You cope your way, I’ll cope my way.
Twitter became my my primary hangout in 2006, and I’ve blogged less as a result. Having a locked account on Twitter gives me a degree of protection for the thoughts and ideas my employer might take issue with1 that I can’t get from having a blog on the open internet, especially after locking my account and being judicious about approving follower requests. But ever since Apartheid Clyde took over the company, I’ve been thinking I should write more.
The problem with writing more is I don’t actually like to write. Finding a focus and a flow is difficult, and more often than not, I don’t think I’m adding anything particularly insightful to the conversation. So… I don’t, but the crisis point that is the living, breathing Bond villain is forcing me to do things I don’t really want to do in a spirit of…resistance, I guess? 🤷🏾♀️
At any rate, here are a few unformed thoughts that have been flying around my head these last couple of days:
- Falling in love with the woman of my dreams has had the unexpected effect of making me want to connect to a community I’d felt cut off from while I was dating men. Many people have written about bi erasure in queer women’s spaces, and I don’t think I have anything new to add to that conversation. Suffice it to say that now, I really want to hang around other queer people, queer people of marginalized genders, especially.
- I’m not where I want to be professionally, but I think I can finally see a way of getting there. However, the public library way of applying to jobs has completely rendered obsolete my understanding of how to apply for tech jobs/private sector jobs. A bitch needs a portfolio, **stat**
- Culture changes are rarely possible without leadership changes.
- Nothing is perfect. Nothing can ever be perfect. The procrastination I’m feeling, the myriad ways I try to talk myself out of doing something that may make me _truly_ happy and possibly great is just noise. Drown it out. Let the wave of creativity take you wherever it wants to go. Have the courage to be who I am.
I hope you find something that brings you joy today.
- But only the tiniest amount, let’s not fool ourselves ↩
I’ve reached a few conclusions over the last few days, and I thought I’d share them with you:
- Sometimes, failure is just failure. There are no lessons to be learned, no unseen benefit to be found anywhere, it just flat-out sucks. And that’s okay.
- If your EDI committee doesn’t have support built in for the facilitators of your EDI efforts in your organization, find the money to make this happen. People will want to share their horror stories with the committee leads, and as a result, you are creating an unsustainable and unsafe environment for the people who want to drag your organization (kicking and screaming) into the future.
James Baldwin famously said “I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So I’m forced to be an optimist. I am forced to believe that we can survive, whatever we must survive.”
This quote has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about it in the context of professional success, the fulfilment we are expected to get from our work. The pessimist in me says that the situation in libraries — the conservatism, the unwillingness to make room for opinions from and the leadership of people who don’t toe the party line — will never change, and that speaks to the pessimist in me who looks at my work in libraries in a somewhat detached fashion, as if the circumstance I find myself in is immovable and hopeless.
But I’ve come to understand that nothing is truly hopeless, that progress is like an iceberg carving out a canyon in the landscape. You don’t see the iceberg move, but over eons, the after effect of those changes are clearly visible.
Optimism, as Baldwin frames it, is an active engagement with life and the issues. The act of struggle means that you are, whether you know it or not, striving for something better.
This willingness, this optimism is what pushes us forward when things seem most bleak. It’s a belief that even though I may not personally benefit from social or organizational changes that are more open and equitable, I believe that someone who comes behind me will, and that may well be enough to keep me motivated.
How can I begin to make and effect change for future generations? What is my legacy?
An idea has been going around in my head ever since the pandemic started. I’ve been thinking a great deal about gender, sexual orientation, and their connection to my identity, more-so than I ever have in my life. This feels significant as someone who was an angry, young queer activist. I won’t bore you with my thought processes (that may come at a later time), but the conclusions I’ve reached thus far are this:
- Gender is a myth and an utter fabrication, and any allegiance to it is completely nonsensical now. Yet, people can and do feel variably female, or male, or other, or both, or neither, and they can do so at any stage of their life because gender is a fabrication and like all fabrications, it can be dismantled;
That even though I have identified as straight, questioning, bisexual, lesbian, monogamous, married (but bisexual), the apex of a polyamorous V, and “just Cecily” at various points in my life, I have come to the realization that for me, queer is my political identity, but gay — no, not lesbian, GAY — is my sexual orientation. Do I still find men attractive? Yup. Would I slide into a dude’s DMs some night? Nope, not anymore. Besides, I’m done looking.
This may not be news to my close friends, but it felt like a big shift in my thinking. I believe in learning in public, and so… gestures at this whole blog
- While I owe a lot of my ideas/political awakenings to the community of second-wave lesbian feminists (especially since I’m old as dirt), I never felt like I was among their number. Queer always fit me better. “Dykey” was fine, but still not quite right unless I was feeling full of swagger, which was never, and; ↩
- Women who identify as lesbians are still an important part of the history and continued viability of the Alphabet Mafia, and I wish to GOD dyke bars would come back because I miss them more than I miss angel biscuits, which is a LOT. ↩
I promised myself that I’d do a deeper dive on my note-taking and study habits, so here’s a very quick brain dump on how I make sense of what I read.
Very large caveat: lately I have been seriously struggling. I get so bogged down in tools and methods (thanks, ADD brain ?) that I find it difficult to focus on anything else. Ironically, this impacts my ability to finish reading anything lately, so be wary of that. With that out of the way, behold:
My Note-Taking Workflow
- Take notes on everything you read. (More on this later)
- Take notes in your own words. Don’t just copy & paste from the text.
- Take the time to process your notes. A weekly review is a good strategy.
- Work toward building connections between concepts. This builds depth of knowledge.
- Once you feel that you have a good understanding of a concept, publish it someplace. It’s okay if you’re wrong, or if your thoughts change over time. Documenting your thoughts and ideas in this way helps you trace the development of your ideas, and helps you refine your ideas which furthers your understanding.
- Relax. Just start writing. Don’t worry so much about your tools or which platform(s) to use. A pen and a stack of index cards is how the Zettelkasten method got started, and it works just fine if that’s all you have access to. Ryder Carroll’s indexing and threading methods that he developed for his Bullet Journal system might also work well for this purpose, but I failed at keeping a bullet journal, so…
Is this helpful to you? Would you like more content like this? Please let me know in the comments, or on Twitter.