inching towards for pretty much all of 2022. We got home on Tuesday morning and I shaved my beard. I bought a bunch of skincare and makeup products, jewellery and a whole new wardrobe of feminine clothes, and then a wig that I felt comfortable wearing almost all day, every day. On Friday January 13th, for the first time in about three years, I had exactly $0 to my name (in fact I actually owed Milo a couple grand). But I drained my savings on shit I needed… shit I needed to survive.
I do not pass. I don’t even look like a cute non-passing trans woman; I straight-up just look like a man in a dress, the kind TERFs and Tory types tout in tweet threads to “prove” why trans people are evil and disgusting. I look like I should be on a sex offender registry. I make the transvestite bartender in Shrek look hot. I am disgusted by myself every time I look in a mirror, and I know my family and friends are when they see me too. But I’d rather look like a grotesque caricature of a woman than any kind of man – inflamed five-o’clock-shadow, boxy nose, quadruple-chin and all.
I am learning to be confident in myself. I am taking and posting selfies and not caring that they’re more embarrassing than anything else. I am noticing every curious glance and side-eye, double take and grimace I receive and choosing to parse them as empowering rather than callous – I am being perceived and I am making people think critically about what they consider to be acceptable displays of femininity. I don’t care that I disgust them. I just hope their disgust morphs into reflection; “Why am I disgusted when I see someone that looks like that?”
In attempting to present more femininely, I’m allowing myself to connect more with my femininity. That seems obvious, writing it out, but there’s layers to it. I’m not hiding away from my gender dysphoria or trying to brush it aside when it shows; I’m confronting it and learning why it never settled after I started living openly as non-binary; because I don’t exist on the spectrum where I thought I had for the past five, six, however many years. We can unpack that later on, for now I’m just really enjoying wearing more feminine clothes and practicing makeup, diving into voice training and just generally living more freely with my gender expression.
I stopped biting my nails so I can grow them out and paint them – that’s been a really tough habit to kick. But it’s been a few weeks and I’ve only caved a few times, so… We’re getting there! I bought a fidget spinner and started picking up some new stimming techniques that don’t fuck with my fingers or teeth. And then on January 31st I got them done professionally for the first time, with hard gel extensions, at Miss Jay’s in Thornbury – a queer-run and -inclusive salon that I could not recommend more. I had a wonderful experience there, left feeling high as hell on gender euphoria, and I adore my new nails.
Milo and I drove to Tharawal on January 16th. We spent most of our time at my parents’ house just enjoying some R&R but we did go to the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo to see the Unpopular exhibit (small, but very, very cool) and we went to Donut Papi in Redfern (also small, but also very, very cool) to finally annihilate the doughnuts I always see on Instagram and wish I could annihilate… Is it possible to have a crush on a doughnut? I might have a crush on Donut Papi’s strawberry milkshake doughnut. That may be the fattest sentence I’ve ever written out. Anyway, 10/10 on those ‘nuts. The trip as a whole was pretty solid. We saw Bruno and caught up (a bit) with my parents and got to spend a few days away from the city… It was nice. I do miss home a little. But the trip also made me realise how much of a home Naarm has become for me over the past year. I love it here a lot more than I love Tharawal.
This month I interviewed six* people for Australian Guitar (Eric Gales, Bonnie Raitt, Tony Perry of Pierce The Veil, Isaac Hale of Knocked Loose, Jordan Finlay and Connor McLaughlin of Teenage Dads, and Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders) and one for NME (Tim Nelson of Cub Sport). I finished a ~5,000-word profile that I am so proud of and happy with, for an artist I think is doing amazing things both in and outside of her professional life; I also wrote a bio for an incredible up-and-coming indie artist named Leo (whose new single ‘Half Unconscious’ is STUNNING and you should absolutely pre-save it!) and I started working on a few other little freelance-y bits and pieces. Work in general is going good, I think. I’m optimistic for the rest of the year and how my career will progress over it. I am very keen to pick up a lot more work in 2023 – swing me an email if you wanna do something together?
Milo and I saw Remi Wolf play the Forum on January 5th. That was my first real “outing” after the suicide attempt. Milo isn’t a fan of Remi’s music but they came with me because they were too worried to have me go alone. We ended up having a super great time and although they still haven’t been able to get into Remi’s studio material, Milo conceded that she absolutely fucking served on that stage. I also saw Montaigne play a free corporate gig at District Docklands on January 28th; it didn’t scratch the itch their headline show last year would’ve (but as I wrote about in this post, I’m a fuckhead and got the dates mixed up for that) but it was a very solid show nonetheless!
Milo has been championing my feminine overhaul wholeheartedly, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have them in my corner. Since “the incident” we’ve been a lot more open about our feelings and what’s going on in our heads. It’s been difficult to open up but it’s been great, too. I feel more connected to them than I have in ages. And we’re fucking more often than we have in ages, too, so that’s cool.
In terms of other media I consumed this month, I finally started watching the second season of Euphoria (great), I finished reading None Of This Rocks by Joe Trohman (decent) and I read Kisses For Jet by Joris Bas Backer in one marathon binge-read (meh). I finished collecting the colour editions of Scott Pilgrim and finally started re-reading those – I’ve mowed through book one and half of book two so far – and I started reading Sellout by Dan Ozzi (so far, really solid). I am absolutelyobsessed with the HBO adaptation of The Last Of Us – I can’t believe they knocked it out of the park so perfectly? I was really worried they’d fuck that up. I will definitely write something about it when the season is finished.
It feels like it’s been a huge month. February is looking even more stacked – especially gig-wise, I went to two (2) shows in January but I have 18 on the itinerary for this month (SO FAR) – and I’m… actually really looking forward to everything?
Anyway, this blog has been dead since I published those Good Things interviews because of all my mental health struggles and gender-reckoning shit. I really need to focus on getting some paid work under my belt right now (my bank account has a total of $1.62 in it and I still owe my partner like $400) so I probably won’t have much up on here for a little while, buuuut I have a stack of content in the backlog – I just need to find the time to edit/tidy up/do all the furniture for it all. Soon!
Until then, I hope y’all are keeping safe and feeling groovy like a smoothie!
All the love in the world, Ellie 💖
Here are some songs from this month that I’m vibing a whole bunch: