rosefox: A man and a woman holding hands, labeled "INVISIBLE QUEER". (queer-invisible)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2016-07-02 10:33 pm

"Now you see me, now you don't"

I first posted this on Twitter, where lots of people have shared very kind replies. I'm posting it here too, in part so I can find that thread when I need a boost but in part because I am having a pretty hard time and will take all the support I can get right now.

I have been hiding for a while. Posting less here, and locking a lot of posts. Locking my "public" Twitter account. Staying quiet about a lot of things that I might once have been loud about. Hiding feels safest right now. But it also means I feel invisible, unseen, even by those who I would like to see me.

It's the nature of editing that my work mostly goes unnoticed. It's the nature of being non-binary, being biethnic, that no one who looks at me knows what they're seeing. It's the nature of being new parents that we are all too tired to perform our usual small acts of noticing and gratitude to one another. But all of this making perfect sense doesn't make it easier to feel myself vanishing.

One person who replied on Twitter said that parenting is very isolating. I keep thinking none of this is related to becoming a parent, because that's been so easy in so many ways. But then I think about how much more I hide myself in order to keep my child safe, and the connection becomes clearer.

I've been very visible and loud my whole life, and on the whole I've liked it and benefited from it. (Loudness is a different kind of survival tactic.) Now I get one taste of it every year at Readercon, and the rest of the time... I'm invisible.

If I've done a thing that touched you, that made me real to you, please tell me. It would help a lot right now. Thank you.


(Anonymous) 2016-07-03 05:32 am (UTC)(link)
Hi, Rose -

You may well not remember me, as we only interacted for a month or so. You did an edit of my book, and I found it very helpful. I've kept your blog linked on my Feedly feed for no particular reason other than curiosity, but I occasionally check in on it, and I've enjoyed hearing your stories of parenting and other activities.

When you critiqued and suggested changes for my book, I found it very perceptive and useful. I shared your comments with a colleague who is a published author of essays and literary fiction. She wrote:

"Well whatever you paid for this, it was worth every penny. This is the kind of editing you used to get when a publisher took on your work. It reminds me very much of the edit I got on my first novel. I am very impressed--and it does remind me what brilliant people editors are, and how much we writers need them.

In any case, I am so happy for you, and would be inclined to hire this woman myself. It looks to me like she is one of them many gems out there cut loose by the publishing world. My agent just told me an editor who has long been doing wonderful work was just let go from Random House as they downsize yet again."

In the couple of years since you read my book, life intervened for a bit - I got a new administrative role at the college where I work, and I think I was a little scared of trying to tackle the challenges you set for me. I've been away from the book for a couple years, but I've gotten back on track this summer, and I'm making progress. I don't think I'll have the energy and personal fortitude to tackle everything you suggested, but I've made real progress on a lot of it. I think I'm nearing the point where I should put out what I have and see what the world thinks rather than letting it slip into ennui again, but you helped make it far better than it was.

I really appreciate what you did for me. Having somebody really read my work deeply and give me a sincere and insightful analysis, replete with useful suggestions.

I sent this as a reply to this post, since I wasn't sure how best to reach you. No need to post this to your page unless you want to - I just wanted you to know.

Dave Dobson
Author of the hopefully soon-to-be-retitled Surest Way to Ruin
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[personal profile] spark 2016-07-03 03:02 pm (UTC)(link)
The way you have written about therapy and how you have found therapists that were helpful to you and made good use of them, was tremendously helpful to me when I finally chose to look for a therapist last week. I have some bad history with therapists and I don't think I would have risked it again if I hadn't been thinking about things you had written. It seems like fortune smiled on me and I was able to find one that I so far feel really good about, so thank you for sharing those things publicly, they made a real difference for me.
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[personal profile] wendil 2016-07-03 09:16 pm (UTC)(link)
If I've done a thing that touched you, that made me real to you, please tell me. It would help a lot right now. Thank you.

Hello from an occasional lurker / shy about commenting type :)

Your entire body of work makes you real to me. I'm not sure to this day how I originally found your blog way back in the LiveJournal days, but I've been quietly looking in on your public offerings for a long time now. I *can* tell you this, with complete and utter honesty: for a girl from a small town in western Virginia, who was sheltered until she left home for college, your writing was instrumental in opening my eyes and pulling me into the real, wide world. You inadvertently gave me many lessons on empathy. You gave me a vocabulary for concepts that I had never encountered before. You also showed a lovely example on how to be as true to yourself as possible. I admire and respect you a great deal.
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[personal profile] aamcnamara 2016-07-04 01:44 am (UTC)(link)
I really enjoy your comments at Captain Awkward, and once I started a thread on FOCA about dapper clothes and you gave me really good advice! (I am an inveterate lurker so that was, like, my only thread, but.)

I am glad that you exist as a dapper non-binary person in my vague community (internet/cons/writing and editing people/Readercon/Captain Awkward), especially as I am a young adult who more and more identifies as dapper and non-binary, and having more-established-adult role models for these things is important to me. I have always been too shy to strike up conversation with you at Readercon, since we don't actually know each other, but seeing you there always makes me happy.

(I hope this comment is not too weird or forward as, like I say, we do not actually know each other!)
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[personal profile] omnia_mutantur 2016-07-04 03:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh so very many ways.

I've always been a little (a lot) in awe of you. Not in a you-aren't-real kind of awe, the more inspiring kind.

You offered me advice at a very, very hard point in my life. I didn't take it, but it gave me so much strength to hear and was instrumental in managing to find a way forward.

Your realness and your candor have given me hope that poly households can work.