Tired

My mother finally got up the balls to private message me.

Here’s a bit of background. My mom has been different levels of abusive and neglectful of me for most of my life. She says she loves me, but her actions rarely prove that.

I’m an expert at recognizing emotional manipulation and gaslighting because of her.

So.

Under my real name, (for anyone in doubt, this is the real ‘me’, I much prefer my chosen name than the one she gave me) the morning after I stayed up all night, horrified while I watched the country of my birth turn the angry orange into president-elect, I told everyone I know via a facebook post that *I* am queer. That I was distraught because even though they’d ‘known’ about me, even though we’re mixed race, so many ‘even thoughs’ they still elected that creature into office. I called them out for their bigotry.

It’s not that I’ve been hiding, I’ve been ‘out’ to my mother and father since I was around 16, any one who bothered to spend time and talk to me over the years also knew I was queer. As long as I kept quiet about it, my family and friends didn’t care much. Since I eventually fell in love with, married, had kids with and continue to live with a man they’re happy enough to just continue brushing who I am under the rug.

They don’t care that I could just as easily have fallen in love with a woman, that I’ve had female lovers who I loved and would have spent my life with if things had worked out.

All is about appearances to them and that has never been more clear to me than right this second.

As long as I pass, and don’t say anything to the rest of the people I know who are bigoted, racist, nasty minded people, they’re fine ignoring it and saying they love me.

My mom argued with me, publicly, on my FB excusing everyone who voted for Frump, which, I learned today included her. She got butt hurt and pissy when people pointed out the things Frump has done. When my friends stood up for me and called her on her bullshit (she was being her standard emotionally manipulative self).

I posted a few articles, explaining why I and people like me are so fucking terrified of the angry orange.

Of why it hurts so much to know that close to half the voters who turned out, either hate us enough to vote for that man, or are willing to overlook what he clearly stands for enough to still vote him in.

Of how we feel betrayed. And why.

She accused me of being elitist today, because I enjoy spelling and grammar and looking things up.

She said ‘not everyone likes to research things like you do’. (Turning on the news isn’t ‘research’ applying an iota of thought to that mans actions isn’t expecting much.)

Especially when your daughter is queer.

Even now, the worst part of what I did, *to her* is using the word ‘queer’ to define myself.

It’s the one that fits me best, because I’m more than one of the letters of the QUILTBAG.

Her reaction was as if I’d mooned everyone in church. Lol, I wish I had mooned everyone in church so long ago. That would have been freaking hilarious.

Her words exactly were “Did you have to use the word queer? Isn’t there a better word you could have used? You have no idea what you’ve done. I’ve had to explain why you’re like you are for days.”

Explain why I am the way I am.

After 40 years of one kind of abuse or another from that woman, you’d think I’d be used to being hurt, or inured to it. Guess I’m not.

Cause that hurt.

I’ll get over it, on the scale of things she’s done to me over the years that ranks pretty middle of the road.

She cursed me, saying she hopes my children as much smarter than me as I am to she.

I take it as a blessing. I hope desperately that my children are wise, loving beings who see humanity as a beautiful quilt, stitched together with kindness and understanding. Different pieces of one whole that keeps everyone warm. I’m certainly going to raise them to be accepting of differences. Hopefully, from me, they’ll learn to apply their minds to any sort of inherited prejudice or hatred they pick up from society.

I pray my children are smarter than me, kinder than me, more empathic than me.

And I pray that tomorrow doesn’t hurt so badly. Cause right now I’m so damned tired of hurting.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Normal

I’m trying to find what normal means to me now. People who helped trump get into office, either by voting for him directly, not voting at all or by voting third party (demonstrating an almost criminal lack of understanding of the system in the states), they don’t get it.

They really don’t.

Not a single person I’ve spoken to (and I’ve been talking, a lot) gets it.

They give me excuses such as I voted my conscious.

I voted for the economy.

I voted for anti-establishment.

There are SO many excuses. So many.

And here I sit. (In a different country I remind you, though I am expat American). I’m still terrified.

Not in the way I was that night, watching the states votes come in. I’ve been through a lot in my life (feel free to look through the blog, I’ve talked about a lot of it.)

I’ve rarely felt terror like that. The only time that came close was when one of my kids ran away from me in a crowded amusement park and I couldn’t find them for ten minutes. All turned out well in that case (thank all I hold holy) but I just can’t see how it will be an ‘all’s well that ends well’ situation here.

Anyone who helped that man get into office, no matter their role, I can’t trust them anymore.

That goes for friends, it goes for family, it goes for casual acquaintances.

I’ve always been a person who enjoys political diversity as much as I do other forms. I may not have always agreed with the stances of the other side (technically I’d probably be a libertarian, though I vote the issues, not any particular party.) So now, I’m struggling with finding my new normal.

I know how I’ll be fighting. My writing, obviously, is going to remain inclusive to every form of diversity I can manage to include with sensitivity. My big surprise for January is even more needed now than it was before (and we needed it before). I’ll pick causes I feel passionate about to raise funds and awareness for… I’ve always been involved in politics, so there’s not much more I can do there.

I still can’t trust so many people I was close to. They didn’t protect me when it mattered.

How can I find a new normal with any of them after that?

 

Fissures

This election, it’s driven fissures in country, in government and in families.

I’ve been arguing, off an on, with my own family all day. Not the ones I live with who know me dearly and love me for all of who I am. (it’s been so much FUN!!)

No, the ones that raised me.

After the night, when I waited, with so many others like me, for the results of the US election… you know… the one that would tell us if we were safe or not, I posted on my personal facebook page. I unfriended anyone who had declaimed they’d voted for him. Even my childhood best friend. My eyelids burned with shed tears and my nose ached from wiping it all night as I wrote the personal message to her. Explaining why I had to cut off a connection we’d had for decades.

I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night, and it took me a day to recover, (if I even have) I still tear up at thinking about it. I had to explain to my daughter last night, why almost half of an entire country didn’t think she was worth protecting. (Thank Gods we live in Canada) My only answer was that so many people like to see what isn’t there.

My family sure did.

A vast majority of the people who raised me, the people who should KNOW me, deeply and support me, regardless. They voted for Trump.

I’m out about who I am. I’m several of the letters of LGBTTQQIAA2sP acronym, I’m disabled, I’m mentally ill, I’m… ugh. I’m so many things Frump directly campaigned against.

I’ve been campaigning against my family since I was old enough to know they were wrong. (Especially about race… we pass… obviously, but we’re passing. We need to use that privilege to do better… not. Not this.)

I campaigned for them to vote for Hillary. Not because they LIKED her (honestly, I didn’t like her either, I wanted Bernie, I still voted for Hillary) but to protect ME.

To protect my dearest, closest friends, who also tend to fall on the LGBTTQQIAA2sP spectrum somewhere, and if they don’t, they’re PoC, or they’re, or they’re, yeah that.

They didn’t protect me.

The reaction to my declaration was immediate and evident. I knew it was coming, and I won’t be silent, or nice, or private anymore.

I’m not… by nature, a fighter. Being socially awkward and aspie… I tend to avoid confrontation.

No more. Trump voters brought the fight to my doorstep. To MY life. I will try with all of my heart to fight the battle with love, but by all I hold holy. I. Will. Fight.

In a few days, we’re going to start seeing the inevitable decline of interest in this battle. It’s human nature and we shouldn’t blame people for that. We’re firefly beings, our interest and commitment passes, quickly.

Mine won’t. I may need to step back from time to time to recharge, we should all of us make time for that, or we WILL burn out. But this war against equality is on me, more than it ever has been before. I will fight.

One of the ways I fight is by choosing to help people defend themselves against stupidity and prejudice. My friend, Erin Jeffreys Hodges, is having a bad time with that right now.

 

 

No Words

So many of us were terrified of exactly what has happened.

Trump in office. Hillary won the popular vote, but she still lost.

Our families, our government, they chose not to protect us.

All day I’ve been seeing news reports and the words by friends of attacks and grief. Blood and tears from the marginalized. So many of my friends asking… what was so important to you that you’ve completely denied my right to safety? So many families shattered by the realization that… no, they don’t care enough for us to protect us.

People like me. People even MORE marginalized than me.

This wasn’t about money, or the economy, though I suppose that’s what they’ll tell themselves.

This proved exactly how intolerant, racist, sexist, ableist and ignorant of world affairs too many americans actually are.

I’ve seen so many people saying something along the lines of, ‘well, I don’t agree with you but bygones be bygones.’

I’m sorry, no. It’s not about someone simply not agreeing. Bush was about people not agreeing. I didn’t like him as president, and he fucked up a lot. He still wasn’t… this.

Trump is a tragedy.

All through his campaign he made it quite clear that he hates people like me. People darker than me, people who are disabled, mentally or physically ill, those on the LGBTTQQIAA2sP spectrum.

He hates me.

Those who voted for him hate me too.

There is no forgiveness in me for the proof that so many people, almost half of those who voted, hate me so much that they would vote a monster like him into office.

I’ve never been more grateful that I moved away from the country of my birth.

I wish I could offer my couch and floor space to everyone of my compatriots in the fight for equality. My house isn’t that big.

My heart is though. Tomorrow, I will pick myself up and continue my fight. I’ll continue to write my diverse, inclusive stories. Even in the face of my own fear of censure by the very people who should be supportive of writers trying to get it right. Tomorrow, I’ll continue my advocacy and my fight for equality.

Tonight. Tonight I’m still wiping away my tears and looking at my reason for living. My children… and wondering how I’ll explain this to them when they get old enough to understand.

We’ve lost a battle. A big one. We haven’t yet lost the war.

It’s a lie

It’s a lie, you know. That aspie’s don’t feel emotion. We have stone faces, but if anything we tend to be incredibly empathic.

I keep trying to step away from social media to not think about this bloody election and I keep going back to check in on my friends.

I just scrolled through. I have so many people saying the same thing. “I’m Terrified.”

I know. I feel it too. I’m so afraid. I can’t believe it. I’m terrified.

I’ll end this (and go drink some more, like more than half of a nation is doing right now to ease their terror) with a quote from Ursula K Le Guin.

‘We’re each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?’

I’m holding my hand out, in this darkest of nights. Even if he wins (and I pray by everything I hold holy that he doesn’t) none of us will be alone.

Self Care

I need to speak about self care in the face of fear. A lot of us are afraid today. Afraid that the country we live in or were born in, will elect a manipulative narcissist, a rapist, an abuser and gods only know what else, to sit in the oval office.

While being president of the US doesn’t, in all honesty, hold a lot of power (most of the power is in the senate and the house, secretarial positions) the president does hold power enough to upset the entire fabric of the international spectrum.

I’m 40 years old and I’ve never seen a more divisive campaign that brought out so much vituperative ugliness in people.

I woke up afraid, cut clenching, nauseatingly afraid that Trump will be elected president. He’s made it quite clear that *I* wouldn’t be safe in the US if he were president.

He’s made it extremely clear that so many of my friends and loved ones won’t be safe either.

I hope, so badly, that Hillary will be voted into the presidency. She at least is qualified and won’t set the world on end.

A lot of people seem to love Trump for the same reasons people loved Teddy Roosevelt. Bluster, ‘carry a big stick’, thick skin… that mentality. My great-grandfather was a woods guide, he knew Teddy Roosevelt, he was with him when he was sworn in. Teddy was a good man according to family legend.

Trump is not. You see. This isn’t 1901, and even if Trump has a thick skin (he doesn’t demonstrably show this) the rest of the world does not. We live on an international stage now. Above and beyond the fear I have for my loved ones who are not cishetwhite males. I’m afraid for the entire world.

So… I ranted a bit more about Trump than I intended to. I wanted to simply remind everyone that self-care can help against fear.

I hope everyone practices self-care today. Get your votes in, take a buddy with you so you’re safe please and check in with those who care for you to let them know you’re safe.

Drink water, snuggle up with a comfy blanket and netflix if you can. Go to lunch with a friend. Whatever form your particular type of self-care takes, I hope you do it.

For me, I took a little extra time to make a nice breakfast. I have a large container of water and my coffee. I’m going to write today, since my vote had to be in weeks ago as an expat.

But please. Remember to take care of you. It’s a scary day for so many of us. Remember to check in with your friends too, to see if they’re doing okay and to let them know that you are too.

Hopefully, we’ll all wake up tomorrow with the first female president, instead of a megalomaniac.

You’re not alone

When I wrote my blog post, calling out the writing community on twitter. I never expected it to be read as much as it has been. The hits its gotten daily (not sure if everyone is reading the whole thing… but most seem to be by responses) are in the hundreds and the hits continue to grow every day.

I’d just reached a point where my pain at seeing what writers were doing to other writers overwhelmed my fear of speaking out.

Since that post when live… the outpouring of thanks and support I’ve received publicly and privately has absolutely floored me. I’m humbled, and so, so grateful. I physically shook for hours after publishing that, waiting for what I felt were the inevitable attacks.

You aren’t alone.

I’m not alone in feeling this way.

Our community has been reduced, it’s now on the skids. Last night, I read another writers words about her fear that ‘if she gets it wrong’ she’ll suffer twitter backlash and end up suicidal again. She fears that, even though she does her due diligence, because she’s not as marginalized as some of her characters, (she is marginalized) she’ll be taken to task for it.

The number of writers who have said to me privately that they’re right on the verge of leaving writer twitter because of all the ugliness that’s gone down in the past few months is also staggering.

Twitter is one of the best places I’ve ever been for writing. The community, the contests, the amount of information is unparalleled. Lately, so has been the hatred and feather picking.

I get it. I really do, under the skin, how we marginalized folks feel. How much pain we experience from micro-aggressions every day. I don’t even experience the PoC issues because I DO pass. I experience a lot of my own though. Ableist, sexist, sizeist, Neurotypicalist, cishet and more.

Sometimes, I too get so fed up and just want to lash out because of the combined toll these micro-aggressions take daily. This is where I’m lucky to be Aspie. My emotions often do feel a little more distant, by that, I mean they don’t usually control me. There’s always a little ‘person of reason/logic’ in the forefront of my mind. That little thought that says… “Wait. I know that hurt, but do you really want to hurt someone else because you’re hurting?”

I know that’s what’s happening in many of the demographics I’ve seen people lashing out in. I feel it. I know.

I’d still implore you all, my marginalized writers, to step back away from your keyboards when you’re hurting, apply self care and don’t lash out.

Speak your pain, yes. We HAVE TO speak our pain, or there will never be change. But don’t lay into another writer in a negative way. It ruins writer twitter for us all. If you have a large following, influence, don’t feed people to your followers feeling, maybe, that it’s just an object lesson in what not to do. I don’t want to see what is such a wonderful community (even with its flaws, it IS wonderful) go away because we didn’t take the time to step away until we could share our pain in a constructive way.

If we don’t, each and every one of us, start behaving better. All those people (of every demographic imaginable, many are marginalized themselves) who said they’re on the verge of leaving twitter… they’ll go. And this platform that can be SO useful in helping others understand our pain will be gone.

Because of a few, noisy, bullying voices and the mob mentality that supports them.

Twitter can be great, educational, and supportive. Or it can remain toxic. It’s our choice.

Chickens with Pitchforks

chickens-with-pitchforks

So many thinky thoughts, so many emotions and me, a writer, not being able to come up with a coherent way of saying them all. Some of this emotion is likely from how shitty my day to day life is right now. I have untreated fibromyalgia (long story, not getting into it) and I’m moving house, downsizing in an unwanted move to a much smaller place and my two kids are coming down with another round of ‘public school plague’, so some of this emotion is from that. Most of it has been boiling for a while and I’ve been too afraid to say anything because I feared judgment. If another author can say publicly, that they won’t let down their bad ass female ancestors by being afraid. I can woman up and not be afraid to speak my truth either. I WANT THE PAIN TO STOP.

I’m not talking about my fibro pain. I’m a farm girl, raised around animals and there’s this trait I saw a lot of growing up. Ugly duckling, odd chick behavior. It’s basically where birds will, for some reason, decide to pick on a member of the flock until it dies.

The publishing community on twitter the past couple of months are acting like a bunch of chickens. Pick, pick picking at one another until the weaker bird dies. Now, I’ve written theses, I can hazard a guess about the psychology behind it, tension, stress about the election, brexit, et cetera.

You know… it’s something humans do too. It’s called bullying, maybe a bit of gaslighting.

I call it witch hunting. (I’m pagan, have been most of my life, I use the term with knowledge and respect for the fallen, ’cause y’all know what? Many of you are acting like the inquisition here.)

One thing I cannot, and will not, ever lie down for is bullying. If this post burns me bridges, or brings me grief because I’m brave enough to point at an unpleasant truth in a group of people who ought to freaking know better? Bring it. (Seriously, I’m not spoiling for a fight like a lot of people seem to be doing these days, but I will defend myself and other people.)

To be clear, this is not brought on by any one situation, there have been nine incidences (that I’m personally aware of, pretty sure there’re more) with different people involved, with different topics addressed over the past several months. I’m plugged into a lot of communities, just because of who I am. There’ve been issues about pansexuality, religious faith, PoC, cultural (mis)representation, and tone policing to just mention a few. So I am not pointing at any ONE person or topic or incident. Though yes, why I’m saying something now is because of the reaction to the book THE CONTINENT.

Firstly: *I* have not read the book. Neither have most of you. Which kinda calls into question the omfg issues revolving around it. One well respected and well thought out person has read it and commented upon it. In a critique which, given who it was, I have to assume is accurate. I respect the person who critiqued it. I may not always agree with the methodology or opinions of this person, but the knowledge, viewpoint and critique? That I respect, a lot. I rather hope #TheContinent isn’t that bad, but as soon as I can finish this move and regain some sense of equilibrium-I have an ARC-I’ll read it and review it. Honestly and from my perspective as an educated, marginalized, author of mixed ethnicity.

I also know the person who wrote the book is a debut author. Aren’t we supposed to be doing our utmost as writers/authors/publishing professionals to support debut authors? Even the ones who make mistakes?

I have so many thoughts and emotions about this. (I’ve been writing this most of the day when I needed to be working on my book or packing.) I’ll try for cohesion, so that when/if I’m attacked, I’ll have my receipts. You’ll note that despite me working damned hard on wording this correctly, without censure of any one person or incident that I’m Expecting To Be Attacked. That is the feeling of the writer community on twitter right now, (it wasn’t when I joined up) and that goes out in ripples to the whole of the authorial community.

Diversity: I am passionate about all forms of diversity. Always have been. I’m a staunch supporter of being who you are, all of who you are. I will always be an advocate. We are each of us human, each of us learning, growing, beautiful individuals. Do we make mistakes? We’re human, of course we do. I’m damned worried posting this is a mistake, so much so I’ve had people vet it before I click publish. (I’ve never, ever done that before w/a blog post.) Thing is, I can’t respect myself if I DON’T say something. So. To the meat of it.

  1. Passing. I pass damned well, it gives me privilege others descended from the same bloodlines and cultures as me don’t have. But. I’m. Still. Passing. I’m aware that I’m passing, and it absolutely kills something in me when we run into racist/neurodiverse issues in publishing, in all forms of entertainment. It’s like I’m torn in half. The part of me that is *me* from the part of me everyone else *sees*. Go ahead, look at the profile pic. Look white, don’t I? I’m not. Unless skin tone is all that matters. (Whoa now, if that isn’t a shock, I dunno what could be. Skin tone as a social control? Nah. Couldn’t happen among thinking humanoid type critters.) But, if the way I look is all that matters,  well… that’s prejudicial. It kills something in me to hear another gifted writer saying they KNOW they have very little chance of traditional publication. It’s something I know very well because I feel it myself, even if the reasons are different. They’re Native, but they keep writing anyway… Then the same writer has their heart broken because of the (possibly, *I* haven’t read it. I *don’t* prejudge) racist YA book that will soon be published. To hear her pain. Lord and Lady, it’s like an emotional wound inside of me. Because she speaks about her pain, about those dark and nasty thoughts I’ve had myself… (the ones that are grateful that my kids pass too ’cause they have First Nations ancestry from both their dad and me?? Because they have African ancestors through me? Yeah, those thoughts. I don’t obey those thoughts, I won’t be a coward. I teach my kids as much as I know about all of their ancestors, but I still have the thoughts. A symptom of the world we live in.)
  2. I have not read the book, I intend to, because I cannot make an informed opinion about anything without, ya know… informing myself. It’s a thing, yeah?
  3. I pass as being neurotypical too. I’m not what most people think of when they think ‘autistic’. SPOILER, most of us aren’t. If you know 50 people, you know someone who is passing autistic. You know someone who struggles, every second of every day to understand how other ‘normal’ people work.
  4. On the other side of this fence, a good friend of mine is incredibly saddened because they know the author in question… my friend tells me they are a good person…
  5. If someone is saying, ‘This hurts.’ You don’t say, ‘that’s not the way it is, you’re viewing it wrong.’ There’s a definition for that and it’s called gaslighting.
  6. Being a good person, with good intentions does not relieve you of responsibility. If, for instance, you write YA books, you have to be concerned, always, with the kids who will be reading your work. You. Need. To. Be. Aware. Words can hurt, they can kill. We need to use ours wisely. This ALSO goes for those with influence, those who speak out and are respected for doing so. Who may feed people to their following, knowing damned well what will happen. I see you. It does not give you (no matter the color of your skin, or your ancestors or, or, or…) the right to harm or gaslight anyone. If someone says… ‘this hurts, please stop’ the ONLY answer is ‘I’m so sorry. I will listen, I will do better.’ Even if you don’t understand what you did wrong. Even if your cultural understanding isn’t aware or awake enough yet to know how badly you effed up. Someone says ‘OUCH’, you say ‘I’m sorry’. I mean, didn’t we all learn this in kindergarten?
  7. In case it needs to be said. I. AM. SAYING. OUCH. PLEASE. STOP.
  8. I’m talking to the writers, the publishing professionals, and you. Yeah. I’m looking at you, my reader. Maybe you personally haven’t done anything that I need to say ouch about. Maybe you’ve never done a blessed thing to hurt another human, but… maybe you have. Only you know.
  9. This one… I honestly can’t believe I even have to say it. I’ve worked for fortune 500s, I’ve brokered million dollar deals when I sold stuff (software if it matters) to the US gov’t. I’ve been in NOAA’s headquarters and I’ve visited Fort Knox, I’ve dined w/ the US Secretary of Energy. I’m not sharing that info to brag. I was miserable in that job; I’m sharing it for perspective. So when you read the next bit, you’ll understand exactly where I’m coming from. ANY. Other. Industry. Would be bloody, fucking, appalled by this behavior. I am NOT calling out one particular person, many people do it…  I am talking about something that borders on breach of privacy. It’s not ‘quite’ there, but it’s like when you smell a campfire and then feel the flame. The issue? Sharing of private DMs/videos/emails. Don’t do it. Private correspondence is private, it’s not meant for public consumption and no, sharing it isn’t right no matter how justified you feel you are in doing so. I don’t care who you are or what your motivation is to do such a thing. Same goes with taking tweets and emails and things said out of context and using them as fuel in your own personal crusade. I’ve seen quite a bit of that lately too and I’m tired of it. There aren’t many ‘issue’ crusades that don’t apply to me too. Do you see *me* doing that? I find it extremely distasteful and unprofessional. (Most everyone else does too. Just to let you know.)
  10. Mental Health: (#ownvoices on that topic, among others) Did you know it falls into the category of being a bully to call someone out for using mental health issues as a tool? When. You. Don’t. Know. The. Person. Or. What. They. Deal. With? The person I’m thinking of didn’t say a damned word about that book. They were accused of sub-tweeting, and racism and omg… WHAT THEY SAID was, ahem (I should stop shouting, but I feel it may be warranted)  don’t discount mental health issues. That person talks about their own struggles FREQUENTLY.  Jaysus. I’m sick to my stomach that so much that should be bringing us together, forming bridges, is being used as tools in dividing us.
  11. You know what? You don’t get to tell someone else they aren’t struggling, no matter what the color of their skin is, the state of their brain or their lifestyle. No matter what color YOUR skin is, or the state of YOUR brain, or what lifestyle you (hopefully) enjoy. You just don’t have that right. Even if you’re marginalized, you still don’t get to say it. See Gaslighting. I’d love to call out the names and say… hey there bully! Whas’up! We meet again… it’d be sooo nice if you’d stop. I choose to not do that. I’ve been a victim of bullying my whole damned life. I know what it looks, feels and smells like. THAT was bullying. (Not the first time I’ve seen it with the particular person, and to be utterly clear, it isn’t the person who critiqued the book.) Think it might be you? Do you bully people on the internet/twitter/fb? Then lace it up and wear it, b.  Bullying, even in the name of a good cause, is still bullying.
  12. Witch hunts. I made such a face just now, I really did. But damn people, what is WITH the witch hunt mentality in publishing? I’m pagan, and extremely well educated (many useless degrees on the walls, promise). I’m aspie, which means *my* brain acts a lot like a computer in the amount of information I have at hand at any one p0int. So when I use the term ‘witch hunt’ that is exactly the right term to use. One person points the finger at another person, shouting “WITCH” then without proof, without reason, without any sort of trial the ‘witch’ is run out of town, or twitter dragged, or suffers a pile on in the worst way. (There’ve been a lot of these hunts around issues relating to PoC, pansexuality, asexuality, representation, tone policing and fetishism lately, just to name a few) There are those of us on ‘both’ sides of any single one of these witch hunts who would like to speak up and say something along the lines of ‘wait a minute, that isn’t Actually What They Said or Did’ or ‘Whoa, Wait a minute, that was taken completely out of context and used in a way it wasn’t ever intended as’. You know what? WE can’t. The moment one of us (again, on either side here of any particular dispute, I’m thinking of at least 9 different instances on different topics in recent months) says a thing that disagrees with the ‘witch hunt’ mentality, we’re tarred with the same damned brush. There is no logic, there is no reason, there is no kindness. (FWIW, I’m not a kindness before ‘A Person’ believer. You see something wrong, you hurt? Call, it, out. I will support you, always.) There certainly isn’t an atmosphere of listening and learning in the writing community on twitter. Which–I can tell you as a marginalized person myself–I’d be so much happier seeing. I’d be ecstatic  if people learned about me and tried to understand the things I face and have to deal with rather than them ‘getting their comeuppance’ and being feather-plucked/driven out of the community at large.
  13. You know what these recent witch hunts have done? It’s made me (passing PoC, neurodiverse, polyamorous, pagan, kinky, pansexual, chronically ill, queer, mentally ill,  fat… ) the person trying to get it right in my work, (because I know what it feels like to be marginalized in so many ways) not want to share my writing. It makes me doubt every word I’ve ever written regarding a person with a darker skin than mine. Everything I’ve ever alluded to from one of the ancestral cultures I have the honor to claim. (Edit… this is a massively common feeling, since I first posted this, I can’t believe the number of people ID’ing as any form of diversity who’ve reached out to me in a positive manner about this post. It’s not just me who’s feeling this.)
  14.  I have PoC characters in a lot of my writing, because I feel so strongly that everyone deserves to see themselves in fiction. I rarely, if ever, see accurate rep of me in fiction, I think everyone should have that. To see themselves reflected.  I remember hearing my mom, when I was a kid, say something along the lines of ‘she wished there were a few brown girls’ in the romances she liked to read. I remember her using lemon juice to lighten her skin and hair, and praising my (then) blond hair and blue eyes. Genetic fact, you don’t tend to tan well unless you’re pretty mixed up, ethnically. Many of us know a person who is really pale, all year round who turns into a lobster if they get a hint of sunlight? Not so mixed. Someone like me, who turns red-brown in the sun… very mixed, I have Spanish, Portuguese, African, Middle Eastern, First Nations, and European ancestors. You know… I remember my mom yanking on my hair with a brush to keep it from forming locks, (which it does even more now than it did then) because it wasn’t the ‘right way’ for hair to look. I remember her yanking out *Yes, she pulled them out of my scalp, and taught me to do the same thing* the dark, spiral curled hairs that grew in among the blond. I remember how I felt when I found the proof that, um, whups the reason we don’t talk all that much about some of your grandparents is cause they were so dark. Um… WTF? I know what it feels like *to me* to read about another mixed person in fiction. (I’ve blogged about it before, I literally cried the first time I saw it. Because I finally saw me. That feeling, of seeing ME/YOU is what I want for every person on the planet who enjoys fiction. This atmosphere… it’s driving away those of us who’re trying to get it right. These recent witch hunts, man. It’s made me say… well fuck, because I pass so well, I guess I don’t have the right to write people with angular eyes and dishy teeth (I have dishy teeth… you know? For the uninformed it’s a Native/First Nations/Asian biocline trait). I’m so light skinned (when I’ve been being writer chick and staying out of the sun) how dare I even think about writing a guy with dark skin and blue eyes, or, to refer (not rep, I won’t do that) but simply refer to one of my characters as rez raised Native. (My granddad was, left the rez to marry my grandmother… but my skin is awfully damned light to be writing someone with darker skin, isn’t it?) These witch hunts… damn people. What are you trying to do with them? To bastardize The Princess Bride, I don’t think you’re doing what you think you’re doing.
    1. Are you trying to drive authors who work very freaking hard at getting it right away from writing PoC? (I excoriate myself to get it right, to not use ‘food’ terminology when describing a skin tone or eye shape, just for instance. If I mention a culture or trait, I try my damnedest to not use stereotypes and, and, and, and.)
    2. Are we as a community trying to drive other authors away from just talking about their own ancestries? From learning and asking questions? It feels like that to me today. It really does. (I’m not speaking of that book now, I have not read it, I don’t know, if you haven’t read it, neither do you.) I AM speaking of how *I* feel trying to describe my characters. Is the fact that I see and write one of my characters as a girl with angular green eyes, gold skin and black hair going to get me tarred and feathered as being an Asian/First Nations Fetishist? I’m describing someone in my family when I use those terms, I had them vet the description before I used it. They thanked me for not comparing the shape of their eyes to a nut. (dude… white people’s eyes look more like almonds than Asian/First Nations… have you actually looked?) Is the fact that I see one of my characters as a dark brown man with blue eyes going to get me accused of another form of fetishism? (It’s a gene I studied in University, how the African diaspora encountered blue eyed people around the Baltic Sea around 10k years ago. There are blue eyed black people, shocker, I know, right? Did you know there’re red haired black people too? Red haired Native/First Nations? Is it wrong to depict them?) I have freaky silver-blue, color-changing eyes (Danish biocline trait) but my skin isn’t dark… how about if I only write light skinned Danish immigrants? I’ll ignore the other half of my ancestry, as I’ve been taught to do my whole damned life… is that what’s needed and wanted here? If I refer to my rez raised Native character as red-brown (my mom’s skin color btw, and mine in the summer after even a hint of sun) is it going to get me skinned alive by someone respected in publishing? Because my profile pic is taken in winter and I’m kinda pale in it? Oh! I know! I’m cream colored in my profile pic… doughy even, maybe even porcelain… means I’m white, right? What the hell are y’all trying to do?
    3. Is the end goal here a more diverse publishing atmosphere? It’s what *I* thought we were all doing and trying for. How does picking the feathers off of a debut author contribute to that? If the book is as reviewed, wow, yeah, some learning and fixing up needs to happen, and it shouldn’t have been published that way. Twitter dragging the author/the editor/the publishing house… that’s not going to help them learn. No, it’s not *OUR* responsibility to teach or educate anyone else about our marginalization’s. It is our responsibility to act like human beings. Like higher reasoning primates and not a bunch of featherheads toting pitchforks.
    4. I highly doubt many people are reading this… my experience of my mixed up ethnicity, of all of my experienced marginalizations and the pain I feel at seeing these… witch hunts… because I’m never on just one side of them. Each one of them splits me in half, or thirds… it’s crazy. It hurts, it hurts badly. If you are reading, if you’re on either side of these conflicts… could ya’ maybe step back a bit and say… I’m listening. I will read/research/think about the issue at hand and maybe talk privately to people I trust about it… rather than grabbing a torch and pitchfork?
    5. By grabbing a torch and pitchfork, I mean piling on in support of one side or the other in ANY conflict. Public call outs… this is probably the aspie me in (I really loathe being accused of something in public. Which might clue you in to how strongly I feel about this topic, to step up and say something I’ve been feeling for a while, KNOWING I’m likely to get taken to task for it.) but, does it actually HELP anything? It sure as hell isn’t changing publishing. Only thing going to change publishing is using your money to talk with. Buy the authentically diverse books with good rep. SUPPORT authors who are diverse, in whatever fashion their diversity shows itself in. I’d give a body part for some accurate kink rep in mainstream fiction other than the few that are out there… how about an adult aspie? Asexual? Grace? Mixed ethnicity? Adult polyamory other than love triangles? How about a fat girl in a romance? A disabled romantic MC who doesn’t get a miracle cure by the end of the book? I’d love one of those. There’s some kink and poly but not a lot, can’t think of many Grace or Aspie characters in adult fiction. I swear on all I hold holy I will give whoever brings up the movie The Accountant the lecture of their life on bad representation.
    6. This entirely human/chicken habit of tearing down, witch hunting, et cetera. It’s not helping. To be clear, I’m not talking about sharing an educated opinion of a book, nor am I talking against speaking your own pain. I’m talking about personal attacks against an author/entertainer, you know… name calling, career shaming, calling into question their integrity or their intelligence, rudely rolling ones eyes (virtually) about how damned dumb this particular person HAS to be to be making that mistake… that kind of thing. Damn. Here’s a question for those of you who may feel I just insulted you. Did you see the movie THE ACCOUNTANT? RAINMAN?? Were you entertained? Chilled? Excited? Thrilled? Or were you appalled at the rep? If you didn’t answer the latter, you got some work to do.
    7. Oh… and just cause I’ve seen it and I’m annoyed by it… piling on in support of PoC, LGBTQA+ (insert marginalized individual) doesn’t absolve you of your own guilt. If you’re light skinned (I am too, it’s part of the culture we live in) you’re racist. If you’re not Asperger’s/Autistic, you’re prejudiced against us. If you’re not mixed race, you have no idea what it feels like. If you’re not polyamorous, you have no idea how much it hurts to only be able to find monogamous romance to read, even when you LOVE romance. If you’re straight, you have no idea how badly we queer people want to see ourselves in fiction. If you’re not kinky… boy… I could write a whole damned thesis, probably a couple of them, on bad representation and the damage a certain series of books has done there because of piss poor research. If you aren’t part of a/the marginalized community, the only thing you can do is LISTEN. LEARN. Attempt to make bridges instead of tearing things apart. And for fucks sake. Do. Better. Maybe a good start would be to try leaving the plucking of feathers to the ducks and chickens.