It took me about a year to get around to doing it... but I've just launched my Patreon site!
I'm excited about using this site as a platform to grow and sustain my activism and my voice – so that I can make change more sustainably, because life is finite and I want to give my energy where it's needed most.
For the last two and a half years, I've been deep in the fight to legalise medicinal cannabis in New Zealand. Some of my efforts have made headlines, while others have been behind the scenes.
However, it's been really tough at times for me to balance change-making with my own health journey – which is a bit more than ironic, since I'm supposedly fighting for everyone's health.
I'm ready to change the way I'm doing things... because I know that people actually love to support activists who are carrying big loads for the collective, and I know that I can deliver better when I'm healthy and well-supported. So it seems like it is actually an act of service to get off my butt and ask for some support! Every tree needs a forest...
Unless you've been obsessively Facebook-stalking me over the last few years, you may not realise how much time I've put into this cause. So here's a list of some sample projects I've done. These are the types of projects that my Patreon supporters will be supporting:
• Doing the groundwork to become the first person to legally possess raw cannabis in New Zealand since the Misuse of Drugs Act was passed
• Doing a ridiculous amount of media interviews relating to the above feat. (I actually hid in my house for weeks afterward as a result due to the overexposure.)
• Coordinating the first collaborative message to the government from current medicinal cannabis patients and caregivers. The Assoc Minister of Health was afraid to face me on national radio.
• I work as a journalist professionally, but I've occasionally broken my own rules to do unpaid or barely-paid journalism on cannabis in order to get an important story out.
• I coordinated a public message to the incoming government on behalf of medicinal cannabis patients to let them know our demands.
• I've been working hard to give the Labour government feedback on their terrible Medicinal Cannabis Amendment Bill, including doing heaps of media, writing a submission guide for patients; and co-writing and co-presenting the NORML submission at Parliament.
And then there is the ongoing background activity, that I'll probably keep doing regardless of funding: speaking at events, from protest to workshop; liaising with allies and politicians; arranging media coverage for other patients to get more stories into the public eye; getting up too early in the morning to be on the radio (sigh, first world problems); contributing to press releases; advising people I've never met on their health issues, because the medical system is failing them...
Whee! No wonder I've been a bit tired at times!
Don't get me wrong, I've also been massively fulfilled by this process. It's gratifying to have a public platform and be heard. The media adore talking about medicinal cannabis and portraying us favorably, which is pretty much spoiling me as an activist for all future causes. And it's particularly meaningful to me to be able to turn the hardest thing in my life – my invisible but very real health struggles – into a platform that benefits others. I now call getting busted by the cops the ‘best worst thing that ever happened to me'. (Actually I've come to feel that way about my neurological struggles in general – but more on that another time.) There is a beautiful solidarity joining those of us in this movement, as most of us are turning our own hard moments into fuel for collective liberation. Doesn't mean it's been easy – but it's deep and hearty.
I'm on a beautiful upswing in my health journey, thanks to intensive brain retraining practices. However, at this stage in my health journey I still need to be careful about where I put my energy.
A few years ago, a few changes occurred in my employment – a major research project ended, and a magazine that I wrote for folded (it was a great award-winning magazine, but it's a bad time in history to try to be a magazine!) Instead of replacing those projects with other income... I just channeled the spare time toward the cannabis cause.
At the moment I need to either find some more income-generating work, which could mean having less time for my passions... or find a way to generate some income from my passions, i.e. activism & poetics. Guess which of those options I like better?!
You feeling me? Then I hope you'll consider joining my community of support on Patreon.
You also will get some pretty awesome poetic rewards for joining in. We're all about reciprocity in this Redwood forest.
With eternal gratitude,