I just realized why I’m feeling so tired. There was a week in 2009 where I wrote something publicly about race and science fiction on John Scalzi‘s blog, Whatever, during the whole RaceFail thing. I made a commitment to respond thoroughly and patiently to every single comment, and there were oh, a thousand or so of them, so it took most of a week. I went to bed, reading comments and responding. I woke up, reading comments and responding.
Kevin ended up doing a lot of infant/toddler child care that week so that I could hunch over the computer, trying to calm my emotions and blood pressure enough to respond reasonably to people (except for the most awful people who hurled slurs at me — those I could safely ignore because Scalzi was also monitoring the whole thing and immediately deleted / banned the worst of it). I think I did some good back then; I hope so.
I haven’t written anything big and public about the #metoo issues, but even keeping up with the conversation is draining and upsetting, as I’m sure many of you are feeling too. And posting on Facebook the smaller things I’ve written takes some emotional fortitude. It also takes time to try and get it right, try to phrase things as clearly as I can, so they won’t be misconstrued (and always, inevitably, they are sometimes misconstrued anyway, and so there’s some more time and energy trying to manage the fallout of that).
And sometimes I just get things wrong, and have to walk back to a better position, and that’s tiring too. Learning is hard work, as my students will attest.
Just — wanted to acknowledge the emotional labor of it all, the time and energy it is costing us. I think that we’re all learning something here. And given the huge horrible poisonous problem that we’re all living with, the problem that is already costing us dearly, it is, of course, great that we are taking some steps to change our sick and sexist culture.
It’s just hard.