This is really not my week.
I am going to try not to be super specific so if this comes across kinda vague yeah.
So to start my week I was invited to participate in a sooper sekrit speshul invite only writing group.
So on going to said writing group and following their rule of posting 1-2 polished works, I checked out the other writers.
There was one other woman who wasn’t active and a whole lot of White men.
So I posted links to this and this and as per instructed waited for my “critiques”. I did not mention that the second piece was nominated for a Pushcart thingy, I did not mention really anything about myself.
My “critiques” were pretty much that I should write about White people (“normal”) and that my Lesbian narrator from the first story wasn’t “sexy” (mainstream porno lesbian for straight dudes basically).
Not one word about craft, no suggestions where lines could have been tightened up. It was a long thread about how “off putting” and totally not racist it is to expect that I a Black Queer Author should keep things White n Right.
I did not comment I pm’d the moderator/the person who invited me and expressed my discomfort and judging from other threads I did not want to turn shit political because that is not what I was there for and I am kind of at political saturation.
The response was to tell me not to be so sensitive and that I should be “professional” and take the critiques and say thanks. There was also mention of the race card, social justice having a place and time and writing for a “broad audience”.
I deleted my original post and left the group without a word.
Then I got a message on facebooks from a rando dude type who mentioned being interested in my work. I said thank you and accepted the friend request (I don’t have an actual author page and accept most requests) so lalalala new fb friend lala.
Today I woke up to two messages one saying Hi Ms. Barber (always a bad sign) followed by a fucking unwanted and unasked for dick picture.
I responded by saying a.) fuck off and b.) I’m reporting you. Before I could figure out how to block and report there was another message telling me how much he “loves and respects Black Women” and he “Didn’t mean it”.
I finally got his ass blocked and reported to facebook. By the time I got to work his page was gone. Lucky for him I guess because I had intended on putting his ass on blast all over social media.
I was hoping nothing else would happen today and planned on doing some stuff.
THEN i get a very long email from an etsy customer who is very very angry at me.
She purchased my essay about why I don’t identify as a feminist a couple of weeks ago and apparently just read it this morning. She had also purchased a few other things.
So in this note she lost her shit because not “all” white feminists “are that way” and there’s no such thing as Black and White feminists, about how she “used” to be such a huge fan and was rooting for me.
Now she will never read my work again, which is fine it’s obviously not for her anyway. And demanded I return her two dollars which I did.
All this combined with last night spending about an hour screening and deleting racist messages across my social media accounts and everything right now I just feel so down.
I feel some type of way about all this.
I mean that writing group thing.
Of the authors in the group, I was among the mot widely published. I have experience, I have insights but I don’t write for White dudes so I’m not good?
I feel a lot of things and they all mush up into fatigue and dismay.
It makes me wonder that regardless of how hard I work, how good my shit may be, this is just going to keep happening.
I have decreased how much I engage with these things but that does not protect me from shit.
This is why I talk about Black women have no safe space.
This kind of stress and fatigue makes it really hard for me to work on my Self Care book because I don’t want all this badness to infect it.
So I am going to try and hide out.
Listen to music and play with some other stories that White people will probably tell me are terrible because they are outside of Whiteness. I will strengthen myself from that. I will read some good poetry and listen to it on youtube.
I am going to protect myself as best I can because I have to.
I have to survive.
I have to write.
If I don’ write these stories who will?