Why We Fought For The Oh Nine
Last week, Stuff.co.nz announced the launch of ‘The 09’ – described as ‘your guide to navigating Auckland’. We asked them to give us our name back (and won! Kind of) - This is why we bothered.
We only recently learnt how to read our site analytics. Our marketing campaign consists of guessing whether 8am or 5pm is a better time to post our stories. Our contributor strategy is messaging people who we think might have something good to say – and editing their responses til midnight on a Wednesday after work. We are by all means and descriptions, a small, independent blip on Stuff’s radar. So while it really is comical to imagine time and staff-poor journalists sitting at their desks fielding emails from a bunch of disgruntled millennials chiming “give us our blog back” – we (and you!) did, and they changed the name to Your 09. Because not only was this an example of the Big Guy once again eclipsing the little guy, we’ve worked too hard to have our name diluted. So here is a wee message from us, to you.
We wrote earlier this year that the Oh Nine began as a guide of where to get iced lattes or the best eggs bene in Auckland. We were two 20 year old students on the brink of entering the workforce (we’re too embarrassed to hyperlink it but one of our first posts was definitely on this haha) who liked to write and design, and wanted a creative outlet to document our experiences navigating Auckland as young-adults.
However, all of that quickly changed when life became very real. Laura's partner at the time became very unwell, her family suffered some huge losses and she had her first brush with chronic anxiety. All of a sudden, writing about ‘frenemies’ or the benefits of wearing activewear didn’t seem that important in the face of watching your boyfriend losing his ability to walk. So we started writing about it.
We will say, it’s bloody hard to write ambiguously when you suspect you have approx. 15 readers, all of whom know exactly what you are referencing to. So we just gave vulnerability a go. When Kim realised she hadn’t been looking after herself, she wrote about the avoidant mentality of ‘self-care’. While Laura undid the residual rescuer stereotype that subconsciously ruled her life, she wrote about the patterns of co-dependency. When dithering over whether to dive into a relationship or not, we asked our friends to tell us how they knew they were ready. Everything on the site, was unfolding in our lives in real-time.
And what was more, the message we were hearing was our communities really liked reading, and writing about this stuff. Over the past 12 months – we have had over 60 (!!!) people contribute editorial content. And we have been so moved and surprised at the depth of intimacy people are willing to share with us. Most recently, we ran a piece on ‘Bad Stories’, somewhat flippantly asking people to share the false narratives they speak over themselves – and received pages and pages from people detailing the inherent inadequacy they battle in their minds every day.
Sure, there is fun stuff too! Like interviewing amazing local musicians, politicians, and business owners; mapping our break-up spots; writing love letters to friendship and doing cringey photoshoots on Dom Road. But alongside it, there is the exploration into relationships, the ongoing conversation around mental health, the overarching curiosity to delve into what influences us and why we act and think like we do. We’ve written on the karp drama triangle, attachment theory and personality typing systems. People have shared with us their secret dreams, unbearable feelings and annual motivations. We have published teary paragraphs about unsaid words and unmet needs, we’ve asked therapists to unravel the nuances of relationships and love, and listened to the wisdom of those older than us about how they would do it all again.
The Oh Nine (as we see it) is the high, and the low. A verbal processing, our collective experience and exploration – an encouragement to engage fully with our lives and ourselves. We will no longer tell you where to get an eggs bene, but we’ll give you an article on the importance of making space for your trauma to resurface to read while you eat it.
It’s not all hard-hitting stuff, but it’s a hell of a lot more meaningful than where to find a ruby latte in Auckland. Our writing now encompasses areas far wider than this area code, but it is always at the heart of who we are. And that is why we bothered to say something. And we are so bloody grateful you did too! Your 09, we love what you’re doing and all power to Carrie Bradshaw, but we’re stoked to be THE Oh Nine in the 09.
And thank goodness they reconsidered, neither of us fancied a move to the chilly 03.
Love, Laura & Kim x
(Here's a pic of us if you forgot who we are. There's a meme floating around that says something like "when you're such close friends that it would be almost weird to get a photo together" and that describes us perfectly because this one is from three years ago.)