Karie Bookish Dot Net

Creating While Marginalised

Note from Karie: I’m currently very busy working on my forthcoming book, so over the next few weeks you will read a series of guest posts on creativity, making and identity penned by some very awesome people. You are in for a real treat as they explore our shared world of making.

First up is yarn dyer and composer Angelina Panozzo who you might know better as GamerCrafting. This is a powerful and personal essay on what it means to lead a creative life when the world tries to get you down. I hear you, Angelina.

In today’s society of “Instagram culture,” it’s easy to get swept up in the belief that everyone else is living a charmed life, full of sunny successes and perfectly arranged yarn stashes. It’s perhaps too tempting to forget that there are actual people on the other side of the screen with worries, stresses, and problems, who are just as stressed out and frazzled as you are. I’m certainly guilty on both counts, feeling toxic and jealous that some people seem to be living the high life while I stress-cry into my bran flakes three times a week.

I wake up every morning as the same person I’ve been for five years now: a gay immigrant. Neither of those things encapsulates who I am: I’m also an indie yarn dyer, a big geek, a gamer, and a gardening novice. Sometimes I design knitting and crochet patterns, and I’m trying to get a book out this year. I like woodland walks and fancy scissors, I enjoy photography and I studied music in university. While my friends would call me “A Creative,” it seems society only sees me as those first two things: gay immigrant.

With every headline I read, I feel like the air is being pulled from my lungs. It’s a specific, acute kind of panic that only comes from being part of a marginalised community. It’s like drowning, except you’re sitting at your desk editing a new video tutorial while you schedule content. It’s like being in open space without a space suit, except no one knows that you have no oxygen and they all want to know why the book isn’t done yet.

I have the privilege of being white and speaking English as a first language: I will tell you that if both those things were not true, we probably wouldn’t have had success with our immigration appeal in 2014 – not without having to shell out even more money for an immigration lawyer. For over a year now, my future in this country has been uncertain. I won’t bore you with the long, complicated, frustrating details, but I’m only living here thanks to an EU visa. For over a year I’ve had to get up, read the news, drink my coffee, swallow my panic, and sit down at my desk to create things. Content, new yarns, patterns, create, create, create. There’s no paid time off when you’re a freelance creative. There are no breaks, no sick days to take when you want to sit on your kitchen floor and sob into a loaf of fresh soda bread.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my job. I love being a part of this vibrant, shimmering community, and I’ve met some truly amazing people thanks to the work I do. I love the ethos of the DIY community, and seeing fellow creative humans discover new methods and techniques is what gets me out of bed at obscenely early hours every morning (yes, even weekends). Creating new things is what sets my brain on fire with inspiration and ideas, whether I’m dyeing up new yarn shades, writing a flute choir folk tune, or lugging 50kg of photography equipment into the wilderness to get a macro shot of a spider web covered in morning dew.

Sometimes, though, the fervour of inspiration is dampened by the quiet march of panic and uncertainty. It’s hard to dream up exciting new things when you don’t even know where you’ll be living in a year, or if all the plans you’ve made will be dust in the wind of change. It’s hard to plan in this reality: not knowing whether to stay or go weighs heavily on the immigrant mind. It’s like the song by the Clash: “Should I stay or should I go now? If I say there will be trouble, but if I go there will be double.” Stay and risk it, or try for somewhere else and risk that? These are decisions that have to be made on a knife edge of doubt, and you’re never sure whether you’re just panicking because you’re predisposed to brain bats, or whether it’s a clear and present danger.

Creativity and DIY innovation are the lights at the end of the proverbial tunnel for many of us.

Whether you’re struggling with immigration, parenting, mental illness, chronic pain, or a myriad of other stresses and maladies, we’re all in this big creative boat together. Step into the craft canoe, fellow maker: we have cake, yarn, and shoulders to cry on.


7 Thoughts on “Creating While Marginalised

  1. Searingly honest and heart-wrenching to read. Stay strong, and I’m looking forward to the book x

  2. I totally get your post Angelina, and the not knowing what’s hoping on, not being able to make plans is grindingly horrible. But if it helps, when I met you at unravel this year, the impressions I got were of someone I thought I connected with, that I could be friends with, that was beautiful and intriguing. Gay? Pfft, so? Lucky wife, to have you as a partner. Immigrant. Yep. My uncle moved from scotland to chicago. I spent lots of my childhood in germany, I have relatives all over the world. Being an immigrant shouldn’t ever be a thing of fear, and I hope that it won’t be again, in the near future. Thanks for writing this, I hope everything works out and I look forward to seeing your book whenever it’s ready xx

    • I loved meeting you too Jacqui! While I’m happy that most people don’t think Gay or Immigrant is something to be ashamed of, I still live in a society that loves getting whipped up about immigration. While the gay issue isn’t as big an issue here anymore, it’s still being fought in the USA, in many states that want to undo marriage equality. It can feel, as you perfectly said, grindingly horrible.

      Still, meeting fabulous new people like you will always bring some sparkle back into my life!

  3. Thank you so much for writing this and for being so honest. It was a pleasure to read because it was well written but it made me uncomfortable and it should. I consider you a friend, one who greets me almost every morning at ridiculous hours sometimes but you are there. I don’t feel as alone because that little notification from you pops on and says hello. But I never considered that real estate that you actually live in, in real life. I never thought of you as an immigrant or gay, you are a friend who helped me right from the start because you liked what I created. You made me smile some days when there was quite frankly nothing left to smile about.

    You aren’t alone, many others feel like you do and it’s wrong and shameful that you are in this position. It makes me angry to my core and I feel helpless to change that. Know that from across the water I’m here and I’ll do what I can / need anytime. I am so excited about the book too :) xxxxx

    P.S. Thank you Karie for posting this on your blog.

  4. Jodi Davis on July 3, 2017 at 10:52 pm said:

    Your words make me feel uplifted. While I hear the emotion and doubts about remaining here, in this country, now, I can only think that I sincerely hope you DO decide to stay. Americans have never been faced with a political situation that is not only threatening our own freedom, but threatens to irrevocably cause damage to the possible peace, and safety of the world. Our complacency is no longer possible. We have to tear our own electoral college potus- lower case intended- created wall down, chip by chip, brick by brick until we can not only stop the threat to our civil liberties, but regain our strength, dignity and pride in what we have previously taken for granted, our freedom. We need people like you, me and any other freethinker to remain and work towards the goals we used to believe we would always be able to achieve as a nation. Frankly if I could just leave now I would, so I can understand your difficult dilemma. But I am here and a citizen and I am angry at the same things you have to struggle with every day. By staying with us you are helping us by your individuality and desire to live in an America that can now become free again only with what appears to be a long and up hill battle. We need you and respect you and there are many of us out here. Please always remember that and join us to take back our freedom. Bless you.

  5. Jennifer O'Brien on July 4, 2017 at 12:21 am said:

    It’s been a while since I read a post from you, Karie, and I’ve missed the glimpses you provide into your creative life. I love your openness in sharing the many struggles of your life at present, and your determination to continue to push on with the things that are important to you. I’m sure that all your readers join me in saying we look forward enormously to seeing/reading your book, and in wishing you all the strength and luck in the world.

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