For a long time, I’ve wanted to stop being a “social justice blog”. I’ve wanted to turn this into just Kiri’s blog about Kiri’s thoughts and also some reblogs of stuff Kiri likes. Yet as more and more people link to me as a “badass SJ blogger”, or as a “MAAB trans* blogger you should be reading”, I feel more and more pressured to perform according to people’s (sometimes mutually contradictory) expectations. And I wish I didn’t feel like I had to. Again, it’s not that I don’t care; it’s that… well, this really isn’t what I want this blog to be.
And you know what, that goddamned donation button isn’t helping any. I mean, I know that, contrary to certain people’s opinions, receiving donations does not set up an employment relationship. You can’t fire me; you can’t control what I write. I don’t work for you. Yet, nonetheless, I feel the need to “earn” the donations I’ve received, even though that’s a contradiction in terms (you can’t “earn” gifts). And from a coldly pragmatic perspective (which is often necessary when you’re poor), the more readers I have, the more donations I’m likely to get, so performing esjay for the Internet has literally made it easier for me to survive.
But the longer it goes on, the more I question whether it’s worth it. Is it fair to any of my readers to give them anything other than one-hundred-percent genuine Kiri? I really have to apologize for this, I think. I started to transition because my integrity was, ultimately, more important to me than my safety or even my life. Shouldn’t I transfer that principle here as well? I’m gonna let a lot of people down if I do, yeah, but I hardly think it’ll be the end of the world; there are scores of far better esjay writers than me.
I dunno. Thoughts?
It is hard to avoid the chain of thoughts that connect money and owing something together, but you might think of it this way: if someone goes to Burger King, no amount of money handed over the counter is going to produce a pizza. They’ve gone to a burger place. If somebody throws money into a street fiddler’s case, they can’t get a saxophone tune.
Even if somebody’s giving you money with some expectation attached (and I’d hazard that most people really didn’t, except the expectation that you’d use the money as you need to), you can’t become a pizza place or a saxophone player for them if that’s not who you are, and it’s not on you if they’re disappointed by that.
Ooh, I love that analogy. Thanks for helping me clarify my thoughts. :)
My two cents re: performative SJ.
It’s a really easy trap to fall into. My rule of thumb–with everything really, not just “essjay”–tends to be: if I’m repeating the same things over and over with no advancement in my knowledge or thought process, then I have stagnated and need to move on. Sometimes repetition is necessary, especially when I’m internalizing a new concept, but once my thinking becomes dogmatic and circular that’s when it’s time to expand into new intellectual territory. I don’t want to cite prewritten verses like a soundbox or limit my vocabulary to a small set of words and concepts. That isn’t empowering to me, instead it sets up a learned helplessness. I want to actively engage and expand my understanding of the world while doing whatever I can to empower myself. If other people don’t want to come along for the ride, that’s their choice and it’s perfectly fine. Everybody’s journey is different.
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