1. What did you do this year that you’re proud of?
I finally got the balls to write a “tell-all” book about what really happened all those years ago, which landed me a publishing contract. It also showed me who my true friends were when the fakes ran away.
2. Who did you meet this year that inspired you?
Dr Bill Vicars, who showed me that Deaf has no boundaries and that you can do anything you put your mind to, including learning a whole new language (American Sign Language) to communicate.
3. What did you read that you think bettered you?
What didn’t I read? When I am not writing books, I am reading those which are written by my favourites, such as Ednah Walters, C.C. Hunter, Cate Tiernan, Lauren Kate, Amy Plum, Ruth Warburton, S.M. Schmitz… just to name a few.
4. What are songs that you will always hear and think of this year even when you’re listening on some contraption that hasn’t even been invented yet?
Being profoundly Deaf, the only songs I “hear” are the ones that play in my head from my childhood and my youth. Ones that have stayed with me the most, however are Jamaican Farewell, Uma Polama and My Friend The Wind from the 1970’s.
5. What were some times that you laughed so hard you could barely breathe?
Almost every single episode of Ridiculousness requires that I have my asthma spray handy, as well as films like “From Paris With Love.” Also, watching my husband drink from his water bottle, forgetting that he was wearing a surgical mask topped the list of funnies this year.
6. What were your favorite movies? Not what was good, not what you had to see because of your friends or the media. What were your favorites?
HITMAN – FROM PARIS WITH LOVE – MINIONS – I AM SAM
7. What are some fears that you had at the beginning of the year that you overcame?
I was terrified that my husband would leave me due to communication issues when I lost my hearing late last year. Instead, we both learned to sign and our marriage became ten times stronger than it has ever been.
8. What were quotes that you loved this year?
9. What are ways that you exercised self care?
I bought a box of surgical masks. When Marko or I get the flu, we wear them until said flu has packed its bags and left town.
10. What are things you want to see more of next year?
Snow. My husband. My parents on Facebook. Squirrels. My cats going hyper.
11. What are five things you did that you never thought you’d actually do?
Learned to converse with my hands instead of my voice.
Stood up to the bullies at KELA when they threatened to call the police.
Attended my local Deaf Club.
Wrote ten books in six months.
Was signed professionally by a major publisher.
12. What were your favorite things this year?
My husband and his family standing by me no matter what… and chocolate.
13. What are the most important things you learned this year?
Never to sell myself short. Regardless of how worthless the government made me feel, I proved them wrong on all counts. Deaf does not mean stupid, just as hearing does not mean smart.
14. What is your favourite photo from this year?
15. What are five things you want to say to people you love?
To my Finnish family, you are more precious to me than gold. Thank you for showing me what a true family should be.
To my Australian family and friends, I miss you so much it hurts.
16. What are some places where you feel true joy in your life?
Inside my memories. Laughing with my family, no matter where I am, gives me a major happy.
17. When do you feel most yourself?
When I am writing. Unfortunately, my brain continues to write when I am trying to sleep, resulting in a major bout of Author’s Insomnia.
Guzzled my Gaviscon, took a Valium and went to sleep. Temporary but effective.
20. What are some compliments that you received that deeply affected you?
Strangers telling me how strong I am to survive the crap I have been through blows me away. I sometimes have to remind myself that they read my first book and are not stalkers.
21. Who are people that you believe are bringing out the best in you?
Dr Bill Vicars
22. What items of clothing did you buy that felt the most you?
I bought two shirts this year, because of what is written on the front.
DEAF does not mean STUPID, just as HEARING does not mean SMART
I know Sign Language. What’s your super power?
23. What are you excited about leaving behind in 2015?
Surdophobic and Audistic bullies who tried to make me feel worthless.
24. What are five things that you were hard on yourself about but would never have been hard on a friend if they were experiencing it?
Getting a 3-star review on one of my books, thinking I had failed. The comment that accompanied it was, “I didn’t know domestic violence was that horrific.”
25. What are the best pieces of advice you heard this year?
If you have nobody to talk to, start a diary. It’s not a kid thing. It is a human thing. Let your feelings out. Don’t bottle that shit up. It’s not healthy.
26. What are the best pieces of advice you gave this year?
To one of the ASL students who was disheartened by the fact that they were learning too slow, “Just practice, study and practice some more. You will get there eventually. I believe in you.” Amazingly, they listened and their response made my heart swell.
27. What things have you been putting off doing because you didn’t have time?
I always have time, no matter what. (Thank you, OCD). If you don’t have time, make time. Everything can be done if you are organised… especially cleaning! Damn, I love cleaning. Watching something dirty start to shine because I made it clean makes me smile 🙂
28. What are some things you’d like to focus and work on in the next year?
Meeting all of my literary deadlines. I am writing three books at the moment with an early April deadline. Not easy, but without noise to distract me, I will get there.
29. What are the best parts of you that you feel really showed through this year?
Standing up to some toxic family members when they threatened my reputation and integrity (out of spite), regardless of their status in the family made me feel proud of me. I no longer cave in to people who try to force me to do things against my will.
30. What are your biggest hopes for 2016?
To become a major-league best selling author, to continue to reconnect with those from my past and to continue to stand up for what I believe in.
I also hope that all terrorists and suicide bombers swim to an uninhabited desert island and blow themselves into a world full of non-virgin camels and goats with STDs. People who hurt people for fun and people who hurt animals for fun do not deserve to share this planet with those of us who have a soul.
Well, that’s me. Now that you have finished reading all of my prattle, go out there and celebrate! Oh, and also…