Writing is hard and writing about my personal life is even harder at times. Putting myself out into the world leaves me vulnerable from the second I push the publish button. It is something that when it comes to writing that is not a review I struggle at. Often I am left with the dread that I am just yelling into the wind. Like I am being almost narcissistic when I write about myself too much.
It would have never occurred to me that my writing and my life, could be a form of activism. To me, activism had to be something that you saw someone actively doing. That is had to bring an actual change. However, I was curious to attend Living Out Loud: Sharing Stories as Personal Activism when I attended Woodhull. Because even in the back of my mind, I always write hoping maybe my words will help someone. However, I learned, it was something I needed to feel like I had permission to write about.
Radical Activism and Being a Beacon of Permission
Radical Activism the kind that starts at the root or the foundation of an issue. It calls on us to draw on the things we have most available. Our words, our voices, and our own stories. While some of our stories might overlap or intertwine. The experiences that come out of that are often going to be different. This is based on the individual. A cisgender person is not going to have the same experiences that a transgender or even non-binary person will have. Each factor has a chance of changing how the story is viewed.
Though my words and voice, I am being a beacon of permission by telling my stories. We normalize conversations be it about kink, sexuality, gender, and other topics. That in and of itself is radical activism. Because we are taking up space, we are showing others that they are not alone.
Being Vulnerable and Learning Balance
One thing that makes my writing hard, is being vulnerable. Especially with stories that come from a place in my past. They are heavy. Often when I write a piece that needs vulnerability, it means I am thinking hard about those heavy subjects. I have to take time to figure out, as Kate Sloan put it, “Is it navel-gazing or is this going to be helpful for someone.”.
Being vulnerable is taxing, you have to learn balance. Even with it being that I am mostly online, does not make it any less taxing. Learning that it is okay to step back and take the time you need when it comes to being vulnerable, is a lesson I am working on. It was actually good to hear Bex speaking about how “Self-care strategies are important when you’re telling personal stories.” It felt like words I needed to hear another writer say, to feel like I had permission in a way. Sort of harkening back to the being a “Beacon of Permission.”
When it came to the end of the workshop, I found the final question and the answers to be the most poignant to me. Each of the presenters had a different answer, but each one also felt once more just words I needed to hear. I wrote these notes with stars around them, wanting to make sure I got them right. Because they felt like words I needed to share with others.
“Keep good notes! Selfies, tweets, text messages, etc. and write what hurts, someone else will relate and shouldn’t be kept inside.” – Kate Sloan
“It can feel like everyone is already doing what you’re doing, but you’re going to bring a different facet to the work. There’s always room for more voices, especially from marginalized folks.” – Dirty Lola
“Listen as much as you talk.” – Kevin Patterson
Being able to sit in on this workshop was a check off my list since I followed tweets about when it was also a workshop at Playground. Thank you to my sponsors Early to Bed, Split Peaches, and Ignite Pleasure Products for helping me get Woodhull so that I could make it there.