Hannah Gadsby – July 2023

Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix Special ‘Nannette’ was nothing short of a triumph and her autobiography, ‘Ten Steps To Nannette’ is masterful literature. Though we have had very different life experiences, I was able to relate and identify with a lot of her writing. We both grew up as kids in Australia in the 1980’s, both were sucked into thinking our stamp collections would one day make us rich (!). We both also grew up struggling to survive as spokespeople for marginalised communities, overcoming prejudice, smashing stigma and writing about our experiences to share creatively, educating for acceptance of our respective communities (for her, the LGBTQIA+ community, for me, the Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS community.)

With Hannah’s autism she experiences sensory sensitivities. She feels yellow makes her angry, and the only colour she wears for clothing is blue. I too have intense sensitivities, like the colour red makes me feel excruciating pain and anger, whereas bright blues, aquas, purples and pink clothes make me so happy the flavour in my mouth literally changes to sweeter! To Hannah, there’s nothing quite like the sound of a teacup on a saucer. I also have sensitivities to sounds, like the harshness of the consonants at the beginning of the words ‘Compassion’ and ‘Kindness’, to me feel violent and painful! It’s great to learn about being neurospicy (neurodiverse).

Hannah’s writing is both vulnerable and raw, and hilarious and empowering. I, too, rely on a wicked sense of humour to get me through tough times. I would also LOVE to study more art history through Hannah’s liberating perspective! Her insights on the misogyny of Picasso and the vulnerability of Van Gogh were enlightening.

In Jan 2020 I booked tickets to see Hannah’s performance ‘Douglas’ and was devastated to not be well enough to go. LIttle did I know the rest of the world would experience what that was like to miss out, only a couple months later! Thankfully, I was able to listen to the audiobook of ‘Ten Steps to Nanette’ on Audible, and Hannah’s voice is animated and amazing. I highly recommend reading this important book, and I’m so grateful to Hannah for sharing her insights.

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