So, those of you who followed me may have noticed that my blog spiked and then slowed a great deal. There’s more than one reason for this, and it seems like that might be something worth talking about.
The main thing, I think, is that I do have a pretty busy life! I was excited to have this new platform so I went a bit intense at it at first. Things are now settling down to the level that I think will be sustainable: one or two posts a week, plus a few smaller bits and pieces from time to time like the double dactyls. I’m very definitely not quitting, I have two drafts for bigger posts partly done and a whole raft of things in the pipeline.
What I have noticed, however, is that blogging is a pretty vulnerable act, for me at least. Not only does it involve putting one’s thoughts and feelings out there to be picked at, but FtB has always been a principled network that attracts detractors, people for whom the cruelty is the point as much as any MAGA-hat-wearer, people who enjoy taking pieces out of anyone who exists here. Now, I knew that when I applied and have no regrets about it, but it really does take a toll, at least enough of one that it adds an extra layer of emotional cost to creating blog posts.
I expect practically everyone who sees this will be familiar with “spoon theory“, the popular metaphor coined by Christine Miserandino about how chronic illness affects one’s ability to do daily tasks. I don’t have the sort of illness she was discussing, but the principle holds for more than that; really, it’s a good way to talk about having limited energy or personal resources for many things, and one thing it definitely applies to is resilience to abuse. Come to think of it, it might be even better to describe this in game terms – you only have so many life points, you can heal them, but damage drops them, and when they’re 0 it’s game over. Or you have another guy, but the metaphor only stretches so far…
All of this is to say that writing, particularly in public, is an emotionally and mentally costly endeavor, and lately there’s been a lot of stuff going on that saps my energy. Twitter is basically a constant stream of abuse directed at all trans people but especially trans women. Everything Shiv writes about*, which I usually don’t because I don’t want that to be my ‘beat’ or be thought of as ‘just that’, and also because actual journalists like Shiv and Katelyn Burns** do a better job than I would. Interpersonal conflicts and spending the night being Extremely Outgoing And Friendly For Networking(tm) even among people who don’t want me around. Also the opposite of that: supporting loved ones through their own emotional crises.
Sometimes no matter how much I love this place and love having the opportunity to contribute, it just gets crowded out by big priorities or just having nothing left in the tank. And at this point I’m sure I’m just talking about something everyone in the world deals with at least from time to time.
Hey, that brings an interesting question to mind: is there anything that, based on what you’ve seen so far, folks here might like me to write about? I’m not short of ideas or plans but I’d be super interested to know if there’s something you’d specifically look forward to reading.
* This is in my city. Canada, especially Canada’s most liberal cities like Vancouver and Montréal, might possibly be the safest place in the world right now for trans people… but that’s relative, and there is never a cessation of reminders that there is always a population that wants to eliminate us from the world, be it by social opprobrium, legislation, or outright murder.
** Katelyn Burns has expressed that same worry: “I felt like their token. I’ve struggled with being labeled “the trans writer” for awhile now. While I’m blessed to have had my work on my own identity open so many career doors, it’s also difficult to be continuously pigeonholed into writing only about that identity.”