You might have noticed that I made a couple of changes around here.
I resisted putting my photo online for a long time, and part of me still wishes that there was some magical way to avoid that. I wish I could stay in the part of the Internet where we have to judge each other only on our words, because there's no name or voice or body to let us shortcut our reason by saying "oh, of course - s/he's one of those." But that would mean never leaving my computer or going to any events ever, and I'm not willing to do that. So now you can enjoy me as I exist in carbon-world: as Yet Another Squishy White Woman. (And a damn fine example of the species, if I do say so myself. Shout-out to all my fellow SWWs!)
I resisted using my given name for similar reasons. It's hard to spell and pronounce and remember, for one thing. But more than that, I always felt like the scariness that is writing and inviting the whole world to read it almost requires some kind of spandex-clad second identity, so the slings and arrows of outraged readers fall not on Bruce Wayne, but on Batman. Because he can handle it. Because he's Batman.
Well, I've written what I've written, and I look the way I look, and I probably ought to get comfortable with owning all of that. (Though I'll take it as a favor if y'all still call me Tex.)
But I'm not gonna lie, you guys. I am scared out of my mind way more often than I'd like to be, and it's not just pre-publication jitters.
--I'm scared of putting my picture up, cuz I've seen what people do with them (especially if you're a gal who starts having unwelcome opinions.)
--I'm scared of using my real name, cuz I've also seen how clever the Internet can be in digging up your personal information and delivering the rape-and-death threats right to your doorstep.
--I'm scared of going to cons as anything but an attendee, because I've heard all the horror stories about creepers and stalkers, in addition to the more garden-variety "how 'bout you have a nice big glass of shut up and sit down, little lady" social misdemeanors.
--I'm scared of the regular old "your books suck, you suck, and you should probably just go die in a fire" reviews, comments, and hate mail that seem to be par for the course these days.
And you know what? I bet that is not a drop in the freaking ocean compared to the racism, ableism, and homophobia that I'll never have to deal with.
Anyway, none of this has actually happened yet. And when it does, it won't be anything that hasn't happened to hundreds and thousands of other people. It won't be anything that I didn't accept as a risk when I decided to get into this gig. After all, if you play outside long enough, sooner or later you're going to scrape your knee. For me personally, the thrill of the playground is worth the risk. And I'm incredibly lucky to have made it this far.
I guess mostly I'm just going to miss this version of me. The one who's never had a nasty encounter, who can go to cons all starry-eyed and bouncingly enthusiastic, who's never had to find out what does or doesn't qualify as justification for a restraining order or a harassment complaint. There's already so much "except for..." in my love for SFF fandom and Internet culture in general, and it's going to suck to have to add to that.
Well, here's to 2014: the year I get out there and get dirty. Bring it on.
Hold your head high, take a deep breath and sigh
Goodbye to Sandra Dee.