Benny Walker | Change the date

It’s January 26th, and social media is raging with two kinds of rhetoric regarding the significance and appropriateness of the public holiday.

It’s a sombre, but pertinent, day to talk to Benny Walker. The musician is one of the many Indigenous Australians for whom Australia Day is a day of mourning, of invasion and survival. It is these people, one of whom is me, whose pain is at the centre of this debate.

Without question, Walker, a member of the Yorta Yorta clan of Echuca-Moama, wants to see the date of this national holiday changed.

“Changing the date, it’s quite a simple gesture to be made towards the first Australians in this country to show them that people are at least trying to understand. I think it can go a long way towards reconciliation in Australia,” Walker says, as he reflects on the back and forth that has dominated mainstream and social media alike in the prior days.

“It’s changed before, you’ll still get your long weekend, and you can do it in a way that’s not throwing it back in the face of the first Australians.

“To have this kind of resistance against it, [the date] obviously means a lot to Aboriginal people. As far as us asking for a change, and there being rallies and marches held today, and festivals anti-Australia Day, or pro-Survival Day or Invasion Day.”

But Walker is also keen to note progress. Though 2018 saw no official change in the date, it, of course, marked the first year that triple j moved their inaugural Hottest 100 from January 26, to the last Saturday of January, after a vote was put to their listeners on the matter.

“It’s so significant because they’re influencing the youth of Australia. Whether they like it or not, they have a powerful voice, and it gets heard really broadly, and for them to make a change like that and stick to it even after they would’ve copped a lot of backlash, speaks volumes of what they’re about,” Walker says of the move, which although praised by many, was met with resistance from others.

“The change is going to help educate people that may have been initially frustrated with the change, and help them look a little deeper and try to understand why the decision to change the date on triple j’s part is really important,” Walker says.

The extremely talented singer-songwriter has music pulsing in his veins. His grandfather Archie Walker is renowned in their region as a guitar player. Archie’s son, and Benny’s father, Rob, has played guitar in bands for much of his life.

“I’m lucky in the fact that I was born with Aboriginal heritage. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and interact with mobs in different communities, and do workshops and play in festivals, and experience that in a way that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to,” Walker says.

One such opportunity is his upcoming appearance at the Yalukut Weelam Ngargee festival, an annual celebration of Indigenous Arts and Culture festival.

Celebrating its 13th year, the free, family-friendly festival takes place in St Kilda’s O’Donnell Gardens, a significant meeting place in Aboriginal culture.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play there a couple of times, and was happy to play in the middle of the afternoon among a group of amazing artists,” Walker says, reflecting on his evening slot that will finish the festival.

“I love playing this festival. There are worse places in the world to perform than in a park down near the beach at St Kilda.”

Walker sits comfortably among a huge lineup of Indigenous Australian talent for the festival, including Emily Wurramara, and Hottest 100 charting Baker Boy, to name but a few. Festivals like this one are a humbling experience, Walker says, and a great reminder of all that Indigenous Australia has to offer.

“I get to see new artists just about every time I do a festival like Yalukut Weelam Ngargee. It reminds you and hits you in the face with just how much talent there is among Aboriginal people in Australia. You could easily put together mainstream festival lineups just with Aboriginal acts.

Originally published in Beat Magazine. 

Advertisements
Image

Allday | Channeling spirituality

On Allday’s single In Motion, he professes he’s no deity.

It’s but a line in the killer track with Japanese Wallpaper, but Tom Gaynor’s belief in something beyond him – and the inspiration that comes from that – is a rolling, passionate current that flows beneath his work as a musician. “Spirituality and musicality are a tightly entwined partnership, creating something better than the sum of their parts,” says Gaynor.

“I feel like when you’re making music, or making art, you have to be channelling something. And it’s something that I just feel. I’ve had enough evidence of spirituality in my experiences creating, so I have to live by it.”

Though he now resides in Los Angeles, and has lived most of his adult life in Melbourne, Gaynor’s Adelaide roots are part of what underpin his connection between his music and his spirituality.

“My friend says there’s a crystal shaft under the city, and I definitely feel that strange psychic pull going on in Adelaide. To be honest, I didn’t make much music in Adelaide. I made some of my first stuff there, but oftentimes I’ll go back to Adelaide and I’ll find it a very fruitful time for lyrics and ideas.”

After being raised in a Catholic household, and embracing what he calls typical teenage Atheism, as an adult, the 26-year-old has become interested in other philosophies. Though he muses that it’s probably a path walked by many people, he’s driven by what he identifies as spiritual energy, and apparently that energy is plentiful in his home town.

“A lot of artistic people, not just musicians but all creatives, move away from Adelaide and when we come back, we feel that same weird psychic energy that creates a freaky feeling, but also good artists,” says Gaynor. “If you’re a sensitive person to that weird energy, Adelaide can either freak you out or it can move you.”

Releasing a slew of mixtapes and a hugely successful debut album in 2014, Startup Cult, Gaynor has recorded the process of his growing up, since first becoming Allday in 2011.

 “Early days my motivation was be as big, be as known, as possible. On Speeding, my motivation was probably perfect a sound and perfect a mood.” Gaynor is not happy about the three year wait between Startup Cult and sophomore LP Speeding, a stretch he labels as weirdly long and says he plans not to repeat. “That should be the time where you just go hard and put out an album 11 months later, but I guess I was just going through a transitional phase, doing too many drugs, and I didn’t know what to say. “It was hard, because I wanted to make music, but I was spending too much time laying in bed feeling sorry for myself.” Fuelled by his indulgence in a less than healthy lifestyle, the move to Melbourne, and the bite of its bitter winters, may have seemed to halt his progress as a musician, but ended up shaping what would become Speeding. “I wanted to capture a more fun perspective of living in Melbourne, but it just didn’t come. The themes were unconscious.” Despite originally being inspired to create a big pop record, the resulting album is made up of vastly different themes and sonics than he set out to create. “Those [pop] songs weren’t turning out right, and it ended up being a shorter, Melbourne-esque thing. I think I had to get that out of the way, I had to get those songs from that era done,” Gaynor says. “My attitude to that time had changed, and this was where I was at. By the time I finished it I wasn’t going through that heavy, come down from drug depression in Melbourne anymore, but I had to get that out.” The influence of producers Cam Bluff and Mitch Graunke helped Gaynor step away from the set-in-stone idea of creating a pop record, and perfect the wintery, Melburnian sound that resulted. “Cam is amazing on drums, watching him program drums on Ableton is amazing, to me it’s like watching a sunset, or a waterfall, it’s beautiful.” The partnership between the three saw Gaynor possess a level of control he’d not had on Startup Cult. It also helped him grow into a more collaborative musician, something he is somewhat resistant to. “It wasn’t so much conscious as I have trouble connecting [with other artists], especially with rap. If I can do it, why put someone else on it? It’s something I’ve had to get over. “When you’re making a song you’re either making it for yourself or for an audience, or a bit of both, and sometimes I make it for myself too much. It becomes more about me wanting to say certain things, rather than write a song for the enjoyment of others. That balance, it’s something I wrestle with,” Gaynor says. “Control is important to me. It’s my product, I’m the one whose name is on it. It’s hard to make anyone care about it as much as I do, it’s not physically possible. But [creating the album] was an exercise in growing and understanding what to control. [On Speeding] I had a high level of control, that I didn’t have before, maybe too much control. I know now that some things are not meant to be done alone.”

Originally published in Beat Magazine.

Image

My Beat Magazine Music Reviews 2016

LIVE REVIEWS

The Smith Street Band @ Max Watts

In Dave Grohl style, Wagner sat upon a magnificent throne decked out with flashing lights, revealed to the sweeping sound of the Game of Thrones theme. Read more

smithstreetbandianlaidlaw.jpg

Karnivool @ The Croxton Bandroom

There’s something hypnotic about the way the singer moves on stage. His body smoothly melts into the rhythms and riffs with an understated elegance. He’s been doing Hotline Bling style dancing long before Drake ever thought to. Read more

160701karnivoold128-058.jpg

Heroes @ Melba Spiegeltent

As a part of Melbourne’s Leaps & Bounds festival, Heroes was a one night only show that saw five of Melbourne’s independent singers and songwriters take to the stage and sing two songs by kickarse women that have inspired them to create their own music. Read more

heroescredittonyproudfoot.jpg

Ladyhawke @ Howler

Ladyhawke’s music is undeniably poppy and bright, with her voice a moody contrast. Though the contrast, and her self proclaimed ‘happy sad’ style is at its best, absolutely brilliant, that same style can come across as lacking effort at times. The performance was missing the depth and dynamics that could have made this a more interesting show. Read more

ladyhawke-2016-650.jpg

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks @ The Croxton Hotel

Savage may be the frontwoman and namesake of the musical outfit, but the Last Drinks – Kat Mear on violin, Rene Mancuso on drums, Chris Lichti on bass, Joe White on guitar, and Brett Marshall on guitar and banjo – were the real stars of the show. Read more

cashsavagebyannamaddenbandanna.photography-7.jpg

Wil Wagner @ The Corner Hotel

The anecdotes flowed from his mouth like the whiskey down his throat, and the room soaked in his every word, relishing the intimate moment with the beloved Melbourne musician. His sister ran on stage for a hug after he completed the song he wrote for her, My Little Sinking Ship, in just one of the highly emotional moments of the show. Read more

smallwillwagnerian3637.jpg
DMAs @ The Croxton Hotel

Although a few people could be spotted leaving the venue after Delete, when DMA’s came back out for their encore they put those punters to shame, nailing Laced, and finally Lay Down, ending with the best tunes of the night. Read more

dmas.jpg

Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy @ The Melbourne State Library

“We’re lucky that people of our craft and our culture can be at home here,” stated one of the artists during the night, a reminder of what made this absolutely special. One of Melbourne’s most iconic venues was filled with a community of people who historically have experienced horrible treatment, and continue to face discrimination even in 2016. Yet every attendee made their way into the hall filled with palpable joy. Read more

heapsgay_1.jpg

Slipknot @ Rod Laver Arena

“Halloween is our fucking Christmas,” declared Corey Taylor triumphantly before launching into Before I Forget on October 31, his voice dripping with the volatile energy that makes Slipknot so intoxicating. Read more

small-slipknot1creditianlaidlaw.jpg

The Smith Street Band @ The Corner Hotel

Perhaps you don’t give a shit, but I’ve sobbed to Smith Street in the discomfort of my own room and depression more times than I can count, but this was the first time it’s happened during one of their shows. It was there, clutching my tour jumper, with tears dripping down my cheeks, that the power of the band was in full force. Read more

smithstreetbandcreditlewisnixon.jpg

Julia Jacklin @ Howler

Her voice is dreamy and gentle, her harmonies are gorgeous, her folk swagger commands the attention of every person in the room: Julia Jacklin is a force to be reckoned with. Read more

juliajacklinfeature_0.jpg

ALBUM AND EP REVIEWS

And Then Like Lions – Blind Pilot

Nebeker’s voice is sweet and earnest, floating around the textural melodies with a gentle strength and clarity. Sharply and beautifully produced, though many of the tracks have a similar feel, the album never comes across as formulaic or repetitive. Read more

blindpilotfinalcvrrgb1500-650x650.jpeg

Raleigh Street – James Moloney and the Mad Dog Harrisons

James Moloney and the Mad Dog Harrisons’ latest offering, Raleigh St manages to pin down the sound of the Northern Suburbs in which you’d find the titular street, and conjure up the nostalgia that comes with it, all in spectacular fashion. Read more

raleigh.jpg

Christmas Party – She and Him

Sweet and moreish like a Christmas dessert, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have created a seasonal record that hits the right notes, and manages to distinguish itself from being just another Christmas album with their signature sound. Read more

she-him-layered-cover.png

Beat Writers Wrap Up

Highlight of 2016: I met a dreamy man, who makes me happier than my own company, and got to share many wonderful musical adventures in this wrap up with him.
Lowlight of 2016: Losing a job with no warning. But it was okay, I found my way to Beat and better things.
A Wild Prediction for 2017: Surprise posthumous release of a festive David Bowie album:  The Freakiest ChristmasRead more

image.jpg

Image

Look Good, Feel Better

I’ve cried at my reflection more times than I can count.

As a gal with a chronic illness, the horror of staring into my bulging eyes, grey skin and tired dark circles so purple and bruised that it looked like I’d been hit in the face, made me scared to shower for fear of catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

But with a bit of concealer, blush, lashings of mascara and some eyeliner, my corpse-like face stopped looking so close to death, and gave me the courage to walk out my bedroom door.

That’s one of the very many reasons I love makeup.

13672509_937363676389988_562370347_n.jpg
Retro CV, Hazel Grace style, circa 2011.

Though I rarely feel as bad as I did in the above photo, bad days still happen often.

When I feel like shutting all the doors, pulling the curtains and diving beneath a pile of blankets so heavy no one will ever find me, I take a moment to face my reflection, and be kind to it.

With brighter, more defined eyes, colour in my face, and bruises concealed, I feel human, and I am ready to be part of the world with the confidence illness all too often steals.

With this in mind, Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is something I am immensely passionate about, and will forever sing the praises of.

LGFB is an Australian program, that offers a free service for cancer patients, to teach them how to manage the way their illness and treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect their appearances.

Women, men and teenagers are taught everything from proper skin care to makeup application, and head-wear demonstrations.

The program is by no means huge, and is managed by a small team of staff, and volunteer support from cosmetic specialists, makeup artists and hairdressers, giving their expertise to help these sick individuals regain some confidence.

Without government funding, the program relies on the support of corporate and community support, one partner being Priceline Pharmacy.

Though there are many ways to get involved with the wonderful program, a new makeup brush collection now available from Priceline is an exciting new way to support the cause.

13514282_917534958372860_710749881_n
Blush brush with Hourglass Incandescent Electra blush

The high-quality, synthetic, twelve brush collection is cruelty-free, allergy-free and suitable for sensitive skin.

15% from the sale of each brush will be donated directly to Look Good Feel Better, helping the estimated 10,000 people who will take part in the program this year.

I’ve purchased the blush brush, and the angle blending brush. Though bigger than my usual blush brush, is excellent for applying blush. Picking up just enough pigment and then buffing in perfectly. Works perfectly for bronzer, or just plain ol’ powder, too.

The angle blending brush is great for blending out eyeshadow edges, or even buffing in concealer.

If you feel like adding some brushes to your arsenal, I cannot recommend these more. Not just for the good cause, but the undeniable quality.

13514444_917534938372862_1350885110_n.jpg
Angled blending brush with Charlotte Tilbury The Vintage Vamp eyeshadow palette

Not too long ago, someone online wrote a pointed comment towards me, claiming that my money spent on makeup could be better spent on mental health care.

The fury that pulsed through my veins as I read that was enough to drive a woman to break things.

Image is directly related to wellbeing and confidence. It is hard enough to suffer any kind of illness, whether that physical or mental, and lose the state of health so many people take for granted, without losing the appearance you’ve had your whole life.

13511591_917534978372858_1999586369_n.jpg

Chronic illness can changed the way people see themselves, whether they like it or not. That “I look like crap” feeling doesn’t leave.

Every now and then my usually invisible illness rears it’s ugly head and becomes visible to me. Suddenly I want to hide myself away, I feel embarrassed to walk in public. I remember people staring at my thinning hair, falling out in chunks, my bone thin frame, and my face so devoid of colour it was frightening.

So if something as small as buying a few makeup brushes can help women, men and teenagers living with cancer across Australia feel good about themselves, and wake up each day with confidence, then it feels like the least I can do.

Look Good Feel Better brushes are available online here, or in stores. 

13511538_917534935039529_1341627524_n.jpg

*These were all purchased with my own money. 

Image

Best in beauty 2015: FACE.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.03.54 pm

Eyes and lips may be fun, but a spectacular base really holds it all together.

I am a lucky little sucker with naturally very clear and even skin. I guess it makes up for the fact that my bowel is basically useless, almost.

But no matter what your base makeup needs, foundation, concealer and powder form the canvas on which makeup artistry shines.

Keep in mind, my skin is normal to dry, very clear (I’m lucky I rarely have any kind of blemish), and I enjoy a much more minimal coverage to a full coverage.

12583910_825885134204510_892599960_n

FOUNDATION:

Nars Sheer Glow
Shades: Deauville/Mont Blanc.
Although neither sheer nor glowy, this demi matte finish foundation is my long time love and favourite. The smallest amount goes a very long way, and it provides the loveliest, soft finish to my skin. When my skin is on the drier side, it has a tendency to be suck up Sheer Glow, so to rectify that problem, I’ll often apply over the top of a thin layer of Stila Stay All Day.

Mac Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
Shade: NC20.
My current favourite foundation, Mac PLNWF was new in 2015, and was my solution to makeup just not lasting through very long, and sometimes very hot, days. I’d always thought Mac foundations were too much for my skin, but true to its name, this foundation is nourishing whilst still retaining its long wear. Considering I don’t enjoy full coverage, I use the tiniest amount, patting in a thin layer with my fingers, and it last all damn day, remaining flawless without looking like a mask.

Mac Studio Fix SPF 35 Concealer
Shade: NW20.
After finding nothing but disappointment at the bottom of my concealer tubes, I wanted something long wearing, that I could simply dab on for spot concealing of my very occasionally blemishes, whilst also counteracting my tired, dark circles. This ticks all my boxes, and the little pot lasts and lasts.

Mecca Cosmetica Facial Sunscreen SPF 30 (also available in SPF50, but couldn’t find bottle for photo)
SPF is important, ladies and gents. All day, erryday. As a fair skinned person, I’ve tried a few, but none sit under makeup and sink into skin quite as well as this one. Try the small tube before investing in a large one, if you’d like to see for yourself.

Mecca Cosmetica Lit From Within Primer
I’m yet to find my perfect primer, but this was my most consistently used primer in 2015. Provides a subtle, illuminated healthy glow without looking shiny or oily, and does create a smooth surface for foundation to go on top of.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation
Shade: 1 Bare
Mecca Maxima’s solution to my foundation not lasting long enough for my liking. Although I do love this foundation on its own, I like it best when combined with Nars Sheer Glow, as described above. Also comes with a little concealer on the lid, but I lost that long ago.

12576313_825885120871178_2008111068_n

I used to HATE powder with a passion, but these two products have completely changed my mind, and I’ve fallen head over heels in love.

Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
Light and glowy, this powder sets and prolongs the wear of makeup without changing the colour or looking powdery. The light reflecting particles leave a diffused look on the skin, blurring pores and fine lines.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder 
Shade: Ethereal light
The powders have hype following them in a huge way. If you’ve not heard of them, they come in a variety of shades and finishes, all imitating different forms of light. I’ve tried a few of the colours, and without doubt Ethereal is my favourite. It slightly warms up my face and makes me just look more alive and bright, without adding any sparkle. Although probably not best for a darker skin tone, it adds an ethereal, airbrushed affect to pale skin.

Loved this? Want more? Well you’re in luck, cause there’ll be part four!

Damn, guys. I’m a poet and I didn’t even realise.

Go back and read previous instalments, the first about eyes here and the second about lips here.

His ankles are surely broken.

 

Image

Best in beauty 2015: LIPS.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.03.54 pm

Lips! If a year ago you’d told me in one year I’d have an excessive (and expensive) collection of lip products, I would have been shocked that you had squandered your ability to time travel on finding out useless facts like what I put on my lips.

I also would’ve been shocked that I’d developed the confidence to wear such vibrant lip colours out of the house.

Rocking a bright lip takes guts, and it’s something I’ve had to work up to. But discovering formulas, undertones and colours that work for me has been outrageously fun, and its something I highly recommend everyone try.

Here’s hoping you can benefit from my excessive study.

12583807_825885144204509_1506523451_n

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick:
Released in 2015, this new formula for Urban Decay comes with a slightly small shade range, but one of the highest standards in quality that I’ve come across. Long wearing and damn near transfer proof, despite the matte finish they are hydrating rather than drying.
Favourite shades:
Tilt, bright orange;
After Dark, deep berry pink with a purpleish blue toned shimmer; 
Stark Naked, peach toned nude;
Blackmail, almost black purple. 

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks:
2015 was the year of the liquid lipstick, and I finally got the chance to try this formula after Sephora finally opened in Melbourne Central, and they’re honestly the only reason I braved the lines and crowds.
Favourite shades:
Mother, dusty mauve pink;
Bauhau5, deep raspberry;
Aeysha, rich lavender.

Nars Audacious Lipsticks:
Hands down my favourite lipstick formula. Perfectly opaque in one swipe, as they advertise. Only wish they didn’t transfer quite so easily.
Favourite shades:
Anna, mauve toned rose.
Natalie, a flamingo, coral pink. 
Dominique, a pink lilac, and perhaps one of the most unique colours I’ve ever come across.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils:
A long-wearing, intensely pigmented lip product. These are so good, basically every colour I try knocks my socks off. Only criticism is they can be a tad drying.
Favourite shades: 
Sex Machine, mauve toned pink,
Walkyrie, burnt, brown toned red
Dragon Girl, bright pinkish red,  
Never Say Never, berry toned pink.
Damned, deep magenta red. 

Nars Lip Liner El Agua:
I’m not really one for lip liners, but picked up the purple toned pink El Agua in an attempt to make my excessive collection of mauve-pink toned lipsticks more purple. Long lasting on the lips, elicits compliments.

Stila All Day Liquid Lipsticks:
After acquiring the two holiday sets from Mecca Maxima, I developed an intense love for this formula. Extremely long lasting and easy to apply, in a variety of bright, unique shades.
Favourite shades: 
Patina, mauve pink;
Baci, grey toned mauve;
Cosmo, bright violet;
Aria, deep berry;
Cianti, blackened plum. 

L’Staj Liquid Lipsticks:
A wild card entry! These lipsticks are available online only, via the L’Staj website. A niche brand catering only for lips, their small shade collection is of an outstanding quality for the price, and is available in packs to further save dollars. I often receive compliments for these colours.
Favourite shades:
Lady Cheeky, pastel lavendar. 
Lady Lovely, classic, soft pink. 

Mac Evening Rendevous Lipstick:
This limited edition reddish toned purple landed in 2015, and instantly became a favourite shade. I’d be sad that it’s limited edition if it weren’t slightly less awesome than Men Love Mystery, one of my favourite lipsticks of all time.

Colourpop:
I would own many more Colourpop lip products if the shipping cost weren’t so expensive. I’m saving up for a mega-shop sometime in the future. I have the Lippie Stix in Lumiere, a collaboration with YouTube star KathleenLights, and three Lippie Pencils, in Lumiere, Grind and Leather, all of which I would recommend if you’re looking to experiment with colour without laying out for more expensive liners.

It’s been a long and treacherous wait, I’m aware, but the space between now and the hotly anticipate part three will be here faster than you can say “This mauve toned lipstick is definitely different than all those other mauve toned lipsticks I already own. I need it now.”

If you missed part one, which was all about the best eye products of the year, go back and read it here.

For a science lesson from a regular dude who likes to drink beer, and who won’t change his mind on anything, regardless on the facts set before him, click here. Science is a liar sometimes. 

Image

To the friends of a person living with a chronic illness (in this case, me)

Dear friend,

I know when you first met me, you had no idea what went on beneath my skin.

I know that the first time I told you I was having surgery, or the first time you asked about my scars and you heard just how many operations I’ve had, it came as an almighty shock. Especially because I’m so pedantic about hiding my chronic illness as best I can, but also committed to being as honest as I can be when asked about it.

There have been times where I’ve felt like I’m falsely advertising myself to prospective new friends. Here you are, meeting this bright, vivacious young woman, brimming with love and appreciation for life, when underneath all that, I’m not as shiny. There are moments where I feel so far from jubilant, like I wish I could curl up and let the pain stop.

But I’m aware I’m not the only person my illness affects.

I’m writing today to apologise to you, for all the times that my chronic illness has impacted on your life.

I’m sorry for the tears you may have cried when my surgery went wrong, and complications dragged it out hours beyond when you expected to hear from me. I’m sorry for the seemingly never-ending wait where you didn’t know if you’d see me again.

I’m sorry for the times I’ve called you sobbing, crying and screaming unintelligibly as the sadness consumed me. I’m sorry for the times I’ve fainted, and you’ve had to catch me, or nurse me in a concussed state.

I’m sorry for the anxiety that has followed my physical illness, for the panic attacks you’ve witnessed, and the emotional strain they caused. I know seeing me like that must be terrifying, and so incredibly hard, and you’re so strong and kind for sticking with me while I shake, cry and hyperventilate.

I’m sorry for the anxiety that I’ve caused you, and for the toll I’ve taken on your body and mind.

I’m sorry that you have had to see me in helpless, sick states, and felt there was nothing you could do.

But I want to thank you.

Thank you for being here with me.

Thank you for sitting by me, holding my hand, and making sure I never felt alone. Thank you for your never-ending optimism, for not giving up hope, even when I felt I had. Thank you for always being there when I need you, and for bringing joy into my life when I need it most.

Thank you for being my friend, above all else. Thank you for not running at the first sign that things weren’t perfect, and instead assuring me that nothing in life is perfect, and this is small in comparison to what else I have to offer.

I want to thank you for each and every little thing that you’ve ever done for me, but writing the list would require a lifetime of typing.

There’s not a day that goes by where I wish I would wake up to a miraculous cure, where I wish that the pain would cease and my body would function perfectly, but that’s not just for myself. I wish I could take the hurt away from you, I wish I could lift the weight of my illness from your loaded shoulders.

I am adamant that loneliness is a far greater pain than any symptom my bowel could produce. The fact that I am no longer lonely is the thing I am most thankful to you for.

Sometimes people run, for the idea of befriending a chronically ill human seems daunting or hard. At many times in my life, this left me feeling unlovable and worthless.

Your friendship has helped show me that I am a person with value, that my illness means nothing in comparison to all the other parts of me, and your support has helped me grow and blossom into the woman I was born to become.

I used to identify myself as a sick girl before anything else. Thanks to you, I now know with that I am so much more than that.

You’ve helped give me courage to take on things I never thought I could do.

I am a journalist, a high-achieving university student, a musician, and according to you, I could be a part-time model (though I’d probably have to keep my normal job). The fact I have a chronic illness may be a part of me, but it by no means defines me.

Most importantly, though, I am your friend too, and I will always be there to support you in return when you need me. It is my honour to return the favour for as long as I am on this planet, or even on a spaceship, or mars, if I’m unable to avoid the inevitability of space conscription.

I don’t think you realise how wonderful you are, and how much I admire, appreciate, and love you.

I have to stress that: you are incredible, and not a day goes by where I am not thankful for your presence in my life.

Things can be really hard sometimes, but without doubt, the pain I’ve endured in my 22 years pales in comparison to the happiness I’ve found with you.

Love and thanks, always,

Claire.

This may be a personal account, but according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, chronic illness affects about half of the Australian population. 

Please be aware that chronic illness exists in many shapes and forms, and is often invisible.

I hope this personal thank you can show just how much a simple friendship can mean to a person who may be suffering more than you realise.