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.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
I like reading your posts, it shows me things I'd probably miss otherwise. Thanks for sharing what you can, and take
care of yourself.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 03:21 am (UTC)(link)
Oddly enough, that would be my experience meeting you at Readercon (at the brunch) - I knew you online through my wife Susan, of course, but you were still the first out nonbinary person I'd ever encountered in person. (X was very shortly the second, I believe, although I could be wrong about the timing; there were several at that table by the end, which was fantastic.) I'd never had a chance to see someone model being nonbinary and "they," which is something I had [and have] as a goal for myself. You were not only visible, you were the *most* visible person there.

I'm sorry that you're feeling that way, and I can only imagine how hard it is after living "loudly" in the past. I also hope this Readercon is a blessed relief for you.
ext_58972: Mad! (Default)

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 04:18 am (UTC)(link)
* Waves *

I see you around here, I try not to be annoyingly intrusive or stomp around in your safe space, but if you want to know you're not invisible ... you're not invisible. Okay?

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 04:35 am (UTC)(link)
So it's not like considering gender is new to me, or anything. But you guys and the Subtlekid, and in particular how you've been very straightforward about what works and what doesn't work, are why I asked the lesbian couple-with-baby at church, 'So what's this person's name?' (And then followed it up with, 'And what's the newest exciting thing going on?')

(Which I realize is about kids and reactions to kids, but, it is also true.)
Edited 2016-07-03 05:06 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 06:26 am (UTC)(link)
You've taught me the importance of names. When people were calling Trump by a different name, you Tweeted about how important names are particularly in the trans community, and how we should always call people by the name they choose to be called by.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.
storme: (howl tea)

[personal profile] storme 2016-07-03 11:43 am (UTC)(link)
Your posts helped me when I was working out what the hell my gender identity was, and why it was important to me.

And in general, it is comforting to me that you (and your family) exist in the world. If that makes sense? I don't quite know the right words for what I mean.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 01:10 pm (UTC)(link)
You are not, and have never been, invisible to me. You've touched me in a number of ways and have pretty much always been nice to me. You've even helped me so much by doing things like getting me on Readercon programming and thinking of me for PW reviews. You were also the first person I knew to use the pronoun they instead of she. It took me forever to adjust--you can probably guess why--but now I'm used to it and actually have other friends who have switched pronouns to they. It didn't take me as long to adjust for them, because it's as though you prepared me for it. Anyway, I'm sorry you're feeling down and invisible. I'm looking forward to seeing you at Readercon next weekend.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 01:46 pm (UTC)(link)
You've been a valuable person for helping me keep evolving my awareness of the world as it evolves.

You were also fun to work for!

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 01:51 pm (UTC)(link)
You helped me with a question on non-binary formal titles, and i am grateful for that.

I understand safety as a parent. Being affiliated with a religious philosophy that has a certain stereotype, and being a parent, left me extremely careful in the face i turn to the typical world, so no you are not invisible! But i recognize how it can feel that way.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 04:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Although we are not close friends in a conventional sense (lamentably) I treasure your words and your writing, and have always enjoyed being able to participate in your world, even if from afar.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 08:30 pm (UTC)(link)
You know, I've been feeling quite isolated too, lately. And I know I haven't had to lock myself down in the same ways, so I don't mean to say it's the same, just that I think that even in my case, having Solly--even though I've been helping to co-parent my godson for years--really changed things. Because I used to be that person who never minded schlepping out to where a friend was, or could do things at the last minute, or at odd times and...I'm not, any more. I'm beholden to my son and his nap schedule. And I'm not complaining, because I love being a mother, but...I miss my friends.

I know that's not what you asked for, but since we also chatted on Twitter yesterday, I've been thinking about it, and thought I'd check in on what you thought.

[identity profile] 2016-07-03 09:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I think about you a lot. With affection-- love, in fact--, with respect, with admiration, with constant interest. And lately, with gratitude. You have taken the trouble lately to be kind to me by treating me like a person of interest and value.

But apart from that, you are a fascinating and valuable person doing really, really hard work on a number of fronts.

I wish you everything that may help to restore your energies. I hope to help.

[identity profile] 2016-07-04 12:18 am (UTC)(link)
When I don't see you here or on Twitter, my headcanon is that you are busily parenting and spousing and reading and writing. I am sorry there exists a climate in which it feels safer to turn down the visibility dial.

Wishing you and all your family peace and love and happiness.
ckd: two white candles on a dark background (candles)

[personal profile] ckd 2016-07-04 08:18 am (UTC)(link)
I feel like I've been, at best, on the vaguely connected periphery of your life space; a cordial acquaintance who you might recognize in a particular context (at a convention), perhaps. I still find your thoughts here and elsewhere to be an essential aid to my understanding of what I can't directly experience from my position of multi-axis privilege.

I also very much appreciate your work on both conventions and publications, for what it brings to me and so many others.

[identity profile] 2016-07-04 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
You and your family were incredibly kind to me at a very difficult time of my life, when I came to visit you and then...had a breakdown all over you. You cooked me mac and cheese I could eat, you gave me space and someone to talk to.

You approached me about an issue in a book, were incredibly kind in pointing out what we'd done wrong, and gave us space to fix it.

I admire so much about you and want to be just like you and your family when I grow up.
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[personal profile] mneme 2016-07-05 05:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I remember seeing you around when I came to pick [ profile] drcpunk after the NYC transgression panel. I didn't want to intrude to say hi, but I noticed you.

[identity profile] 2016-07-09 06:09 pm (UTC)(link)
We met at Readercon once, mostly through Crystal. And though I've now missed it the year past and this, I miss being able to see you.

I can't remember what happened at readercon, because con and people makes bad accessible memory for me, but I know I started following your LJ at that point, and despite the fact that I am not a kid-person, I continue to follow you - because you are a great person, who says smart things about life and parenting and kids that I want to remember or learn or acknowledge, and that's important to me.

The stories about you and J and X raising Kit, about how you are handling the struggles in your life, and recognizing behavior patterns - those make you real to me. Not that you're ever not real to me, but those are the things where I go "That Rose, they're amazing. I'm so glad they exist in the world."

[identity profile] 2016-07-13 07:35 pm (UTC)(link)
We wandered in here recently - CKD linked to a post of yours, and we noticed that you were also doing childrearing in a poly context. It is ... heartening, I think is the best word, to be able to see even a little bit of other people doing this. Parenting can be so isolating, and the more non-standard things you're doing, the more the available supports don't really reach. So, being able to see you is helping.

For reference, Ashni and I are living in a household of five adults and two small children. Most of the poly parenting stuff I've seen is discussing the situation of 'couple is raising kids, but also has outside partners'.


[identity profile] 2016-07-16 11:03 pm (UTC)(link)
I've left this open for when I could cope, but look, it has come to pass. I see you.

I first ran across you when a friend sent me your non-binary work coming out letter, since I'm in a position to potentially need one of those. Then when I saw you commenting on mutual acquaintance posts, I started following you and I'm glad of it.

I appreciate your posts. I appreciate that every time you say you exist, there is an implicit echo that I get to exist, too.

Also I'm in awe of your Hamilton score on Genius. Nonnnn-stop.