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At least that is what I hope. Because I abhor self-promotion. Abhor it with a Katarina Strafford-level of intensity. Do you remember Kat’s rant against attending Bogey Lowenstein’s party? That’s me how much I rant against pushing my work [outside of this blog] on social media platforms, all the while trying not be come off like a pretentious asshat to friends and colleagues who seem to dive into this pool with little or no effort. Only recently did I accept [not realize, because I did that a long time ago] that I cannot escape promoting my work if I want to continue with it. So here I am, addressing, unpacking and trying to put away the reasons why I stop short of promoting what I do, even and especially if it is good work.

My Complicated Relationship With Attention

I used to love attention as a child. I had an unadulterated, unabashed love of attention that came with never having examined how the world reacted to my very presence. Privilege, in its most basic forms, is the ability to ignore that which does not affect you. I started my [school] life in a racially diverse, meritocratic upper/middle class environment, which meant I could show off and be judged solely what I did and how well I did it, instead of what I was.

This is not how the world works. You do not get to control the type of attention you receive when you are a member of one or more marginalized communities. You do not get to control the actions or consequences that result from this attention. You are more or less at the whim of those who control the spotlight, and you have to accept whatever comes from having the nerve to exist along with a voice. This aspect of resistance leads me to my next issue…

I Have Legitimate Concerns About My Safety

I keep most of my social media accounts on private. I rarely use my personal image in any of my profile pictures. I do not check in to public events or venues. I turn off all GPS apps and rarely allow myself to be tagged in photos on my friends’ walls. These tactics greatly inhibit my ability to promote my work. These tactics also have kept me free from the abusers from my past.

I am consistently wary of how to keep myself safe while making myself and my work available. I am not trying to diminish the work that ConComs have accomplished in order to keep their speakers and attendees safe, but a lot of this work is grounded in appealing to a perpetrator’s empathy. An attempt to have them understand how they are hurting their victims and how to examine their behavior in order to do better. That being said, my own traumatic past has ingrained in me the notion that attempts of this nature are wasted, for they seek to appeal to empathy that abusers simply do not have. So each time I make a convention/conference appearance, I endure an Olympic-level mental gymnastics routine to formulate the best strategies in order to keep myself safe at an event that has been nationally [and on occasion internationally] promoted.

Trust me, you want me on your zombie apocalypse team.

The Inevitable Intimacy

An undeniable aspect to writing is the intimacy born of it. We share bits and pieces of ourselves with people we would have never known existed had they not picked up our works. This is thrilling and terrifying all in the same breath, for intimacy, as a rule, leaves us exposed, raw, vulnerable. Through our writing, we give away parts of ourselves that we can never get back, and as a person with deep-seeded PTSD-originating control issues, this notion is panic attack inducing.

I feel as though so little of me is left. How am I supposed to be OK with increasing the avenues through which more of me can be taken?

So, what then?

I fucking deal with it and promote my shit, that’s what. I ask myself how much this hiding is helping rather than hindering the exposure to my work. I observe how my silence is hobbling my self-care program instead of expediting it. This is how I work on my fears of being known and my doubts of being able to handle it. This is where I take a deep breath, step outside of my door, face down my inner demons chaining me still.

Come at me, bros. I’ve been complacent long enough.

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