I'm feeling unusually like "myself" right now, and am once again trying to activate whatever "myself" is!!!
In the spirit of constructive assertion, I'm gonna improvise some New Rules/Goals/Hopes!
I will not be afraid of what people say about my art!
I have become terrified over time of what people will say when I put art into the world in any medium. And not without reason! My own mother said I sounded "insane" after publishing a short essay in 2016, but luckily/complicatedly I realized by the end of that year that my family was not good for me, and cut them out of my life. HOWEVER, that's just one of many instances where eager little (and big) Nick published something and received outrageous negative responses. And I struggled to build enough of a "thick skin" to brush that stuff off, mostly because I was poor, unmedicated, and fucking suffering for years!!! Fuck you if you've ever been anything less than helpful when the tender shoots of my creativity have tried again and again to emerge from my scorched interior.
That probably doesn't apply to anybody who would read this (who even are you?) BUT, still I say to protect myself, fuck you! I am brilliant and insightful and funny and have a creative mind unlike any other and I've encountered so much fucking friction and setback in my life. Unstable footing for most of my adult life.
SO EVEN THOUGH THAT'S STILL THE CASE, I have identified that if I'm not writing, I'm dying. I exist primarily in my voice, for better or worse. And I've become my own jailer, just to avoid the possible whiplash of having an enjoyable time writing, posting it online somewhere, and having somebody say exactly the wrong thing to me. If it happens, I am resolving to respond with protective venom, rather than spending the next year going "were they right though? am I stupid/insane/annoying/ignorant/????"
Because the people I trust say I'm not. I tried to trust some of the wrong people for too long. If your family doesn't love you and treat you with dignity, get the fuck away from them. If randos don't understand your writing, they aren't the target audience.
(ASIDE: if you're being a fucking bigot though, you ARE wrong and should take criticism to heart. these rules do not apply to racists/bigots/terfs/conservatives of any stripe. y'all all gotta shut the fuck up and let the rest of us save the world and live in peace. you grew up wrong. I'm not sorry. get entirely out of the fucking way 😜)
Write without worrying about being ""CORRECT""!
This is a major hangup and inhibitor! Unfortunately for me, a lot of what I've wanted to write about are interpretive responses to other people's art. That means Opinions get involved, and people feel strongly about their things! Including me!
I made the mistake of couching that writing for a long time as "solving" or "explaining." Oops! That's a masculine form of assertion that I want to discard! Hugely important tweet I saw a couple years ago said something like, "When women make up something about a story they like, they call it Fanfiction. When men do the same, they call it Lore Analysis." And I have been so guilty of this!!! And it sucks! The thing that you can do as analysis is really cool and fun, but what I don't want to do anymore is assert that I've "figured it out" or "cracked the code." I was in that trap writing about House of Leaves, etc, a decade ago. The desire for correctness (born out of academic do-gooder training AND harmful family dynamics where my parents got very angry when their Correctness was questioned AND [...]) is unnecessary here. It literarily doesn't matter.
I have stuff I want to write about several topics, including Twin Peaks and Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. Hell, I've got a book or two worth of interpretive connections I could still write about Mark Danielewski's books. But I haven't been able to DO it, or enjoy it, because of this specific form of fear about being received uncharitably.
SO, I intend to write more about these things, and I'm gonna start all of it with a disclaimer that it's all made up, probably wrong, and just for fun. For some reason I want to take myself seriously (a true desire for dignity and recognition built on familial disrespect, when I should have just been a fucking improv comic at age 18). OOPS! Even if I do take myself seriously, nobody else needs to know that! Play along, or go fuck yourself!
I guess I've gotten more cynical and harder-hearted in the last few years, but CAN YA BLAME ME? This shit's ridiculous but at least I'd like to enjoy myself, being inside my own mind, A LITTLE and if I have to construct somewhat unreasonable defenses, well I'm sure as shit not the only one!
But I'm not Jokerfied... I'm Harleyfied. 😎 Casting off the abusers, sure a little chaotic, but god damn it I'm trying!
SPEAKING OF WHICH:
I will be honest with and about myself!
I've dealt with an unbearable burden of self-loathing that's only increased since puberty. And SURE that includes plenty of true catastrophe and external sabotage — not to mention living in the Saw Movie Hellscape of the Untenable States of Ahfuck. Can you imagine if I'd been born in a country with fucking healthcare and a social safety net??? WOWWWWW
But anyway, oops turns out I'm trans! FUCK! Seriously, FUCK!!!!!!!! God damn it!!!!! I have ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS been utterly uncomfortable with masculinity, and chalked that up to being a nerd, sensitive, thoughtful in a way most men are allergic to. And I am those things. But ALSO OOPS nobody taught me that Transgender was even a thing growing up, and I was so busy dealing with Everything Else that I just put aside Gender as a thing. Other people had Gender; not me! It was always "a group of queer friends... and also Nick!"
So yeah this has been a huge issue for me for as long as I can remember, and LORD did I do a lot of work to ignore it, and myself! But I had a series of events in late 2019 that destroyed my entire life as it existed before, and that included a deep moment of connection with a trans friend where I went, "Uh oh!" And then everything blew up, then covid kicked off, and I couldn't really even afford to pay rent for a couple years. Fuck!!!
So anyway I got a better-paying job about 2 years ago, started talking to a counselor specializing in Gender, and reading about other people's experiences. And was immediately like, "Ah shit ah hell, now I gotta deal with THIS TOO????" and the answer is yes.
Guess what else? A few years ago I started taking antidepressants. WOW, IT'S COOL TO WANT TO LIVE! I got diagnosed with ADHD and started treatment for that about 9 months ago. WOW, I LOVE BEING ABLE TO DO TASKS! And then I started estrogen in March. WOW, FEELS PRETTY COOL AND ALSO COMPLICATED! And then I took some diagnostic tests and tested to be pretty firmly on the autistic spectrum! WOW, THAT EXPLAINS A FEW THINGS!
So here's the thing: my dumbfuck family and this cursed nation kept me from getting tested for any of this stuff until my 30s. No help, no accommodations, no understanding! Just so many people, from as early as I can remember, calling me every derogatory word for being queer, hyperactive, disorganized, and neurodivergent! I was 7 years old and people lobbed "gay" and other slurs at me because I wasn't sufficiently masculine. "But I'm not attracted to boys, so that can't be right," thought every trans lesbian egg ever, including me! Everyone I've ever met has looked at me at some point and said, "You are one of the strangest people I've ever met," and I just shrug and laugh and make it a joke because
And I managed to goof my way through life, struggling so hard to be "functional", while constantly running up against difficulty after difficulty. Especially around communication, where I learned to be so careful and that's good sometimes but also: SO FUCKING EXHAUSTING
SO GUESS WHAT FUCKERS
We got ourselves another autistic adhd trans lesbian computer programmer over here, HELLOOOOO, I dunno if I wanna change my name some day but you can use she/her pronouns about me IF YOU WANT and otherwise WHATEVER WE'LL SEE
and honestly I'd just like to ask for your help and love and accommodation because the last few years have been so hard on me and being social during all of this shit has just been a nightmare so much of the time. All of these "new rules" are related: I have not felt SAFE or HAPPY being MYSELF and while being open doesn't necessarily increase my SAFETY in this FUCKED UP STUPID WORLD OF MILITANT TERF DUNCES AND HEARTLESS FUCKS, I've at least
And if you don't like it, LITERALLY BYEEEEEEEEE
It's all made up and the points don't matter! I just want to enjoy what's left of the improvisation