I am so shocked and upset to hear of the death of Stella Young. (If you don’t know Stella Young, a great introduction is this TED talk she gave. She also wrote the world’s most interesting and thought-provoking Facebook posts, and wrote for ABC’s Ramp Up as well.) Stella influenced me in many ways, and gave a voice, over and over again, to experiences I’ve had as a Deaf person but couldn’t quite articulate, and things I’ve wanted to say but haven’t been able to find the words for. She reminded me that instead of lying down and sucking it up that we live in a hearing-oriented, ableist world, we should try to be visible and encourage the world to change. And it was this sentiment, and her words, that I was thinking of when I painted this painting just recently.
Last time I saw Stella was a couple of weeks ago when we sat together at a theatre show. As we were saying goodbye, I actually stood up and gave her a somewhat formal speech which Paula interpreted. I told her how ace I thought she was, how profoundly she has affected me, and how in-awe of her articulateness I am. I had no idea it would be the last time I would see her, and I was kind of embarrassed, but now I am so, so glad that I said what I did and that she went to her grave knowing how fabulous I thought she was.
Stella, the world is a poorer place without you. I was not finished being influenced by you or learning from you and am horrified that I’m now gonna have to try and figure this thing out on my own. But I’ll do my best, in your honour, to do you proud. Rest in peace, girl.