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Let Me Get This Straight…

So let me get this straight, just to recap:

Seriously, let me get this straight. We’re to feel bad for the weepy white woman with a gun because she had to wait for her food, and while she was waiting she got paranoid about people wanting to do her harm not for anything she’s done but for who she is? Hmm.

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I’m No Longer Apologizing for Being an Introvert

7:00 am EEST (GMT+3). This is the June 17 2020 daily proof of life post. Today’s big announcement is that I’m no longer apologizing for being an introvert. I’m not seeing any benefit to making other people comfortable with who I am.

I was always the quiet kid. It wasn’t that I lacked social skills, or didn’t know how to make friends. I’d rather be reading, or drawing, or making something than running amok with other kids. As an adult, I’m still quiet. You’re more likely to find me sitting off to one side, listening to other people talk, than engaging in conversation. I’ll gravitate to people that I know, rather than mingling.

There have been moments, personally and professionally, where I was more outgoing. Those were typically situations where I had a support system around me. I felt safe, and comfortable. Other times I was compelled to lead, because I believed in a causes. That doesn’t mean that interacting with people wasn’t exhausting. It was just where I chose to put my energy.

I’m Not Angry

For this relatively benign behavior, I have always been given labels. Men who aren’t smiling are automatically coded as angry. I’m not angry all the time. Sometimes I’m just lost in thought. A lot of the time I’m perfectly content, but my face doesn’t feel the need to share that with the world. Also, that’s what my face looks like.

But I get called antisocial. Unfriendly. Standoffish. Unapproachable. Curmudgeonly, grumpy, mean. I have, in the past, been marked down on performance reviews not for the quantity or quality of my work, but because I wasn’t “making the effort” to be cheerful and outgoing to coworkers. Even when that had no bearing on getting my work done.

Telling an introvert to be more outgoing is like telling a woman she needs to smile more. It’s not about a desire to cheer that person up, or make them happier. It’s about you wanting to be comfortable. As if it’s our job to assure you that everything is okay. We somehow bear a greater onus to be likable. Introverts owe you nothing. I am an introvert, I am comfortable in my own skin, and I’m not going to apologize for that any more.

I’m No Longer Apologizing for Being an Introvert

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What Happened in Albuquerque

I’ve been asked to comment on what happened in Albuquerque yesterday. Presumably because, as much as I hate the place, it’s the answer I give when asked where I’m “from”. It’s not where I was born, or where I grew up, but it’s where I spent a significant amount of my adult life. Albuquerque is also the last place I lived before moving to Finland, so in some legal sense it’s still my official “home”. Ugh.

What Happened in Albuquerque

As is happening all over the world, protesters tried to pull down a statue. This time, they were allegedly shot at by one or more militia members. No one died, but one person was seriously wounded and at least one person has been arrested.

When I told Katie this she just asked, “Oñate?”.

Yes, I said.

“Good,” she spat, with as much contempt as you’re likely to ever hear from such a sweet-natured person.

Who the Eff is Don Juan de Oñate?

Don Juan de Oñate was a right motherfucker and a conquistador, as if the terms aren’t interchangeable. When the area was being colonized by Spain, he was the governor. In 1599 the plan was to “relocate” the Acoma people to a village under Spanish control where they would be forced to be laborers. The Acoma people weren’t having it. When the Spanish soldiers arrived, the indigenous people killed 12 or 13 of them. This really pissed off Oñate, especially since his nephew was one of the soldiers killed.

So he marched a large force in. They killed around 500 Acoma men and about 300 women and children. Another 500 were taken as slaves, males between 12 and 25 and all females over 12. Oñate further ordered that all men over 25 have their right foot amputated.

When word got back to Spain about what Oñate had done, King Philip was appalled. Oñate was banished from the New World and recalled to Spain, where he lived out the rest of his life.

There are statues of this asshole all over the state of New Mexico.

10% of New Mexico’s population is native. There are 23 tribes in the state. Imagine being native and growing up having to look at this bullshit. Yeah. Just for the hell of it, I’ll throw in the fact that 31% of the COVID-19 cases in the state are from that 10% of the population, just so you maybe think that these problems went away 400 years ago when Oñate left.

But What Happened in Albuquerque?

So, in Old Town Albuquerque there is (well, was) as statue of Oñate outside the Albuquerque Museum. Katie and I have been there many times. I always joked that it looks like he was gazing up the street at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, because he felt kinship with the dinosaurs. A bunch of Black Lives Matter protesters decided that it was well past time for this monument to atrocity to go. I saw the video. There was a rope around him, and a bunch of people pulling and chanting. One guy had a pick axe and was chipping away at the rock was anchored to. Then shots were fired.

This part is confusing, the facts aren’t in, but it all makes perfect sense to me. Reportedly there were armed members of a local militia group, New Mexico Civil Guard, at the protest. Five or six guys wearing military fatigues, you’ve seen the general type all over the news lately. They had apparently been trying to protect the statue. As I said, this all makes sense. These are the sort of right-wing white supremacists that “protect” the border, so naturally they’d identify with a brutal conquistador.

You Want To Try Whataboutism, But Don’t

Anyway, the “Civil Guard”, like many militia groups, allegedly have ties to law enforcement. Shocking, I know. It’s been reported that the guy that got taken down by the Albuquerque Police was yelling that he father is a deputy for the county sheriff’s department. As if that gave him a pass, or entitled him  to special treatment, or made shooting protesters okay. I know, I can hear “but vandalism” and fuck you that’s a misdemeanor not a death penalty case, and militia members haven’t been appointed judge, jury, and executioner yet.

Of course the police responded by using tear gas and flashbangs to disperse the protesters, while they calmly disarmed and arrested the alleged militia members.

Around the state statues of Oñate, including the one in front of the Albuquerque Museum, are being taken down.

Anyway, I really don’t have anything to add other than I left there for a reason. There are cool things there, I have friends that I love who are still there, but between the heat, the violence, and the racism, it’s basically a little slice of Hell on Earth.

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Dealing with Mixed Messages as a Creator

7:00 am EEST (GMT+3). This is the June 16 2020 daily proof of life post. Today I want to talk about the mixed messages that creators receive. It’s a difficult subject because so many people, even other creators, just don’t get it.

Last week my wife Katie posted that the disconnect between social likes and actual sales of her work is causing her emotional pain. She prefaced this by saying that she understands that there’s a pandemic on, there are people protesting far more important issues, and the world is in the midst of an economic downturn. The post ends with a clear indication that she’s not asking for anything, she only needed to vent and talk about the distress she’s in.

Having a lot of people click like, and leave positive comments, is a wonderful thing. She stated that she’s grateful for that. When paired with a lack of sales, though, it creates a mixed message. As her number of followers and the amount of feedback she gets has gone up, her sales have gone down. It makes her wonder if people genuinely like her work, or if they’re just being nice. She’s left doubting her own abilities, questioning why she creates art, and recognizing that she needs to step away from social media for a while.

The responses that she got don’t surprise me. Most people reacted defensively. They explained why they don’t buy her artwork, as if they were being attacked. A moderate amount of guilt was piled onto her, reiterating the current economic situation and that most creators are in the same boat. All of which misses the point.

Not the Money

I’m personally not surprised that the ability of humans to take a person saying “I’m in pain” and turn it around to make it about them. Only a few people recognized that it was about the mixed message, not the money. It was about her feelings, not the money. The issue is the dissonance of being told you’re good, while at the same time not being able to reap any of the benefits that are supposed to come with that.

There were people who thought what she was saying was they she was no longer going to make art. I guess to the social media hordes, not seeing a thing is the same as it not existing. What she said was, she’s going to stop posting pictures of her art. Cutting off the likes and comments ends the dissonance, in the same way that a boost in sales would. Again, she’s not asking for sales, she’s solving for the problem of the mixed messages and the pain they’re causing her.

The thing that pissed me off, personally, were the number of people telling her to keep going. She said “doing this causes me pain.” She said “I need to step back, stop posting my art, and regroup”. And the response was “keep posting your art”.

This, my friends, is why I’m a hermit.

Dealing with Mixed Messages as a Creator

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The Philosophy of the Summer Schedule

7:00 am EEST (GMT+3). This is the June 15 2020 daily proof of life post. Today I want to talk about my summer schedule for this blog. There’s a lot to unpack regarding the decisions I’ve made and what went into them, so they will likely be follow-up posts over the next several days.

Here’s the tl;dr for you:
  • There will be one blog post here per day, 7 days a week.
  • All zines are cancelled.
  • Minimalist mantra: get rid of what you don’t need to make space for what you do.
  • Personal mantra: How is this helping?
Focus on Outcomes

I want to write things other than tabletop roleplaying. My past logic was that I enjoy blogging, and I enjoy zines, so maybe I could make a run at somehow monetizing those. Blog posts could be compiled into zine, which could be sold.

Except the zines, reality check, don’t sell. In the past 6 weeks I have had one sale, for a whopping 99 cents, on Gumroad. As for the blog,  two different marketing firms approached me during May. They both promised to help with partnerships and sponsored content. Both of those deals fell through. The bills continue to be paid with tabletop roleplaying.

How is this blog helping me, then? It’s my substitute for social media. This is a safe, non-toxic way to connect to the world. It aids my mental health. To gain that benefit, I only need to make one post a day. All of the other ranting can get channeled into the novel. No one’s probably going to read that, either, but at least I find it creatively fulfilling.

With those frustrations out of the way, I have more time to read. Which improves my writing, for all manner of reasons. There’s more time to spend time on the novel. So that’s the recalibration. I’ll see how this works an tweak it. At the end of August I’ll look at where things are at, because what even is this world we live in anymore, and change things again for the autumn.

The Philosophy of the Summer Schedule

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