If you’ve ever been to this site before, you’ll likely be a bit surprised by what you were greeted with landing here now. Hopefully it’s a positive surprise (like finding a $20 bill in a pocket of a coat you haven’t worn since last winter), not a negative surprise (like realizing the $20 bill is actually a pile of snakes). Negative snake surprises are never fun.
With the shiny new site (by far, the neatest, most feature-packed site I’ve ever designed/built), and the freezing cold new year (not my fault), come new other things. This isn’t all about snakes.
In 2015, I’m going to be doing much more of the following:
Exposing myself to you.
Figuratively! Not in a gross way. I mean, I do have a live S.E.X. show, but you already knew about that because it’s featured on this site — right? Probably not. And that’s part of what I’m talking about here. I want to be more open about all of the things I do.
I do a lot of different things. Just look at the paragraph on the new homepage if you don’t believe me. I’ve been mostly low-key about this for the past few years for two reasons: (1) I don’t want what I do to seem overwhelming (I’d like to be a role model for folks passionate about social justice, not a deterrent); and (2) I don’t want to be perceived as braggadocious (pretty snooty word to use if I’m trying to avoid that, amiright?). What I’ve learned is that my low-key-ness has backfired on both fronts, and created a lot of other misperceptions.
And I do almost all of them myself, for and with little-to-no money. I design my own websites. I write my own code. I shoot and edit my own videos. And so on. I have no formal education in anything creative (my degrees are in social sciences), and learned how to do all of these things online for free (e.g., using Codecademy, Khan Academy, Tuts+). I have never paid someone to do something creative for me, and tend to even offer my own creative prowess (for free) to all of the collaborations I am part of, like The Safe Zone Project, which I branded, designed and coded. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not opposed to giving people dollars to create with me (in fact, I love that idea, because I’m pretty much maxed out at this point); I just haven’t had the dollars to do so, so I do so myself.
There’s this idea that because I make fancy things, I am a fancy person with a fancy bank account. So let me say this bluntly: I didn’t come from, don’t have, and don’t make much money. How much is not much? Well, I’ve been paid less in the past four years cumulatively doing social justice work than what it costs to pay your average nonprofit director’s salary for one year (you can easily google that amount, then use this tool to figure out the cost of tax and benefits, if you really want to figure it out). I’ve kept this to myself for a bunch of reasons, primary of which are (1) I’m totally okay with it, (2) I know other people won’t be, and (3) I want no part of a Sad Sam Party. I don’t like money, actively reject it, and have learned to make do with little. And hey — it hasn’t stopped me from touching (again, figuratively!) hundreds of millions of people around the world. I’m thrifty.
So there we go. I’ve said it. It’s scary. But it’s out there now. I’m being transpar–ugh I just vomited a little bit-ent. Are you happy?
I’m hoping that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant; this site is sunshine.
Hugging you, if you let me.
Literally! When I’m on the road, and I meet people who use/follow/like/link/share my work, they are often surprised that I’m excited to talk to them and hear their stories and that I want to be their best friends with matching bracelets. I don’t get it. You people are awesome. Don’t you realize that?
The new tour page, as well as some different ways I’ll be using my social media outlets and email lists, will hopefully help me help you realize that. If I’m near you and available, and you want to grab tea or just say “Hi!”, I would love to do that. It’s literally my favorite (again, literally!).
Asking for help.
Collaboratively! For the past few years, I’ve mostly worked on my own, kept my struggles private, carried my pain on my own, and celebrated my little wins quietly in my head. This can be wearisome, tiresome, lonely work. But I have big dreams and big goals and I think the baristas are starting to get sick of hearing about my life.
I believe that it is possible for us to create a world where people of all identities, backgrounds, and walks of life can coexist in a healthy, safe, equitable global society. I believe that my gifts (like doodling!) are well-suited to helping us nudge in that direction. This site, finally, I hope, will help me present the what, how, and why of that belief and vision.
Looking forward to continuing moving forward with all of you.
Never ask for permission to smile,