2015 was not an easy year for me. It definitely had high points, but closer towards the middle of the summer to the end of he year, it was sea floor low. Anyone in the book community who knows me well, and I do have a few friends in this community who do, can testify to that. I learned not to waste my energy on people who want to bring me down because they are miserable. If I stop to observe, and truly analyze their behavior, and think while something happens, I can realize that that it would be futile to fight against them. I can realize that the best way to fight back is to not give them the power they want from me. I’m not even talking about bullies. That is not a problem for me, and never will be, but the oppressors that I face being a young black, queer woman.
I also learned that this community has two sides. One side that is beautiful and full of jubilance, humor, and fun. The other side is bitter, disrespectful, hateful. The disparity is eye opening, or has been for me. And. I learned that you just have to take the community and love all of it—and sometimes you have to distance yourself, because the less attractive side of the community may tear you to pieces. God forbid you speak against the grain in some situations, you know? If you haven’t seen this side, consider yourself blessed because it is not a side you want to see.
I learned more than anything, besides fundamental parts of myself, that you just have to sit in the arena and drink your juice. In fact, that is what I will be living by mostly this year. Sit in the arena and drink your juice was said by a beloved woman in my childhood, a friend of my mother’s. I’m truly going to observe this year in the daily and in this community and hope to see significant change. We are all equal, you guys. We are all book people. To those of us more privileged, I think you should really consider following this mantra this year. Stop offering up your stories when people talk about their struggles. Listen instead. I will try to hold myself back, but honestly the next time I see this, I am calling it out. I say this not just for you, but for me also. Sit in the arena and drink your juice.