Discover more from Webworm with David Farrier
“I’m Going to Wake Up and Keep Trying to Do Good."
And so are you.
I wanted to say a huge thanks for the response to the Webworm PSA I sent out last week. A bunch of people who were financially stretched got in touch, and I comp’d them all a Webworm membership for life.
Then in true Webworm fashion, a bunch of readers with excess money reached out, asking how they could donate some subscriptions (this is how) — and so it all ended up balancing out.
Webworm readers are kinda amazing. This is A:
“We are currently a full household, on top of the five of us, we have a young man whose family kicked him out for being gay, another who is here frequently because his family doesn’t accept him being trans, and another who has a shit home life but is also madly in love with our oldest daughter. So I gifted a subscription in honor of them, to give to someone else who needs a little boost in their life too. This community is the best and I want to do my part to make sure it’s always there.”
I’m reminded of what another Webworm reader also said: “I’m going to wake up and keep trying to do good, and so are you, and nobody gets to vote on that.”
I do want to give a special shoutout for the guy who emailed me in a massive panic. He’d chosen the option to “up” his Webworm subscription (there’s a “sponsor” option that lets you do this) — and accidentally gave $36,000.
Whilst I enjoyed the feeling of being temporarily rich, I refunded the amount immediately:
This was also good bug fixing, and Substack (the technology that Webworm uses, founded by a kiwi!) is making sure there’s a “maximum” cap set, so no-one accidentally gifts me a million dollars (hint hint to any Webworm millionaires — get in quick!)
Again — thanks to all those who gifted subscriptions and offered additional help to other ’Worms.
I’ve been talking a bit more to “S”, the reader who has been in financial hot water, and I asked if it was okay to share more of her story. She said it was.
I think stories like hers are important, as there’s this idea that New Zealand is some kind of wonderland. But for many it’s not, and it’s vital we don’t forget that as politicians and decision-makers duck and dive around actually making change.
This is “S”:
“Up until a couple of years ago I was doing fine.
My rent was $350 per week, and I had no problem paying monthly bills doing the same job I’m doing now. I have specific problems with employment, because of chronic illness (fibromyalgia and ankylosing spondylitis), autism, generalised anxiety disorder, and 30+ years of depression.
Just going out and getting a new job is sadly not really an option, because I need a job where I can be flexible when I’m not able to get out the door.
As a result, I run a small business started by my parents, who are both now terminally ill, and my weekly pay after tax is $780 (business isn’t great at the moment, and with a big business just buying out our big competitor as well as our biggest customers, we probably won’t be around much longer).
Anyhow, $500 of that goes in rent every week, as does around $150 a week in fuel, since I have to live rurally to afford rent and keep my dogs, and travel a 140 km round trip for work. I also travel to check on my parents frequently. I then have $130 to cover groceries, electricity, food for four dogs, and any extra bills like vets, doctors (I have a lot of visits and meds), a tank of water in summer, etc.
My youngest dog is nine years old, the oldest almost 15. I had no financial issues when I got them, and I was in much better physical health. For a while I had a second job as a dog trainer, and my dogs were also part of my work/demo team, but I’m physically unable to carry on doing that now. Whatever, I’m really not willing to part with them because they’re family, and despite that being everyone’s first advice, it’s not something I can do. I find myself justifying having them every day to various people.
I feed my dogs first, then get my own food with what’s left. I have a friend that gives me eggs, and occasionally meat, and I grow some veggies, but it’s not always a reliable way to feed yourself.
Thanks for the opportunity to vent. My autistic brain no doubt just rambles on with too much info, but it’s difficult to stop once it starts. Sometimes I think if I can just keep going until the dogs have all passed away, I could just give up and go with them.
But the depression has been trying that on for years lol.
It’s just such an endless struggle with nothing to show for it. I’m just waiting to see if my rent goes up again this year. The landlords know I have nowhere else to go with four dogs, so they can pretty much do as they please. I’m not sure a few dollars a week in proposed tax cuts is going to make a difference, except I’ll no doubt have to pay more for some services.
I also want to thank you for everything you do. Webworm is such a great escape from the constant madness. I haven’t watched the news for years, just tired of the constant barrage of disaster and nonsense. It’s good to have somewhere to read articles and comments from people who actually care about others.”
I’m in touch with S and have offered some extra support. So far, I get the distinct feeling they’re tough as nails and don’t need me. I know they’re rough as nails not just because of the content of their story, but the fact they shared it in the first place. I feel a giant level of privilege they have found a place on the internet that resonates.
And not to babble on, but that’s a lot to do with you, too. The readers make this place. “I’m going to wake up and keep trying to do good, and so are you.”
I wish I could leave things there, on a sort of positive note — but we live on a planet that’s pretty bleak right now and it would be dishonest to do so.
Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson claimed on Sunday that since 7 October, Israeli strikes on Gaza had resulted in the death of 4,651 Palestinians, of which 40% were children.
More than 14,245 others have been wounded, 70% of them children and women, the ministry claimed.
I find words around this stuff difficult (in an earlier Webworm I tried to address how difficult communicating about this stuff is), so wanted to share the words of 23-year-old Yara Shahidi. She wrote with clarity:
“We can hold multiple truths and push for what is just.
There’s a clear Humanitarian Crisis unfolding before our eyes.
We must have the capacity to acknowledge the pain and loss of the Israeli and Palestinian communities. The trauma, pain and anger are real.
We must also have the capacity to hold on to the urgent need for support and allyship for the Palestinian peoples who have been pushed into yet-another forced relocation, killed in designated places of refuge, and denied access to humanitarian aid - no access to water, electricity or food- violating explicit international humanitarian laws.
The history of oppression is real and our ability to demand justice is needed now.”
What Hamas did was horrific. What they continue to do is horrific.
And what’s happening now to the Palestinian people is horrific. And writing about this, I’m already struggling. It’s not just now — Palestinians are used to being denied freedom of movement and basic rights. There needs to be more than a ceasefire — there needs to be freedom.
Of course this has all spilled out into further awfulness. In the US, the FBI is tracking threats to both Muslims and Jews:
There have been a high number of antisemitic threats in recent months, but the Oct. 7 attack unleashed even more, senior F.B.I. officials said.
Things are bleak.
Joseph Czuba, 71, was charged in the stabbing death of a 6-year-old Muslim boy in what police said was a hate crime linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.
If you watch one thing today, I suggest watching this (assuming you haven’t already). You have to stomach Piers, but it’s worth it for Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef.
I don’t really know where to leave today’s newsletter but to thank you for being here. And yeah, those words:
“I’m going to wake up and keep trying to do good, and so are you.”
Sometimes that seems almost impossible. But we have to try.