Wednesday, 31 August 2016

What I've Been Up To!

Hey friends! So my blog has basically become the place where I unload and go over everything I've been up to over the past couple of months. It's like therapy. You're my (unpaid) therapist now, blog reader ;) Isn't this what blogging used to be, back in the days of LiveJournal? I'm just making blogging old-school again. Yeah.

So the last few months have been intense, exciting, difficult, scary and amazing all at once.

I did my first ever public speaking gig(!!) where I got to talk all about second hand and ethical fashion. The event was a "Second Hand Fashion Parade" hosted by Rozelle Markets and Ciao magazine. I also got to meet a couple of people who follow me on the internet and love my work, which was probably the most fun part of the day!

I have pretty bad general anxiety, and I never want to do anything like this again - I spent the weeks leading up to the event planning how I could get on a plane and run away so I wouldn't have to do it. But at least now that it's done, I know that I CAN do things like this! Because it would be awesome to be able to do stuff like this in the future. Anxiety can bite me.

BIG HAIR NEWS(!) - I am growing out my fringe! My fringe that I have had for the past 10 years (because I never liked my forehead as a teenager and that insecurity carried itself well into my 20s).
A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

I also started dressing more androgenously and I feel more like "myself" wearing more androgenous clothing, but still being girly when I went to. I definitely feel much more confident in myself because of how I am dressing - and that's been awesome.

What else - I started a medicine that I've been trying to get on for about 2 years now (as it's the most modern and therefore expensive medicine for my illness on the market, you're made to try literally every other horrible drug before you can start it!) and even though it's only been a few days since the first infusion, I am already feeling so much stronger and more like "me" again!

The one scary thing about this new medicine is that I'm now SUPER immunosuppressed. Walking around the world without a good immune system to protect you is frickken terrifying. I notice every cough and sneeze. It's like being in a battlefield, and everybody around you is wearing full body armor and bullet-proof vests, and all you've got is a paper shield. But I did get myself some super cute face masks, which have helped me feel a bit better about the whole thing:


What even is life, people. What even.

I also reached 5 years since my diagnosis. There's a not-insignificant amount of people who never reach the 5-year milestone after being diagnosed, so it was an extremely emotional time for me. The supportive comments that I got from people who don't even know me made me cry. A lot. But they were happy tears!! So thank you if you were one of those people.
*serious post incoming* It is exactly 5 years ago that I was given a diagnosis, and my life changed completely. 19 years old and just starting my life, I sat terrified in a doctors office as a surgeon apologised profusely for having to give me this news and then said two words that I will be hearing constantly for the rest of my life, "Takayasu's Arteritis". It's been 5 of the hardest years of my life. I had to learn how to live life more slowly. To live with pain and exhaustion, anxiety and depression. To accept uncertainty. To accept that there's some things I'll never be able to do. To live with a disability. I lost a lot of friends who suddenly didn't know how to act around me. Didn't know what to say to me. But its also been the best 5 years of my life. To escape my life as the "sick girl", I started sharing my life and outfits with the Internet. On days where my pain and fatigue was too high to leave the house, I learned how to sew. That has evolved into a successful YouTube channel with half a million subscribers, and just this year, my job. I made much stronger friends with the few who stuck it out with me. I made many friends with likeminded people from all over the world. I also started university and pursued my passion for science. I have developed the closest bond with the most amazing man, who I know I want to be with for the rest of my life. And I have emerged a stronger, more resilient and more positive person because of all I've been through. 5 years later and I'm still not in remission. I am still in pain. I still don't know what my future holds. But I've survived. I've gotten through it all, the bad days and the good. I've endured 3 years of chemotherapy. 5 years of steroid therapy. 5 years of total uncertainty, a bajillion doctors appointments, hospitals, blood tests, scans and feeling like a total science experiment. Kicking butt throughout it all. I am a fucking badass. 💪
A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

Luciano made his first ever appearance on my channel, as a 500K subscriber special! And people's comments about him have made my day! Honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm the only youtuber with a nice, supportive comments section. It scares me to go on the comments section of other youtubers. How did I get so lucky?
Anyway, the video is here and you should watch it because Luci is a super funny human being and I'm so happy that I finally got to share him with the world :)

A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on
My younger sibling has also been really sick with chronic pain for the last few months, so that's been taking its toll on me emotionally. Having a sick family member is so distressing - and so of course it's brought up a lot of guilt for all the stress I've put the people who love me through when I'm really sick. *Sigh*. But hey, we all love each other and I think that's the most important thing. I just have to keep telling myself that time heals, and be hopeful that things will get better over time.

So here's some more good news, because that all got pretty serious: I appeared on the cover of my local newspaper, Ciao Magazine! I think that my friends and family probably took about half of all of the copies that went out - they were all very excited about it ;) Being recognized locally for the stuff I do is helping to "legitimize" this as a job for me. There's a lot of stigma that goes with running your own business and being a "youtuber" - a lot of people still don't consider it a real job that you should be proud of! But I put a massive amount of work into what I do so god damn it - I'm going to be proud of my job!
A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

Annnnnd I'll finish this post off with a couple of my favourite outfits from the past two months. Because, you know, this was once a fashion blog and all.

A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

#ootd wearing a DIY crop top made by me, @eejewellery necklace, thrifted bag and @uniqloau pants 👌 I spent all day yesterday looking for a good, comfy pair of pants, walking around with @goodonyou_app constantly open, and was surprised that uniqlo actually have pretty solid labour standards for their manufacturing! They rate a "B" on the baptist world aid 2016 fashion report for good transparency and traceability & strong systems in place to make sure nothing's made using sweatshop, child or forced labour - although they could be doing better and ensuring that *all* their workers get a living wage. However, what was super shocking was the shopping centre I was at also has stuff like Armani and Givenchy (not that I could ever afford that, I was just curious) and they had *terrible* ethical ratings according to @goodonyou_app 😮 they're worth so much and you can't even be sure they're not from a sweatshop?? What the heck.
A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

A photo posted by Annika Victoria (@littlepineneedle) on

I hope that you're all doing well. Sending you all love and positive vibes,

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  1. Lovely reading your little update I hope all goes fantastic for you with the new drugs X

  2. So proud of you <3 like, so so fucking proud! You should be proud of yourself too, you are doing amazing things with your life! Thank you for updating us too :) I don't watch youtube often, personally I prefer reading, so I love that you still update this blog from time to time :)

    I switch up between girly and androgynous too, just wearing whatever I fancy on the day! xo

    Amber Love Blog

  3. Wonderful pictures in fantastic light! Awesome!


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