My Impulse to Educate and Growing To Understand My Limits

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I felt the need to write a bit of a clarification of my previous post because I realized that I didn’t quite make one aspect of what I was saying clear. I’ve been blogging since I was a teenager and having a blog like this really brings me back to the original roots of my online presence. When I was a queer teenage blogger, I would often write in a tone that, of course, was autobiographical, but had a conclusion that portrayed a lesson learned or an acknowledgement of growth. Towards the end of High School and the start of College, I was very invested in “Queer Theory” and as I learned more about it, I wanted to teach the (few) readers that I had about it as well. Ever since I was a bossy little kid with a chalkboard and a pointing stick, I’ve always enjoyed the idea of being an educator. So sharing and teaching is in my nature. It’s my default.

People are often shocked by how often I entertain foolishness on my platform and the amount of time I devote to having the same conversations over and over and over again. You have to understand, I work from home and I am in front of my computer all day long. Literally everything I do requires a computer from my work as a Youtuber, to my work as an illustrator to my work as an Animator. I’m here all day long and often times these conversations are distractions. People have seen me get into lengthy conversations on both Facebook and Tumblr about racism and is there value in those discussions? Absolutely. However, often times, the same conversation will come up again within the day and we’re back and square one. Because I work from home, have no set hours and don’t often move from my seat, It’s very easy for me to get enveloped in these conversations. Conversations most people would shrug off and dismiss feel heavier and more intense to me. So I often find myself diving into these conversations and not quite being able to stop. Again, I realize a lot of people get things out of me dragging Rebbecca into the light, but sometimes Rebecca doesn’t want to listen and isn’t actually interested in the conversation at hand.

What I do for a living, in so many ways is educate. I didn’t go to school for that so there’s a lot about it that I’m figuring out as I go. What I’m learning is that not everyone can be educated and that is largely what I’m communicating in my previous post. That sometimes these conversations just aren’t worth it. A white person can have a conversation about racism like a game that’s being played because at the end of the day, this is a conversation they’re having online. It’s entertainment, it’s not life or death. It’s fun. These conversations feel heavier to me because I’m impacted by them. So ultimately, I feel like being aware of who’s in this conversation to learn and who isn’t is important to me. I get so many emails from white people on my page who were genuinely shocked by my page, but then after a period of time… got it. This is one of the comments on my page right now:

“Kat, Some of the things you post make me uncomfortable. I wanted to unfollow you. I’m glad I didn’t. I NEED to be uncomfortable. I need to learn about these issues. You are opening my eyes. Thanks.”

To be honest, these are most of the messages that I get. Sure, I get a lot of really angry racist messages, but the vast majority of them are from white people who felt accosted by my page but are glad that they stuck around. Frankly, I like that they were able to overcome their discomfort and get to the other side. When I talk about people I should be spending my time on, I’m talking about those people. Because some people are open to these conversations and some people just simply never will be no matter how simplistically you package it.  I always say that if your allyship is comfortable, then it’s not worth shit. Actually deprogramming some of the hurtful oppressive stuff you were raised to internalize is really hard and upsetting. Trust me, in so many different issues I’m still doing that. It’s natural to be defensive and to want to push it all aside to say “but that’s not what I meant”, but it doesn’t matter what you meant and that’s something I’ve had to learn about my own privilege and I think it’s harder for most white people to do that when it comes to white supremacy because it’s such an intrinsic aspect of our culture.

Right now I’m in a sort of really exciting, uncomfortable, scary place in my social media career. I have tens of thousands of people watching me so closely that I feel uneasy posting pictures of the food I’m eating without causing controversy. I am learning as I go how to manage these platforms and how not to stretch myself too thin.  Anyone who’s ever worked from home knows that if you’re going to do that, you’ve gotta work hard. It’s not easy and I’m definitely in the phase of my career where I’m hustling. I’ve been hustling for the past year and it’s paid off and will continue to pay off. So many things are coming to me and I’ve getting so many fun business opportunities every day. what I don’t need to do is continue to have these lengthy conversations with people who don’t care after I’ve already researched, written, filmed, produced, captioned and illustrated a video about it. I’ll be honest and say that with a lot of the stuff happening to me right now, I’ve put off responding to business emails and likely lost jobs because of it; but you best believe that Rebecca got a 4 page paper about how cultural appropriation is wrong and she still doesn’t get it and my money is still funny.

What I’m really having to learn more and more is that I need time for myself. Self Care is something I am honestly so bad at because I enjoy my job. My job is fun. It’s how I’ve entertained myself since childhood and now it’s what I do for a living. I don’t really have hobbies and while I love video games, I still haven’t played a game on that Wii U my boyfriend purchased for me last year. Because I am constantly working. Constantly writing a new script or shooting a new video. I am always working and I never stop. I’d love to act like it hasn’t paid off, but frankly it has and it’s continuing to pay off. I can’t even justify taking time off because I don’t work a job where taking time off is really all that feasible. I gotta work hard to keep this going and to keep being able to do this full time. At the same time though, I really do need to find a healthy balance. To me, making the commitment to myself to stop entertaining white ignorance after spending days and days editing and writing and filming videos tailored to them is part of that. They get enough of my time and my energy, I don’t need to give them more. I’m overjoyed that I’ve helped people, but I have to help myself. I have to start going outside and thinking more about getting out form behind this computer. I gotta learn to love myself enough to switch off my impulse to educate complete strangers. I have to make more of a commitment to self care.

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One thought on “My Impulse to Educate and Growing To Understand My Limits

  1. Self-care is so important. And if these conversations with ignorant white people are actually costing you paid business in addition to your health and peace of mind, then it’s time to cut your losses. Yes, many white people who don’t comment are learning things from these conversations, but you’re not required to spend all day replying and screenshotting micro-aggressions in order to educate them. Your needs come first.

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