On Presenting at UNLV and Chaos Emeralds
On Presenting at UNLV…
In October, I was asked to present about diversity in geek culture at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In November, I did just that.
When I first read the email from the Multicultural Program Coordinator at UNLV I thought it was a scam. It was so unbelievable. She said she was working with the Students Organizing Diversity Activities (SODA) and they wanted to bring me in as a speaker for their upcoming event called Uncensored on November 12th.
I’ve been on podcasts and panels, but I never did something like this before. In fact, I have stage fright. So when I was asked to speak in Vegas I was equal parts honored and terrified. Despite this good news coming during a particularly bad time in my life, I said yes.
It was a rough few weeks for me mentally leading up to the event. I was incredibly anxious the entire time to say the least, but I did it. In fact, I think I did a good job and I’m proud of myself. But I didn’t do it alone. Whenever I doubted myself (which was daily), my SO, brother, family and friends made me think otherwise long enough to get it done.
Speaking of doubting myself, this experience made me realize that I’m too humble. I tell myself and others that I don’t know how I got here. That I’m just lucky or that I slipped through the cracks when no one was looking. I feel like I have Premature Imposter Syndrome; I’m not even worthy of thinking that I’m not worthy. Ain’t that some shit? But, there’s another part of me that knows how hard I’ve worked and that I deserve to be “here”.
I’ve been thinking about contradictions a lot recently. Which you may have noticed because I just mentioned that I feel I’m both not worthy and deserving at the same time. I stumbled across this Walt Whitman quote from Song of Myself recently, and in a few eloquent words he sums up how I’ve come to terms with my seemingly opposing sides,
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
During my speech at UNLV I brought up contradictions several times in regards to enjoying problematic media. I’m a feminist who loves sexist hip hop songs. I’m a woman of color who enjoys some stereotypical characters. I’m confident and insecure. I contain multitudes and I’m cool with that.
… and Chaos Emeralds
My experience as a geek culture blogger can be compared to playing Sonic the Hedgehog. (Stay with me now.) I started blogging because I wanted to talk about the stuff that I liked and I hoped that I’d make some friends along the way. Years later, those are still the core reasons why I continue blogging. Being interviewed, meeting creators, making new friends, speaking on panels and podcasts are all like the special stages in Sonic. The stages where you get to float around this pinball-like maze collecting rings and trying to get the chaos emerald before time runs out. I don’t play Sonic for the special stages, I play it because I enjoy it. But playing the special stages makes the experience even better. For me, the chaos emeralds are when people tell me that Girl Gone Geek inspired them or when I spoke at UNLV.
I hope I get more chaos emeralds, but even if I don’t, I’m still going to keep playing the game.