Today’s Blogtember prompt is: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.
I don’t feel any particular connection to my country and I don’t think there’s much about family I could talk about that defines me. So I’m going to tell you some things that I think will help you understand me or know me better.
This is the most personal, longest post I’ve made since I moved blogs, so I really hope it doesn’t go over too badly! Also, it is by no means required reading, but I’ll definitely appreciate it if you do read — and sorry about all the long paragraphs. I kind of let loose in here. I blame my Internet for being down for two hours.
A Few Things You Should Know About Me
By Lix Hewett, Age 23 And Three Quarters
1. I am an intersectional feminist, and outspoken about it. That means I care about equality and rights for all people, not just straight, able-bodied, white cis women, and I will call you out if you say something offensive or ignorant. I will also unfollow you if you fuck up one too many times and/or react poorly to being called out on it. Here is an example of what I consider fucking up:
Labeling women ‘sluts’ or ‘whores’ for dressing in a way you consider “inappropriate” or “not covered up enough,” choosing to sleep with what you consider to be “too many” people, being open about their sexuality, or, frankly, any reason at all. There is no such thing as a slut. It is a myth, and it is a harmful one that perpetuates rape culture. Erase it from your vocabulary.
Also erase any insults whose power comes from the shaming and insulting of women, girls, and femininity: bitch, cunt, pussy, “crying like a girl,” “obsessed/immature/type like a twelve-year-old girl,” the works. I see the reasoning behind reclaiming these words, but I have no way of knowing if you’re using them that way or using the wrong way, and so I will inevitably side-eye you. I am comfortable with that.
I will also side-eye you and ask you to stop using ableist words (e.g. ‘lame’), racist words (e.g. ‘ghetto’), homophobic words, transphobic words. I will side-eye you if you judge people for their weight. That includes telling a thin woman, “Oh, like you eat carbs.” I will call you out if you have harmful opinions about mental illness. I will side-eye you and ask you to stop perpetuating any stereotypes, positive or negative. All stereotypes are harmful. I will side-eye you and sometimes (depending on my spoons [see 7]) call you out on appropriating other cultures (e.g. Native American headdresses if you’re not Native American, Day of the Dead gear if you’re not Mexican, dressing up as people of color in general and using their skin color and other race-related features as props, etc.).
When calling people out on being discriminatory against groups I am not a part of, I prefer to defer to their words and link you to articles on the subject written by people who are part of those groups. I feel comfortable talking at length about sexism (as a woman), mental ableism (as a person with an anxiety disorder) and biphobia (as someone who identifies as pansexual), but when it comes to everything else, I’m not the right person to talk, so I’ll shut up and listen to those who are.
When calling people out in general, I don’t expect much. All I want is for them to listen, perhaps apologize (“I’m sorry for doing this thing,” not “I’m sorry if you felt that way” — the latter is not an apology, and recognizes no wrong behavior on your part; in fact, you’re basically blaming the other person, usually faulting them for being “too sensitive,” which is not a thing), and try not to do it again in the future.
In turn, if I fuck up and you let me know, I will listen, apologize, and try not to do it again in the future.
2. Besides social rights, I’m also really outspoken and passionate about reproductive rights and welfare. I lean pretty far to the left on the political spectrum in general. When it comes to repro rights, I simply believe a woman’s life and rights to her own body are more important than an unborn fetus. I could talk about this at length, but I’ll refrain. I’ll just tell you someone (a pro-lifer) once compared pro-lifers to slavery abolitioners, and I laughed for five minutes straight. Look, honestly, if you genuinely believe the law should get in the way of abortion, you’re basically saying female bodies are disposable and should be controlled by the government. That is bullshit, and the laws some people try to pass in order to make their “pro-life” principles are reality are as anti-life as it gets. Charging doctors for murder for performing an abortion? Allowing them to lie to uterus-having people about the health risks and issues during the pregnancy to avoid them having an abortion that could save their life? Are you kidding me?
As for welfare, well, I live on it. My family has lived on unemployment welfare for about two years now, and it’s not something I feel embarrassed or in any way guilty about. Everyone deserves to have a decent quality of life, and the way money works — the enormous gaps in wages and total lack of proportion between work done and money earned — takes all the credibility out of the ‘I work hard, so should you’ mentality. Not to mention it’s ableist as hell. For some people, getting out of bed in the morning is a world of work. For some people, finding a job is a world of work. That doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t help them along. And that doesn’t mean those people owe the people who help them along endless gratitude, or that they should be made to feel small.
This is actually, to make it blog-related, why I much prefer percentage fees on money earned to flat rates. Indiegogo does this, Etsy (sort of) does this (I wish they’d get rid of the listing fee), eBay (mostly) does it. The whole ‘we don’t want to be greedy and earn more the more you earn’ thing Passion Fruit has going makes my blood boil. It’s a very diorama-scope version of charging people the same taxes no matter how much they earn — effectively taking 80% of someone’s money who needs it for their livelihood and only 5% of someone’s who could easily coast on 20% of their income. Total bullshit! And now we’re going to move on from politics, though I highly doubt anyone got this far.
3. Wait, one more thing: I’m an atheist. I have agnostic moments. I was raised Catholic, though non-practicing for the most part — was baptized and got my first communion. I have mostly negative feelings about organized religion, but I also believe in freedom of religion and freedom of worship. I do, however, think there are ways of saying you’re a Christian without sounding like you’re in a cult, and calling yourself a “Jesus lover” or “Jesus fanatic” is not one of them. Sorry! Also, I will judge you if you judge other people for not sharing your religious beliefs or tell them they’ll go to hell for being gay/sexually active/promiscuous/dressed skimpily/agnostic/suicidal, and if you shove Bible quotes into political debates.
4. I have a background as a fairly prolific amateur writer, poet and editor. Yes, I will proofread your essays, posts, etc., for a fee. No, I will not judge you for any errors in grammar, spelling, etc. Not everyone has access to or time and resources to achieve a high-level education (the second time I dropped out of college, it was because I couldn’t afford tuition), and English is not everyone’s first language (see 5). I love good grammar and spelling and punctuation (in the linguistics area, my love for punctuation is only surpassed by my love for etymology) but I only require them of books, which have editors who are supposed to be qualified to make sure the work they put out into the world meets a standard of readability.
5. English: not my first language. My first language is Spanish. My parents and sister and close family can only speak Spanish. I taught myself English when I was in my teens — or rather the Internet, and more specifically fandom (see 6), taught me. I took half a semester of German in college, half a semester of Italian at the official national languages school, six years of French in high school, and two years each of ancient Greek and Latin in high school. I can translate Greek and Latin with a dictionary, read French, and speak none of the above.
I am also self-taught as a writer, poet, editor, photographer, fashion designer, seamstress, graphic designer, guitar player, and just about anything I do.
6. Fandom: my support system, how I met so many of my best friends, a fantastic, joyful hobby. When it comes to fandom, I’m into live action Western media (mainly TV) and I’m fanfic-focused. I don’t write much these days, but I read, and I’ve written a lot in the past. In case you’re wondering, I have read and written sex scenes, and a lot of romance, tame and otherwise. I have also written adventure stories, friendship stories, that one novel-length story about a version of Pretty Little Liars where vampires were a thing. (I’m really fond of that story.) I am fully comfortable admitting this and even though my blog and business accounts are not directly connected to my fannish spaces, I won’t hesitate to share them if asked.
Fandom is awesome, and there is nothing shameful or wrong about it. Fandom has taught me so much about so many things. Fandom is not perfect by any means, and there are people who are terrible and people who don’t realize they’re terrible and people who need to take a step back and get a reality check (people who are convinced certain real people are together based on wild speculation, for instance… which applies to many people who read tabloids, too), but that’s not what fandom as a whole is. That’s a small part. There are bad apples everywhere. Whatever things — good or bad — you’ve heard about fandom, they probably only apply to a tiny percentage of it. Anything — good or bad — you’ve heard about fanfic, it probably applies to published literature too. Besides, newsflash: a lot of published literature is fanfic. The only difference is the author of the original work is (probably) dead… and the author of the derivative work probably thinks he’s really smart. (Also, is probably a dude.)
7. I suffer from anxiety and I take meds for it: paroxetine as a daily treatment, and lorazepam for special occasions (i.e. panic attacks and anxiety fits). I’ve tried yoga and breathing exercises and meds is the only thing I’m capable of sticking with. There’s probably depression somewhere in there, too, but I’ve never been diagnosed. I went to a psychiatrist once and she was really terse, and I went to a psychologist and he was an asshole. (Though his potential diagnosis that I had Asperger’s — and only that one — rang pretty close to the truth.) I’d like to try therapy, but I don’t have the means to choose a therapist, so I haven’t.
The spoon thing — well, if I mention spoons and I’m not talking about kitchens or recipes, I’m probably making use of the spoon theory. You can read about it here.
8. I identify as a (cisgender) woman and my sexual orientation is pansexuality. That means I’m attracted to people regardless of gender. I have no romantic or sexual experience with other people whatsoever. None. Not even held hands. I am okay with this! I still know who I’m attracted to and how, and I’m 100% sincere and comfortable I’m telling the truth when I label myself pansexual. Anyway, if you tell someone they can’t know they’re [insert orientation other than straight] because they haven’t had any experiences with people of the opposite gender, you’re an asshole. They don’t owe you any information or explanation, and also when did you know you were straight? How do you know you’re not attracted to your own gender?
9. I’m also an abuse survivor and this colors some of my beliefs and behavior. When I say abuse, I mean child abuse (psychological, semi-physical and, in the past and still now with my sister, actually physical), and when I say survivor, I mean I acknowledge and take control of my going through this (I am not a victim), but I don’t mean it’s in the past. I still live with my father, and he’s yet to show any signs of getting any better or acknowledging that he’s abusive or has been abusive before (us being me, my mom and my 17-year-old sister), so it’s still a thing that’s ongoing. I tweet about it sometimes. I think it’s important to speak up, because there’s still a stigma on being an abuse survivor — like there is on having any sort of mental illness — and since I’m someone who does not feel ashamed of either this or my anxiety, I feel I’m in a good place to try and kill that stigma. I just think, well, maybe someone who’s going through something similar will see my tweets and feel less alone, or feel like it’s not their fault, or feel less like they should be embarrassed to speak up about their situation, or realize it’s okay to talk about it, or be it, or use medication, or not use medication, regardless of what other people have told them. That none of it reflects badly on them as a person and much of it can empower them — but if it doesn’t, that’s also okay. They don’t owe anyone anything.
So that’s why I talk about personal things and sometimes make people feel uncomfortable. It’s a more than fair trade, isn’t it?
10. To end on a positive note, I have a shop on Etsy! It’s Lix Hewett Photography and I sell prints of — you guessed it — my photography, as well as cards and phone cases featuring it. I’m working on opening a second shop for my graphic design work, and I’m planning a photo-printed fashion line of handmade, designed-by-me fabric items, which I’m hoping to launch this October. My social anxiety in addition to the unemployment rate in my country have made it pretty hard for me to have a standard job, so I’m having a go of profiting from my creative pursuits. It’s slow-going, but I’m hopeful. I appreciate all support!
If you read this far and didn’t run in the other direction, hi! I am really happy you’re here. I could talk about all of these things longer and more in depth — there is so much to say about all of them, as I’m sure you know. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them — all I require is that you be respectful and genuinely wanting to engage in a conversation. I will happily mark you as spam if you troll. My blog, my mental health, my rules! \o/