All the changing seasons of my life

A lot has happened since my last blog post, including Western Australia’s hard border coming down so maybe I’ll come sign your copies of my book soon. 😉 But I’ve also been doing plenty of thinking. About how the world has changed over the past couple of years. And how I’ve changed.

Recently, I was chatting to a friend in America who asked me what my current passions were.

“That’s a good question actually,” I said.

Before the pandemic, going out for me usually involved live music. (That part is one of the more autobiographical aspects of Black and Blue.) But the thing about live music is that it often takes place at a venue where alcoholic drinks are flowing and people have no concept of personal space.

So I’ve always had to weigh up on a case-by-case basis whether I want to see the band more than I loathe the unwanted touching and germy bathrooms. Now I also consider the risk of spreading illnesses to someone who might not be as healthy and okay as I am.

But as my American pal and I talked about the state of the world, the loss of two years, work-related stress, not being able to see friends and family or go to events… we realised that one of the saddest parts for us might be seeing the worst in people we used to like and respect. The casual ableism… the conspiracy theories and spreading of misinformation… comparing their self-inflicted plight to the Holocaust… etc.

I brought this up with another dear friend of mine, who I’ve known since we were six years old.

“Not gonna lie,” they said, “As a queer, disabled person, I’m no longer surprised when someone I liked turns out to be garbage.”

Word.

Anyway, all that reflection also got me thinking about my 15-year love-hate relationship with Facebook, which has gradually become a Rolodex spanning my entire existence on this planet. At this point in my life, I’d rather keep things focused on family and friends I have an actual emotional connection with. (And managing Facebook pages, which is the main reason I can’t just delete/deactivate my profile).

So far I’ve culled about 200 people from my friends list and I’m sure everyone will survive without an annual meaningless birthday message from me.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other social media platforms and apps that anyone can use to keep in touch or keep tabs on me… some of which are owned by Facebook’s parent company, so those zuckers still have their claws in me regardless. 😛

PS. If you’re up for 10 minutes of awesomeness, here’s the music video for “Estranged” by Guns N’ Roses, which happens to be the song I lifted this blog title from.

Estranged – Guns N’ Roses

Beautiful bookish things

A couple of months ago, I was looking for some custom bookplates and stumbled across these personalised author bookplates for signing from Fleur & Fable. I got some for myself because I’m a sucker for beautiful bookish things, and was very pleased with the communication and service. The bookplates also arrived quickly, which is no mean feat in COVID times. 😉

Fast forward to the present, and I’m now an ambassador for this awesome Australian brand! So if you’re looking for gorgeous gifts for a book lover (who may or may not be yourself), check out Fleur & Fable’s website.

A Sharpie marker and a bookplate sticker signed by Lee-Ann Khoh, resting on top of a paperback copy of Lee-Ann's book, Black and Blue.
Book + bookplate + marker

I do get a small commission if you end up buying something via the links above. But hey, I’m just a simple girl trying to make her way in the universe. (Yes, that’s another Star Wars reference on this blog and I may or may not have yelled, “Now this is podracing!” during Chapter 5 of The Book of Boba Fett but I’m sure I’m not the only one.)

You can also nab a discount for yourself if you use the coupon code: LEEANN

The code won’t work for bundles and sale items but should shave a little off the price of everything else. And they ship worldwide! Even I don’t do that for my signed paperbacks at this point in time. 😛

Anyway, I promise I’m not going to turn into some annoying wannabe influencer. Just sharing something I find cool. 🙂

The future is unwritten but this blog post isn’t

Pharmacist: “Are you okay with needles?”

Me, internally: Yes, I remember getting vaccinations at school and they would tell us to count to 10 to take our minds off what was happening, but I would literally watch needles go into all the kids’ arms as I was counting ’cause I’m a sadistic biatch like that.

Me out loud: “Uh, yeah, they’re all right.”

It’s okay, you don’t have to keep me away from your children. Though if you do, I’ll understand. 😜

Anyway, I got my COVID booster a week ago. (Moderna after two doses of the Pfizer vax — figured I’d hedge my bets. 😉) I’d planned to get my booster ahead of the reopening of the WA border — which was supposed to be February 5, but has now been delayed indefinitely. I guess I’m both sad and relieved about that.

Sad because it means people will be separated for even longer if they can’t get an exemption, with no knowledge of when that will change. And relieved because the “let it rip” approach to living with the virus disproportionately kills vulnerable members of the community.

Like I said in my last post, I don’t know what the right balance is. But neither do all the armchair epidemiologists who barely scraped through high school science. At least I know what I don’t know.

We’ve lived mostly mask-free in WA during the pandemic but I think they’re probably here to stay now. I don’t mind… they’re not the most comfortable things to wear, especially in summer, but I feel the same way about bras and I’ve been wearing those for most of my life.

In the not-too-distant future, I’m hopeful of flying away, staying somewhere well ventilated where I can chill bra-less, going out and buy supplies from fully stocked shelves (probably with a bra and mask on), and coming home to Perth without infecting anyone or forcing my family into isolation or quarantine. Whew!

But until then… we’ll always have these nutty blog posts. 😉

New year, same old

Well, it’s a brand new year and we’re now a good two years into the pandemic with no clear end in sight. During most of this time, I’ve been safely tucked up in my Western Australian bubble, but we’re set to open up to the world in less than a month and things are bound to change.

There’s a big part of me that’s super keen to open up. I want to hug people I haven’t seen in two or more years and see my favourite bands on tour. And I dunno, maybe roam about Salzburg wearing clothes made out of drapes. (Hey, I reference Star Trek and Star Wars a lot around here, so why not throw The Sound of Music into the mix?)

But I’m also aware that no jurisdiction has achieved the holy grail of no internal restrictions, no travel restrictions, a health system that is not overwhelmed and a strong economy. So it then becomes a question of which of those things you consider to be acceptable sacrifices. Different people have different values and priorities, which seems to be the source of most interpersonal conflicts.

I have mates working in the arts and entertainment who lose their income every time there’s a lockdown, capacity limits on venues or restrictions on events.

And I know people who didn’t choose their lot in life but are likely to die if they got COVID… and even if they were complete strangers to me, they’re still people, not just statistics with “underlying conditions”.

So I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what the right balance might be.

But I do know this: Telling disabled, chronically ill and immunocompromised people that you’re sick of being inconvenienced and that they should just “not go out in public if they’re so scared” – as if they haven’t already been carrying the burden of society’s selfishness this entire time – is not an acceptable sacrifice to me.

If more people came to the same conclusion, maybe we’d get further in building an inclusive and accessible world that benefits everyone. I tend to be quite cynical and sarcastic, but I also want to believe that we can do better and be better than we are.

I’ve titled this post “New year, same old” but I would dearly love to be wrong in a good way.

Something something something festive

Obligatory festive season post coming up, just as mask mandates are reintroduced in Western Australia.

I could say “Merry Christmas” but obviously not everyone celebrates it, myself included. (I don’t care if you say Merry Christmas to me though. Neither does any other non-Christmas celebrator I’ve ever met.)

“Happy Holidays” is a nice catch-all, but not everyone gets holidays or has a happy time during them.

“Season’s greetings” seems to cover it all but feels unnecessarily formal for most occasions.

So I’m going with “Live long and prosper” and “May the Force be with you” – because it is possible to love both Star Trek and Star Wars, and you totally should. 😉

Anyway, it’s been a pretty significant year for me. I published my first novel in November, and while I prefer not to be the centre of attention as a person, I’m proud of that damn book. Hopefully there’s more to come. 🙂

(You can give Black and Blue all the attention in the world, by the way. It is a book – an inanimate object – and therefore does not experience awkwardness or embarrassment.)

Looking towards 2022, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit anxious about the not-too-distant future. I’ll be eligible for my third COVID shot shortly before WA’s borders are set to reopen, but it’s not really my own health I’m worried about. (I’ll get that third jab as soon as I can though, that’s how I roll.)

Meanwhile, I’m still looking for a hand sanitiser sponsorship in the New Year. I don’t drink alcohol, but I’ve been rubbing it on my hands since long before COVID… so come at me, hand sanitiser manufacturers! Yeah, I know it’s extremely unlikely but a girl can dream. 😛

This will probably be my last blog post for 2021 unless something particularly amazing/terrible happens before the end of the year. For now… Live long and prosper and may the Force be with you. And also with you.

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