Mediocre Confidence

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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January 31, 2016

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One of the things that always hits me the week or so after I get back from a convention is a kind of emotional fragility. This week and a bit after ConFusion has been no different; I’m actively trying to brainstorm strategies I can use to make myself more resilient in the future because, wow, it sucks.

But in the meantime, I’m thinking about confidence and how hard it is for me to have it.

I’ve done a lot of work over the past few years. I’ve written about nearly every single controversy within science fiction/fantasy fandom–broken more than my fair share of stories, in fact–and time and again, people take my work and choose not to give me credit. Sometimes it’s a case of parallel evolution, but other times, it’s clear that without my work, they wouldn’t have a foundation to build upon.

Do you know what happens when I point this out?

Accusations of whining, of attention seeking, of wanting more traffic sent to my blog, ignored, and generally mocked. Then there was the time I talked to a reporter and she used information I gave her in my article–information which was critical, incidentally–but didn’t actually mention who told her about that information. Good times.

These are all silencing tactics. And yeah, I’m bitter and angry. I think I’m allowed to be. All these things are pernicious and shitty and I am so tired of people who constantly build themselves up at the expense of others. At my expense.

I don’t get paid for this work. I don’t get paid for dealing with any of the shit that comes with being an opinionated woman in public.

These things fuck with my head and often make it difficult to continue–why should I bother saying anything if someone who has access to a larger platform than I do is just going to step over me while they repeat my words? While knowing that if I speak up, chances are good the response will be, “Who the hell do you think you are?”–because that’s nearly always been the response.

I know I’m not the only one who experiences this phenomenon, but I think I may be one of the only ones who experiences it repeatedly. It is beyond frustrating.

There aren’t any easy solutions. I wish there were.

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