Thanks to this blog and many other activities, my profile is a rising in the world. I've received invitations to events I never thought I was entitled to attend - kinda like being a tattered Cinderella waiting for the invitation to the feminist ball - and requests for appearances I only once joked of having. Some of my chosen family members like to lavish me with compliments, that I'm reaping what I have sown for all these years and that I should stand tall.
My problem is that I never learned to stand tall. One problem with moving from this flat text world into a world of flesh, whether it is on the radio, TV or in person is that I lose some of my VIVA in the translation. Yes, I'm a fairly spunky chick, but mostly in the company of my trusted family members. And even then I get ribbed that I'm too much like a closed book, too guarded.
I also realize that sometimes this guardedness comes off poorly. Believe me, my hesitation to jump into conversations isn't because I feel like they are beneath me, it's rather that I feel like I don't have much to add. With writing, I can take my time if I want. Look up facts before writing them down AND link to my source. In a conversation, I can't do that. And that scares the shit out of me.
I'm also still working on feeling comfortable in my own skin. Something happened after having my daughter, where I guess I embraced that power of being able to birth a human being and I took a big leap forward. It didn't hurt that I also lost a good chunk of weight. But in the last year or so (perhaps with the gaining of a few pounds) I feel like I lost a bit of swagger and just when I need it the most. The increased attention doesn't help, but I refuse to be a hermit and only exist here on your screen.
It's a funny thing this thing called doubt. It makes me forget my goals some days. About a month ago my work place sent out a note alerting my colleagues that I was quoted on Salon.com. I got a good number of emails saying congrats. I mentioned to a former classmate (funny how so many of us stick around) that I was feeling weird about having so much media attention in such a short span of time. We had class together about 6 years ago and I remember this because we sometimes laugh at how freaking pregnant I was! But she wrote back and said, "But isn't this all in your plan?" And I just sat there, looked at my screen and thought, "Um, yeah! It gawd damn is! Idiot! (use Ren's voice)" I wrote her back and thanked her for the reminder.
I feel like my life is splitting apart, but rather I think it's swirling together like a tasty soft serve cone. My opinion writing and punditry is merging into my academic world. Sometimes I take positions that don't directly relate to my academic work - at least not in ways most people see things - and I need to know it's ok. My boss and coworkers are being super supportive of all of this. They don't see me, as far as I know, as a diva or media hog. In fact the more I get "out there" the more I push them to join me.
It's hard being an outspoken feminist. Feathers are bound to be ruffled in and out of our community. Being an outspoken feminist in Chicago can be tough when one doesn't tow the machine line. But if y'all just stand by me, I promise that I'll find my footing and we'll have one hell of an adventure.