Tag Archives: vulnerable

PAX Thoughts

Creatives

I left for PAX drenched in a crazy amount of social anxiety. My kickstarter was funded as I was on my way to the airport which was phenomenal and completely unexpected. It all suddenly became very real (but simultaneously completely surreal). Sometimes I think the scariest thing is actually succeeding. Like in Neil Gaiman’s speech, just waiting for someone to come by and say “nope, game over, we’ve found you out” for having the audacity to create publicly and wanting to be able to like, eat and stuff while doing it.

I’m scared of failing, really really really scared of failing, and for the better part of the week, I was terrified of admitting it. But it’s driving me crazy and into a not-good anxiety spiral, so here:

I am terrified. I am really fucking terrified that I’m going to fuck this whole thing up, I’m terrified everyone who backed me will hate me because I suck, or I didn’t do things exactly how they wanted, or because life happened – as it does (for instance, I came home to water leaks in my living room and studio, and now I need to replace the broken equipment as well).

So then the Q&A’s with Mike and Jerry (Gabe & Tycho) happened. They touched on anxiety, and valuing their work, and just doing it anyway.

These songs happened on Saturday and I realized something really important:

What I’m feeling, and this (increasingly volatile) cycle is normal, and I’m not alone.

Introversion and Drive

I watched the panels and the musicians, and I realized I was just one of many socially awkward, introverted, and insecure creatives in the room – including the ones on stage. I realized that the more creative I am, and the more I put myself out there, the more introverted I become, because I feel like I’m living so externally already and it’s an incredibly vulnerable feeling.

The more of myself I put into what I do, I feel like, the less barrier there is, which is awesome – authenticity is something I value and I get really irritated if I feel like I’m not being honest (hence: this post) and it starts eating away at me. It’s also really really scary, because everything feels so much more personal.

But, as much as that is, as much as I feel the need to invert and crawl into myself, I can’t escape one this drive.

This drive to create, publicly, and live, publicly. Every time I go to a con or see a panel or performance, it’s one of those things where I know I belong up there, creating things that I love, and other people love and want to know about. Like, it’s different somehow, and it’s an inescapable drive and something that I’m kind of moving toward.

I think this is a plight of creative people – especially creative people who tend to become introverted or socially anxious. Creating and sharing that creation calls to us and drives us and we can’t escape it; so we do it, because it matters to us and we don’t really have a choice, it is us. I think that’s okay.

I think it’s okay to feel anxious when you’re putting your heart on the line because it’s scary.

But I also think that I need to fix my anxiety, because it becomes crippling.

Warning: Language (and trauma, and why birth isn't beautiful)

I wrote this up a few months ago, when I was just remembering all of it, and wanting to scream because I’ve always felt that no one really understands or understood my vehement desire to remain childless, or why every time labor or pregnancy (or children, for that matter) come up in a conversation, I start raging. The emotions of this are still raw, 11 years later – and what follows is still raw and vivid, I still feel livid about it sometimes, and scared (and for the faint of heart, there is strong language. I don’t usually use it here, but it’s an adult blog, so adult talk is allowed – in the future, read at your own risk ’cause I’m not going to disclaimer everything anymore).

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Women are less

Growing up in a religious conservative circle taught me this ever so explicitly. They would try to water it down and say “no you’re equal, but different” the place of women is in the home, in the kitchen, pregnant or raising children. Not in the “world”, not working, not doing anything that would in any way put her in equal standing with men.

This article makes me sad – no, angry because it’s true.

People very close to me believe, truly, that women are in some way stupid and need men for guidance. I was taught that women are “easily mislead” and thus need men to teach them and “lead” them the right way. Like we are animals to be trained, or horses to be broken. It follows that women, once they reach adulthood, should not be listened to – that it’s okay to completely write them off as “emotional”, “misguided”, or “hormonal” – it’s all too easy to take anything anyone with a vagina has to say and instead of taking them seriously, say they’re just whining, not happy, or one of those evil feminists not worth listening to.

It’s taken me years to come to terms with my womanhood, with the fact that I have the horrible ability to reproduce within my body. It’s taken longer to accept the fact that I am human, and that as a human I have value – that isn’t reliant on whether or not I have a penis on my body.

Unfortunately, I still find myself in circles, exposed to the lies of my youth – who believe that women are for reproducing, teaching, cooking, cleaning, and if you’re lucky, making things and maybe having an in-home business selling house-wifely things like sewn goods, jewelry, or food.

I take issue with the god I grew up with. The god who decided that as part of “the curse” women will be in horrible pain during their reproductive cycle, while men just have the “curse” of pulling weeds or  “hard labor”, and the snake lost its legs. I can’t separate the misogyny of the religion of my youth, with what may or may not be true about christianity. I can not see god as loving when he inflicts half the population with a lower status, half a life of pain, and sets them up for being written off and told they’re stupid until the end of the earth.  People say Jesus raised the status of women, which, in the culture of his day may be true, but people who are supposed to be “like Jesus” massively fail and take the easy way of misogyny as written in the apostles over the example of the deity they claim to love and serve with all their heart and soul.

Women are “equal” in the sense that they are “people”, complete the largest chunk of reproduction, and in christianity have “equal access to god”. But in practice? Women are less, women are challenged and put down when they say things or step outside of the box, they’re labeled and personally attacked when they “make a crack in the glass ceiling”. Because  women being assertive is not allowed, still. Women having a voice, or control over their own body is still frowned upon.

Things I thought were resolved with the suffrage movement and the right to vote are resurfacing in this election and it hurts. It makes me feel ashamed to be a woman (scared, even), having been born with boobs and without a penis makes me feel trapped. I feel like everywhere I turn I hear old men, and some women trying to fit me into a box – the box I worked so hard, and wrestled with and tore myself apart over to escape. The box I’m still trying to completely escape – because completely leaving a gender box is more than just one process – it’s many, over a lifetime.

I don’t talk about feminism, womanhood, or anything like that very much, because a large part of myself has rejected the idea of gender. Because gender does. not. matter. At the very least, it should not matter. We are all human. We are all entitled to the same rights and opinions and control over our own bodies. We all have the right to say no – we do not deserve to be stepped on and half of the population does not deserve to be stripped of their rights just because their genitalia is different. Women are not more prone to misguidance or stupidity than men, nor vice versa. People are prone to flaws. People ARE flawed and we all have traits that are unique to our personalities, not our gender.

I’m tired of being subtly told I’m less, of being subtly hinted to that I should live in a box. I’m tired of watching men in power debate over whether or not I am smart enough to decide what happens to my body and when. I’m tired of people protecting the embryos that my body painfully destroys on a monthly basis, to the extent that it lessens my value and my rights as a fully existing person. I’m tired of people telling me that I’ll “get over it” and want to reproduce, I’m tired of people frowning at and judging me because I’m different and do not fit in the box I was supposed to belong to. I’m tired of people treating me as though I am the same clone, as though I’ll come around and find my rightful place in the stifling box of conservative womanhood. I’m tired of people thinking that they can speak, act and think for me because I cannot think for myself.

I’m tired of people lessening my value as a human being because I have decided not to have children – or trying to justify it because I’m young and I’ll “change my mind”.

All these messages, all the subtext just continue to beat me down, to tell me that my past was right, I am less because I am woman, I am even more less because I reject that being female dictates the way I live my life. It doesn’t matter how much you verbally affirm “women are equal (but different)” when you say, believe, and act in a way that demonstrates otherwise. Women are equal when they live in a box, but that is not equality at all, and I thought we were past that.