Dear YA, It's My Birthday!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Oh how time flies by. I turn 19 today. The last year of my teenage years and I feel like it's going to be the best year yet. I can feel it.

I started blogging when I was diagnosed with L5-S1 degenerative disc disease. I know big scary words. I guess for comfort I started reading again and then from there I started blogging. It was weird. I had no idea how to 'blog' and when I look at my earlier reviews (don't worry they're still up, so you're free to laugh/cringe at how bad I was at them) I think, damn, I've come so far. I mean I'm still growing and learning. It's part of life. But I do have this self appreciation on how far I've come and learnt in my 2 (ish) years I've been book reviewing. If I were to give advice to a younger me I'd tell them to critique however they see fit and remember that they're audience are teenagers too.

To be where I am today is actually a blessing. I've never thought I'd be immersed in such a wonderful community of readers and writers. I owe a lot of thanks and I guess this is where I'd like to give them.

So first of all, thank you to all the wonderful Australian bloggers I looked up to and have welcomed me into the community from the very beginning. Thank you for welcoming me at events and showing me the reigns. Thank you to those overseas who've given me strength and happiness. Thank you for the group chats I've randomly joined. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for being yourselves and showing up whenever I needed help or whenever I needed reassurance that what I'm doing is good. Thank you to those who don't even know that what they're doing is amazing! Thank you to the bloggers, vloggers and bookstagrammers who've shown nothing but love my way. So thank you Mason, Mana, Cam, Maf, Aimal, Eri, Aila, Sue, Fangirl Jeanne, Marianne, Taylor, Nova, Summer, Nuzaifa, Jayvee, Shauna, Christina, Claribel, Weezie, Sanovia, Taryn, AJ, Ryy, Joyce, Hailee, Whitney, Emma, Shelly, Julie, Leah, Daisy, Cari, Antee, Jeann, Wesaun, Mish, Lillie, Ava, Kit Cat, CW, Jananee, Chiara, Michael, Paige, Danielle, Dani, Rebecca, Tika, Natalia, Cam, Lily, Bayram, Regi, Chelsea, Jamie, Naz, Jen, Taylor, CiCi, April, Angie, Yen-Rong, Nicole, Riley, Emily, Keiki, Emily, Karina, Jen, Vee, Kristine and Sil.

Thank you to the writers and authors who've I've learnt so much from. You guys are a light in the dark, walking magic and collections of stars that radiate empowerment, love, guidance and compassion. Never stop what you're doing. So thank you Ava Jae, Alison Whittaker, Dr Anita Heiss, Sona Charaiptra, Cam Montgomery, Anna-Marie McLemore, Amanda Lovelace, Jen Erso, L.L McKinney, Danielle Binks, Shivaun Plozza, Becky Albertalli, Nic Stone, Mia Siegert, Kat Kennedy, Kirsty Eager, Tristina Wright, Justine Larbalestier, Angie Thomas, Whitney Gardner, Debbie Reese, Lilliam Rivera, Patrick Ness, Maria V. Snyder, Zoraida, Nicola Yoon, Leigh Bardugo, Adam Silvera, Justina Ireland, Jay Coles, Eric Smith, Kaye, Corinne Duyvis, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Laura Silverman, Daniel Jose Older, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Cale Dietrich.

Thank you to Nerdy PoC for being the most DOPE NERDY COMMUNITY EVER! Thank you for keeping it 100 from the very beginning. Thank you Han for letting me join the family. Thank you Adel for giving me life everyday. Thank you Maryam for fighting Adel everyday. Thank you Allison for being incredible and Sara for being damn funny. Thank you to all the fam who were apart of the community from the beginning too. I will forever have so much respect to all of y'all.

Thank you to those who empower me everyday. Thank you to those I've recently just met, both in real life and through connections on the internet. Thank you my fellow black women, sister girls, brother boys and non-binary mob who give me strength everyday. I love you mob. Thank you to my fellow Pacifika women and non-binary inspirations who give me strength everyday. Ofa atu. Thank you to the Indigenous people from all around the world who give me strength. I have so much respect for you all. Thank you to the women of colour I'll meet in the future.

& thank you Meleika. I know this is cheesy, but thank you for being unapologetically yourself and never wavering from your goals. You are more than life itself and I wish you happiness in the future. Love from 18 year old you xxx

In advance I'm sorry if I missed anybody. I'm so thankful for all of you. Especially my readers and those who love my content. You guys inspire me to keep doing what I'm doing.

Now what I also want to do for my 19th is establish promises and goals that I wish to see achieved in 2017 and over the years.

I promise to continue to be unapologetically black and Pasifika.
I promise to continue to boost voices.
I promise to become a more diverse book blog, including more diverse co-bloggers and reviewing more diverse books.
I promise to never stop resisting.
I promise to never stop talking.
I promise to continue to help those in need.
I promise to write.
I promise to publish.
I promise to edit.
I promise to sensitive read.
I promise to never give up.
I'd like to see more books with Indigenous MC's targeted for a YA audience be published in the next couple of years.
I want to help the Australian book market become more diverse and inclusive.
I want The Aus. Library to become involved in more blog tours for diverse books.
I want more Indigenous voices in the book community.
My goals for 2017, for The Aus. Library is to review 100 diverse books, to bring the book community something they haven't seen before and reach 500 subscribers through bloglovin. I'd also love to expand our team and to see The Squad take off. My personal goals are to finish my two WIPs, publish more work and to never stop fighting the system.

Thank you to everyone who's been apart of my journey in the book community. Y'all have been great. Now stay tuned for tomorrow as I introduce 2 more co-bloggers to the family.

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