I am a very open person. I speak about performing in porn, being a sex worker, being a survivor, anxiety, having adhd depression, and c-ptsd. I came out the last year as non-binary and as things felt safer revealed I am intersex as well. I speak about being mixed race.
Being this open comes at a price. I am not a white cis girl with money, a degree, in my early 20s. I have a lot of privilege and support, but even as I am aware of this, so too I am aware of how much of my social capital is built on productivity and visibility as an activist.
If you don’t cultivate the respectability, nor have the money. Well then to the world you could be seen as a mad, lying, sketchy, “emo” hoe that is being a hot mess and wants attention. Who dates “crazy”? Who loves vocal crazy that asks for accountability. Who works with open about feelings crazy on social media? Who is friends with crazy, especially racialized femme crazy?
Well if you are reading, and you fuck with me, then you do.
I am an intense person. As much as I am also shy, incredibly driven, a loving friend (love y’all) and someone who is incredibly passionate about social justice… I never speak about some of the things that scare me to share.
I have and have lived with Bipolar Type Two since I was diagnosed at 16.
I am so scared in sharing this my transness, my being intersex, my trauma, my ability to do my work in organizing and otherwise will be questioned if not out right challenged. I am so scared but I need to open up because I don’t want to live with shame, fear, or this burden any longer.
I have had so much fear and shame around this diagnosis because I thought it meant I would never ever have a sustainable relationship, everyone would assume my symptoms were out of control, and it would discredit the organizing work I do and “brand” I am often encouraged to build.
I want to be seen as a very competent, hard working, engaged activist and community researcher/educator/student.
I want that I have always wanted that approval.
I want y’all to like me, and today I realized something after a really anxiety provoking text conversation with a friend where I felt like,
a. I was too intense. (was I? Does it really matter if I am not a perfect texter?)
b. I don’t know how to explain the discordance between what is being said and how I am interpreting it. I often live with so much fear, anxiety, and don’t trust myself.
c. Why do I experience this so often with everyone I want to impress or like friend, romantic or work.
Immediately I want to justify my thoughts by explaining that I am not always a jiggling ball of insecurity, fears and trying to seek love. I do sex work, and I have casual sexual experiences which don’t devolve into me wanting to cry rivers. I also have friendships that I feel really safe in. I do an incredible amount of important work. I work with a really amazing porn company, work with incredible activists collectively, I am a poet, and playwright, a writer, a yoga teacher with students I adore, a new burlesque performer and I am continuing to learn, grow, show up and stand tall.
That being said, I shouldn’t have to apologize for existing. I live with Bipolar Type two and a lot of trauma, that doesn’t mean I am “crazy” or a “mean”, “manipulative”, “unstable”, or “unreliable” person. I may need assurances and care but that doesn’t mean I am “clingy”, “scary” or undeserving of care.
It sucks that I can’t talk about it, or that there isn’t the means to work with having a “scary” mental illness in the workplace or around doing community organizing. Being “crazy” often is not respectable to be open about in doing porn or sex work because of all the negative stereotypes so much of the industry has internalized and just fucking respectability. I wish I could send respectability for a long and eye-opening vacation where it came back and apologized for being such an angry auntie shaming me all the time.
I realize that I have prioritized so much of volunteering, organizing, community building, friendships, relationships, and so much more because honestly I have felt that taking the time to heal.
I often feel completely unable to ask for the time, consideration, respect and care I deserve.
I have been working on this for some while, and even when making plans or speaking to people about what I need I feel filled with guilt. I am okay with a no, and I am pretty used to rejection.
It sucks, but my “crazy” has never manifested in me crossing boundaries since I was a teenager. I learned quickly that calling to much, texting too much, asking for too much, being too much could be interpreted as violating boundaries, being unsafe, and immediately being shamed to leave.
I am lucky, some folks with neurodiversity have a really shitty time with boundaries. I have had friends who have showed up at partners homes crying, and because of their mental illnesses and other intersecting positionalities of race, class, gender, transness, sex work, trauma, it allowed for them to be demonized without anyone looking critically at the situation.
It takes a lot of privilege, support and care to live well in this world, and if you are dealing with neurodiversity/mental illness it makes things really challenging and often painful. I am not saying people with trauma and/or neurodiversity can do no wrong, but often we are treated like all our behaviours are pathological and destructive. There is so rarely room to discuss differences, disability, and how to work as a community in sharing space and different lived experiences.
Looking back at these really normal texts, I realize something. People can let me know what they want and do not as well. I also need to trust them, but most importantly in communication and all areas of my life I need to trust myself. Trust that people will want me, want to stick around and even if they do not that I want me. I am acting in a way that I feel is honest, respectful, loving and mindful.
I often get teased for the amount of times I check in, and most often people have no idea its because I am trying to create the safety and communication needed for the both of us to set boundaries and feel safe to speak up.
I terrify me. The stereotypes about “crazy racialized femmes” used to bring me so much shame and I overcompensate at every turn. I hate being psychiatrized or pathologized because people that want to tell me about who I am always are not willing to see me as a human just like them.
I may just need to talk about feelings, consent, be really anxious about making plans and be working on trusting them. For all this, I try to carry this responsibility on my own and seek therapy to work on things. I really work to be emotionally responsible.
I wish people would understand my needs around my neurodiversity, but in demanding space and time for them I am doing powerful work.
Neurodiversity and disability in general doesn’t often have space created for us in community spaces. I often feel like I have to get with the program, and one day I will “get better”… well I feel like I am constantly growing and healing but I am never not going to be me. I also never will not be Bipolar.
I will post some info about what bipolar type 2 is and I am going to be trying to be more responsible for taking time to take care of myself.
If the only worth I have to people is when I am productive, well the activist work I am doing is pretty shitty and recreating so much of the same. People are placed on hierarchies based on productivity rather than community building and healing.
Loverships only based on how chill, easy and effortless fun and beautiful you are.
I often wish people would give me the chance and longevity in getting to know me in romantic relationships to see that once the anxiety passes I am a real life boring regular (awesome) person. I often wish that I could be really clear and direct about my needs in the workplace or in in organizing. I will be late sometimes, I will take a bit longer, but also I bring so much to the table. I am brilliant, hard working, innovative, creative, and when I have even a little support I make so much happen.
I am not simply persistent, I am relentless…I channel all that drive and passion into my work. Also, I sure can public speak. I am tireless at times, but I don’t want to work like I need to prove I am good enough to stay. I need to factor in my needs, my safety and as much I as gladly infiltrate spaces that have been traditionally ableist, sanist, racist, and femmephobic… I also need spaces and people that love me for who I am now.
So this was a bit of a ramble, but TL;DR version is: I have bipolar type 2, I am still the person you know and hopefully like (love?) but honestly I need to give myself the time to work with my diagnosis and continue to heal.