Education & Action

I'm a firm believer in the power and necessity of education. When I look around the country right now, I see how much I do not know and do not fully understand. With that in mind, I've compiled a reading list of books to help me better understand race and racism in the United States. They aren't in any particular order or grouping: it's merely a list of books that were recommended by various articles as to what I should read to educate myself. I'm publishing this list to encourage others to educate themselves as well, whether that's through your own list of books or whatever medium you choose.

However, education at this time is nothing without action. After my reading list is a list of actions to take, as a white person, to combat racism and white supremacy in the United States. Both of these lists will probably be updated and altered.

Books

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Why Can’t We Wait? by Martin Luther King Jr.

Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement by Kimberle Crenshaw

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race by Derald Wing Sue

Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History by Vron Ware

The Impossible Will Take a Little While by Paul Rogat Loeb

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela David

Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt by Sarah Jaffe

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcom X

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White by Frank Wu

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire by Deepa Kumar

No One is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border by Justin Akers Chacon and Mike Davis

When We Fight, We Win: Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World by Greg Jobin-Leeds

The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundani

How the Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev

Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition by David Nirenberg

Action

Don't stand for racism, however "small" or "casual." If it is safe for you to speak up, do so.

If you have children, talk to them about what's happening. The age of "colorblindness" is over (not that is ever truly existed). We need to raise our children not only to accept everyone, but to embrace and cherish differences.

Don't just listen to white people. This is surprisingly easy to do, depending on where you live and what your social media bubble is. Make an effort to seek out voices that are different than yours (this is good for widening your mind, but it also makes your life more interesting).

Believe people when they share their experiences with you, even if those stories are outside your life experience.

Do not require POC to educate you. The people on Twitter you would want to ask questions often have already written and spoken about these issues. Do your own research, the answers will usually already be out there.

Work to elevate the voices of POC and never try to speak over them.

Think about the ways that you benefit from white supremacy. You do. No one's asking to be guilty for being white, but you do have a responsibility to use the power you have. Other people are using that power to terrorize and kill people. The time for neutrality is over.

Consider your own language and actions. Are you unintentionally reinforcing white supremacy to others or within yourself?

Don't get mad when people complain about "white people." There are so many other things to deal with right now, and they are a lot more important. If what they're saying resonates with you, consider to yourself why that is, and think about what you change within yourself to make their concern not apply to you.

If you make a mistake: apologize, seek to correct it if possible, make sure you understand what you did wrong, and make sure you will do better next time.

Think about what's going locally and what you can do and say in your community.

Contact your representatives, from local to national, to encourage good behavior and to condemn their failures. Be loud about this, to them and to others.

Go to protests. Tragically, there is no guarantee of safety for anyone at protests, but it's important that those who are less at risk (white people, able-bodied people, etc.) make the effort to be there, not only to support the cause but to help protect people who are more at risk.

Take care of yourself. Take breaks from the news/twitter/activism when you need to or you'll burn out.

Donate to causes you believe in and that are doing effective work.

Support good journalism on a local and national level.

Speak out against false equivalence and poor reporting.

Help people register to vote and get to the polls.

Vote.

The Politics of Tech T-Shirts

I was in San Jose during WWDC, and it was pretty much me and 10,000 white men.

Alright, that’s an unfair characterization. Not because there weren’t an overwhelming number of white men there, because there definitely were, but because there were also many spectacular women and people of color doing amazing work. I don’t want to diminish the presence and accomplishments of those developers and designers, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with. Still, purely because of numbers, it felt very weird to be a young woman here.

My experience here is vastly different from a lot of other non-white-straight-men around WWDC, as I am not a developer (or even work in tech at all, really), and was not attending the actual conference. The experiences of people who are different than me, in those two ways but also in terms of race, gender identity, disability, and other variations influence the way they perceive and are perceived in a space that is dominated by one particular kind of person.

With that important clarification out of the way, I want to talk about my personal experiences here, especially as someone adjacent to a lot of people who are both part of that dominant demographic and command an amount of power in this space.

More specifically, I want to talk about tech t-shirts.

There’s a way to look like you belong a tech conference. Step one: be white. (That one I’ve got.) Step two: be male. (Not so much.)

If you’ve got steps one and two down, congratulations! If you’re also able-bodied, you will fit in 99% of the time at tech conferences without any additional effort.

I can’t speak on behalf of people of color and people with disabilities, but I do have a lot of thoughts about what makes a woman look like they “belong” at WWDC. Bold makeup is definitely a risk--winged eyeliner or bright lipstick would stick out like a well-decorated thumb. As far as shirts go, you can’t go wrong with a clearly branded t-shirt from a tech company or podcast. If you don’t have a tech t-shirt, best to stick to muted colors and basic t-shirt or collared styles--tank tops, dresses, and off-the-shoulder shirts aren’t going to fit in.

It isn’t hard to see the pattern here--femininity is out. Femininity isn’t banned, but it is “other.”

While I was at the conference, I started wearing more feminine outfits, and gradually transitioned to shirts that fit in better with the WWDC crowd. It wasn’t necessarily a choice to blend in--the implicit style rules honestly made me want to wear tech shirts less, but overall I was conscientious about not letting them influence my clothes choices one way or another.

Wearing a red plaid dress at WWDC made me feel like I was undercover. No one would guess I was there for the tech conference by looking at me, and as I walked by scores of people in WWDC jackets, I knew they had no idea I knew exactly who they were.

When I was spending time with other WWDC attendees, I got far fewer sideways looks from strangers when I was in a t-shirt than when I was in a dress. I even got some smiles from other women in tech clothes, like we were in a secret club together. On the other hand, when I was in feminine clothes, I felt more like I didn’t belong there. I had to remind myself that my clothing didn’t mean anything besides the fact that it was hot and I was more comfortable in a dress.

When I spoke to other women at the conference about this feeling, they emphatically agreed with me. They also felt the implicit dress code, and the give-and-take between feeling comfortable in one’s clothes and feeling comfortable in the group.

There’s nothing wrong with wearing tech t-shirts. I don’t think there was anyone there who felt forced to wear them to fit in, I think it was a gathering of thousands of nerds who were happy and excited to show off their coding jokes and technology companies. But why do women have to feel pressure to express themselves through their clothes, whether by conforming or rebelling against the dress standards? Why can’t femininity belong in this space just as much as a unisex t-shirt? Who decides who gets to look like they belong?

I do think this balance is shifting, and I’m glad. My hope is not that people will stop wearing tech t-shirts, but that they can also wear dresses without feeling like they don’t belong.

Quinn Rose, Writer

I changed my Twitter bio. The first word is now “writer.”

Cut to my poor, neglected blog, and then zoom in on my imposter syndrome.

I write things, dammit. I’ve been writing my entire life, and am not completely hopeless at it. It’ll take me a long time before I’m as good as I want to be, but that’s true for everything I do, so we’ll leave that point aside for now. The real question is, why did I edit and upload a seven minute video in the time between starting this blog post and actually settling in to finish it?

For me, writing is the most vulnerable thing I produce, for two reasons. While I often don’t say things as concisely or poignantly as I wish while podcasting, I also don’t feel too much pressure to make my off-the-cuff words perfect. When I write, it’s only me and my words. I’m not protected by a co-host, background music, or a laugh. It’s hard for me not to feel like everything I publish needs to meet some arbitrary measure of quality, or it’s not worth putting out there in the world. As we all know, pretending that something needs to be perfect in order to be complete is a surefire strategy for Never Finishing Anything.

Videos are similar in that regard, and I also focus on much less personal topics on my YouTube channel than in my writing. I didn’t even fully realize this until I recorded my one year anniversary video, in which I did speak a little bit about personal difficulties, and it was so difficult to talk about on camera that I recorded for over 40 minutes to make a 12 minute video. Writing, on the other hand, is how I express everything that is most difficult for me to talk about. I have a journal set aside for the singular purpose of getting my thoughts out when I feel like my head is going to burst from whatever is ricocheting around it, whether that be pain, joy, or something I can’t figure out until I spill it onto the page.

While it’s easier to mask the intense vulnerability of writing when I’m working on fiction, the pressure for it to be great feels impossible. When I’m writing personal essays, the writing can be bad (and I’m sure it often is), but there are fewer balls in the air. In my fiction so many things can go wrong--are my characters one-dimensional? Does my plot make sense? Are my themes too obvious? Is my setting boring? Will they see the ending coming?

It is actually stressing me to write all those questions down.

In conclusion, I’m insecure about writing, and that insecurity makes me lazy about it.

I don’t believe that you have to publish anything in order identify as a writer. If you write, you are a writer, that’s simply the definition. However, the reasons I haven’t been publishing much are completely unsatisfactory to me. In my case, I know writing and publishing more frequently will improve my work and my own sense of myself.

So, I changed my Twitter bio. I’m back in front of my keyboard, determined to put things on the internet, even before I’m sure they’re any good. To be fair, that strategy has been working pretty well for me so far. I hope that soon, you’ll see my byline on other places on the web. For now, you can find me here.

International Women's Day 2017

Happy International Women's Day, everyone!

To celebrate, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite lady YouTubers and podcasts. I really encourage you to check them all out because they are all incredible.

YouTube:

Dodie Clark. Beautiful music, incredible videos ranging from the silly to the heartbreakingly vulnerable, and my total queer crush.

Just Between Us. Speaking of queer crushes, Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin's comedy sketch channel is one of my watch-every-single-one channels.

Tessa Violet. Another musician (I highly recommend her video for Not Over You, it makes me so happy) and delightful vlogger.

Rosianna Halse Rojas: One of the backbones of the YouTube community, and a quietly brilliant vlogger.

Sabrina Cruz. Absolutely hilarious. I'm amazed at how consistently she makes quality entertaining and educational videos.

Anna Akana. Speaking of consistent quality, no one inspires me to make better videos like Anna does. Unbelievably creative and hard-working.

Hannah Witton. Sex education, advice (some to follow, some to definitely not), and an unbelievably charming video maker.

Taylor Behnke. I'm inspired by her every word. One of the strongest people out there.

Akilah Hughes. Brilliant social commentary and hilarious sketch comedy.

Alison. I just think she's so funny. I want to hang out with her.

Kat Blaque. Absolutely fearless with fantastic educational social justice videos.

Kelly Kitagawa. Again, please hang out with me. I feel like she's going to be huge someday.

Podcasts!

Call Your Girlfriend. My forever fave, the original inspiration for Mixed Feelings, and just fantastic conversations about news and pop culture.

Another Round. Who doesn't love Another Round? Another brilliant show that tackles contemporary issues.

Buffering the Vampire Slayer. I love Buffy so much, and I love this rewatch show that features an adorable couple and an original song every episode.

Friendshipping. This show is so helpful and so cheerful! Ultimate pick-me-up with genuine advice.

The Ladycast. Alex Laughlin (an inspiration herself) interviewing different cool women every episode and encouraging you to #dothething

Bad With Money. Gaby Dunn hosts a brilliant show all about money, featuring interesting guests on every episode.

Roboism. Robots and feminism! This is my brand!

Rocket. Smart, enthusiastic tech show that's not afraid to tackle tough topics.

Bonus! Writers:

Roxane Gay. My favorite writer, just read her books, please read them.

Felicia Day. Huge role model in my life and her memoir is precious to me.

Maureen Johnson: Insanely talented, bizarre, creative, and dedicated YA author/twitter personality.

2016 Life Lessons

20 Things I Learned in 2016, in Honor of the Year I Turned 20

  1. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out exactly what makes you happy, especially when you’ve hit a bit of “blah” spot. When you are sure what makes you happy and fulfilled, do it as much you can for as long as it continues to enrich your life. That feeling is unbelievably valuable.

  2. You always have to do the work. Success is often a consequence of luck and coincidence, but that luck won’t ever come if you haven’t done the work first.

  3. It’s okay to not be okay with yourself. The self-love movement is powerful and important, but it can have the unintended effect of making people feel bad about themselves… because they feel bad about themselves. I promise you that if you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, you’re not the only one. There’s nothing wrong with you. Everyone learns to love themselves at their own pace, and your journey is valid even if it takes longer than the person next to you.

  4. Being queer is really fun. I haven’t been quite able to find the words to describe this feeling yet, but the combination of discovering and/or accepting a part of yourself and joining a community at the same time brings a new kind of joy and love. Plus, there is an incredible amount of hilarious queer humor out there.

  5. Don’t keep people in your life who can’t keep up with you. At this point I am mostly uninterested in having people tell me that they can’t believe how much work I do, or how passionate I am about what I’m doing. I want to know what you’re working on and see how excited you are about it too.

  6. I’d learned to accept my body before, but now I am reaching to truly understand that it doesn’t need to be any slimmer, fitter, or smaller than it already is. My body is beautiful and deserves to be decorated and adored no matter what it looks like.

  7. When people are scared of failing, you can tell them “you won’t fail” but you should consider saying “it’s okay if you fail” instead. Most of the time, that’s what I’d prefer to hear--I don’t know if I’m going to fail or not, but I want assurance that the world will go on even if (or inevitably, when) I fail.

  8. Alcohol is tricky. It can genuinely be really fun and enhance your party experience, but it can’t be used as a crutch--it’ll amplify whatever you’re feeling, so if you’re sad you’ll just be really sad. Figure out how to balance it, and you’ll be golden. Also, enjoy it while you’re in college and you don’t have to pay for it.

  9. The best nights can be the ones that you spend with new friends who you’re suddenly spending a lot of time with, When you play “Never Have I Ever” with these people, everyone gets very personal very quickly. It’s the best way to get to know someone in a particular kind of way.

  10. When you’re recording podcasts long distance, your microphone will pick up sound from the headphones and it’s really annoying. No one told me this. You need to use more sound-secure headphones.

  11. People who get mad at you for getting mad at them when they screw up are not good people. You’re allowed to be upset when someone wrongs you.

  12. Quit things more often. You’re not proving anything by sticking out something that’s not worth the time and pain you’re pouring into it.

  13. Instead, double down on what you are truly committed to. Focus and devote yourself entirely to whatever you find.

  14. Sometimes it takes you almost 20 years to put together that IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes, because there weren’t any near you growing up, and your brain just don’t question things like restaurant names, and then you wonder how that happened and feel dumb about it for awhile. Remember that next time someone around you says something really silly.

  15. Maintaining good health is hard, even for someone who is extremely lucky and healthy in most ways. You can’t ever know someone else’s health or grasp how difficult it for someone living with illness or chronic pain, so don’t make assumptions about them.

  16. You’re a crier. You cry kind of all the time. It’s just your physiological response to strong emotions, it doesn’t mean you can’t be smart and capable and reasonable, and it’s certainly not a bad thing. Don’t spend time with people who make you feel like it is.

  17. Representation and role models are more important than you ever realized before you started getting them in places you didn’t anticipate. Seek them out and be one for others.

  18. A lot of the time when someone criticizes you, if you respond with kindness and openness, they’re nice about it and you learn something.

  19. Grab opportunities with everything you have--you never know when you’ll get one again.

  20. The good guys don’t always win. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be one anyway.

Furious

I wrote this piece a few days when my rage was in full force. I’m not a naturally aggressive person and it’s hard for me to hold on to this kind of anger for long, so I’ve returned to feeling tired and sad. Regardless, I still want to publish it, because it’s important for me to remember what this anger feels like. I should be angry. I should fight.


A few days ago, I wrote a blog post named “Exhausted.” I wrote about how tired I felt witnessing the sexism in this country and feeling it weigh down on me, especially during this election cycle.

I wrote that blog expecting that Hillary Clinton would be elected president.

I have cried so many times this week. I’ve cried because over two hundred years after its founding, the United States still does not have a Madam President. I’ve cried because now my little sister is going to reach adulthood with the highest glass ceiling still in place. I’ve cried because I was so passionate about Hillary and I am devastated that she will not be my president.

But that’s only the surface level. Truly, I’ve cried because I am heartbroken and I am terrified. What will happen to health care? What will happen to reproductive rights? What will happen to marriage equality? What will happen to my Muslim friends, my black friends, my hispanic friends? What will happen to the planet as climate change rages on? What will happen to my queer friends who were struggling to express themselves and have now been shot in the foot by a country they thought was starting to accept them? What will happen to my friends when they are sexually assaulted in a country where rape culture extends to the highest office? What will happen to groups who are already struggling so much: transgender people, undocumented immigrants, those with severe mental health problems?

I’ve never really understood the five stages of grief thing. The classic five stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On election night, I experienced… something like that.

Stage 1: Denial. I felt this for a few hours… or maybe a few years? I assured myself that the early results were just an abnormality. Hillary would win. It would swing back around any second. Any second…

Stage 2: Anger. I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch someone. I wanted to run for a hundred miles, until my body crumbled underneath me and had finally released all the rage I felt.

Stage 3: Bargaining. I didn’t bargain. Who am I, the godless heathen that I am, going to bargain with? Instead, this stage was swallowing my anger to remember the people in my life who needed me. I have friends across the country who were hurting just as badly as I was. Am.

Stage 4: Depression. I wanted my parents. I wanted someone to hug me and tell me it would be okay. But by now, everyone had gone to sleep and I was alone. I watched The West Wing until 5 am, weeping for a nation that didn’t exist.

Stage 5: Acceptance.

No.

No, I do not accept.

I accept that this is reality, as much as it still feels like a nightmare. I accept that I am in a positive of privilege and therefore need to accept responsibility for working towards a better world. I accept that the world is not a kind place and that nothing will ever come easy.

I do not accept racism. I do not accept sexism. I do not accept xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, any goddamn “phobia” that’s just hatred of human beings.

At the end of my last blog, I promised to get angry. Well, I’m here, and I’m furious. If you come for my reproductive rights, I will fight. If you come for my right to marry whoever I love and not be discriminated against for it, I will fight. If you come for the rights of any of my loved ones, of any marginalized person, of anyone who does fit into a white, male, straight world, I will fight.

If you try to grab my pussy, I’ll think about my sister when I punch you in the face. It’s too late for me to build a better world for her, but I will fight like hell to make it better for our daughters.

I invite you to join me, especially if you are white and/or a man and have the ability to fight for others. And, I’ll be honest: I know what my analytics are. I know that you’re probably a white man. There’s a lot to be done in this country, and I believe in you and your ability to be part of progress.

Get involved in your community. Be aware of midterm elections and the issues on every ballot you can vote on. Write to your representatives at every level and make your voice heard. Donate to organizations that will need it in the next four years (I suggested ACLU or Planned Parenthood, to begin with). Volunteer for worthy causes. Campaign for politicians you believe in. Support, both privately and publicly, friends and strangers who are suffering. Do not, under any circumstances, allow hatred to happen in front of you without fighting against it.

The work starts now.

Quinn RoseComment
Exhausted

    I am exhausted.

    Not physically, although I often am so tired I fall asleep when my eyes slide closed for too long, weary of consuming more data in a day than I have any right to impose on them.

    I am exhausted in a much deeper sense, facing a tiredness that has crept into my bones and follows me like a shadow. It’s a weight that’s been building in me for years, like stones plunged into my stomach and tearing me up from the inside out.

    I don’t know when the first stone dropped. It may have been the first time I walked down the street and a stranger yelled something about my body. It may have been when I realized my partner had decided his wants were more important than mine. It may have been when my parents bought me pepper spray to keep me safe, even though my brother never needed any.

    There were messages over and over again, from the movies I watched to the people I loved, showing me that the world was not built for me. I never know if today someone will decide that public space is theirs, not mine, and that they deserve to harass me on the street. I never know if today they’ll decide I deserve to be hurt for not smiling for them.

    Then came the stones from the internet. The internet is the largest public space humanity can conceive, and it is still not built for me. I saw a seventeen-year-old girl get harassed, threatened, and told to kill herself for weeks because she expressed an opinion and a grown man decided she needed to be hurt for that. Every single woman on the internet I know is prepared to be attacked. We know that any day could be the day someone decides that we should be hacked and our personal information should be made available for billions of people. We know that any day could be the day someone decides to abuse us, threaten us, stalk us, and there’s nothing we can do except be ready and try to protect ourselves. It’s not a question of “if” for me. It’s a question of “when.” The weight pushes down on me until I feel like my head is just above water.

    And then we reached this year and I am drowning.

    I suppose I thought that misogyny was, if not on its way out, at least going out of style. I cannot put into words how exhausting it has been to watch this country fail me and the women I love over and over again. This election taught me that you can be one of the most experienced, intelligent, powerful women in the world and you will still be reduced to your voice, your laugh, the way you smile or don’t. You can be an articulate expert in a field and be pitted against a man with no comprehension of what he’s talking about. You can offer substantive reform ideas on virtually every issue facing this country and people will scream that you are a bitch who deserves to die.

    But we knew that was coming, didn’t we? We knew that Hillary Clinton would face a disgusting amount of sexism while running for president. What we didn’t know was who would be standing at the other podium, and that is who makes me feel like I’m drowning.

    It’s not just the man himself, although the knowledge that he is so close to being elected the leader of my country makes me physically ill. I don’t say that for dramatic effect. My stomach actually aches when I consider the possibility that he may have any power over my future. He would ban my best friend from this country. His vice-president would put me and my friends into conversion therapy. He would block full healthcare for millions of women. “The personal is political” has been a feminist mantra for decades, but I never knew the political would be this personal.

    It does not shock me that he exists and is so deluded that he believes he should be president. What did surprise me was that almost half the country agrees. Millions of people don’t think that sexual assault precludes someone from being the leader of the free world. I need to say that again. Millions of people don’t think that bragging about committing sexual assault disqualifies someone from the presidency. I can’t think about this without shaking. Millions of people don’t think that his blatant and rampant racism disqualifies him. Millions of people don’t think that he should be required to treat anyone with respect, not veterans, not differently abled people, not families of fallen soldiers, not anyone nonwhite, and certainly not any woman.

    Millions of people have told me that I don’t deserve to be treated like a human being. That my body is subject to anyone who lays claim to it, as long as they’re famous. How do I deal with that? I really don’t know.

    I love being a woman. In some ways I’m a little obsessed with it; I am constantly aware of my own womanhood and how other women exist in my life. Yesterday I mentioned that “all women are in my sisterhood” and was told I really should tell them about that, so: hey, if you identify as a woman, you’re in my sisterhood and I love you. There is an undeniable strength and pride I draw from the incredible accomplishments of women all around me and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

    And yet, I am exhausted. I am exhausted by sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination, the gender pay gap, the second shift, the glass ceiling, cat-calling, the devaluing of women’s voices, the demands that women take up less space, “get in the kitchen” jokes, legislation of women’s bodies, of seeing breasts used to advertise cars and beer and hamburgers but not allowed to be used to feed children in public, of scripts for how we should dress and look and think and speak and live.

    Today, I voted for the first time, and I voted for the first female president of the United States. But even if all my dreams for today come true and we elect our first Madam President, the past eighteen months have shown us that there is still so much work to be done. Those millions of people are not going to wake up tomorrow and start studying feminist theory. They’re going to keep screaming that Hillary is a bitch for as long as she is in the public eye.

    Well you know what? She is a bitch. So am I. Bitches get stuff done. You can either fall in line or you can fall behind, but I’m tired of being tired. I’m getting angry instead.

Mixed Feelings

    I really love having punny podcast titles. It allows people, including me, to make so many jokes. Every time I’m not doing well at something: “so would you say you’re... Solidly Mediocre?” When I’m conflicted about something: “so you have... Mixed Feelings?

    Yes that’s right, I’ve started a new podcast called Mixed Feelings. It’s a weekly discussion with one of my best friends, Gillian Parker, about news, politics, and pop culture. Why is it called Mixed Feelings, you ask?

    Jimmy Fallon.

    That’s not even a joke-- in the first demo episode we sent to Myke Hurley, Gillian repeatedly said that she had “mixed feelings” about Jimmy Fallon, and he thought that would make a good title.

    SO GOOD. Because we do have mixed feelings on a lot of things. The world is annoyingly complicated, after all. Plus, Gillian and I have different political leanings, so the title works in multiple ways!

    Coincidentally, I’m also having mixed feelings right about now.

    As I’m writing this, the show launched an hour ago, and I’ve spent most of that time on Twitter reading people’s reactions. The response has been overwhelmingly positive which is absolutely lovely. The Relay FM hosts have been extremely supportive and kind. All of this makes me very happy.

    So why is my stomach tied into painful knots?

    First of all, Myke and Stephen asked Gillian and I to spend a minute introducing ourselves properly at the beginning of this episode. We 100% did not do that, so now I’m annoyed with myself for forgetting.

    The show has some political commentary (okay, the commentary is mostly “Trump is awful,” which not a contentious statement for most people, but it is for some). What if people hate us? What if I say something terrible and screw everything up?

    A lot of the people responding now haven’t listened to the whole episode yet. What if they’re just hopeful and being nice but they actually don’t like it once they listen?

    The thing about this show is it will definitely receive negative feedback. There will be people who don’t like it. Some of them will tell us about how they don’t like it. And, well, I don’t deal with criticism very well. I mean, I accept criticism and will do everything to correct the problem, it just makes me feel terrible about myself. I *know* that is a personal flaw and I am doing what I can to make that better, it’s just difficult to not take things personally. I’ve gotten better at shaking that feeling off and focusing on the work at hand, but there’s always that moment of “I have failed everything and everyone.”

    Dueling with this, of course, is that fact that my passion lies in podcasting, writing, and making videos. This is not a field that a person can enter without being able to handle feedback well. It’s actually funny to me because I think if someone just tweeted at me “you’re terrible and I hate you” I could shrug it off quite easily--whatever dude, thanks for taking the time out of your day to tell me that-- but if someone said “I have this specific problem with your podcast and I think you messed up here” I would be devastated. And I know it’s going to happen, I know! It may make me anxious but the only way to alleviate that is to go through it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to just roll with all criticism without hesitation, but I’m trying to get there.

    Regardless, you should listen to Mixed Feelings! Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you won’t. Let me know, will you?

November Goals

I avoided talking about my goals last month, because I failed all of my September goals, so instead I just decided to carry them over to October. I also made this tweet:

 

    So I guess I was successful?

    My actual goals for September/October:

    Keeping up with classes: I was doing okay at this until this week… That’s what happens after I go out twice for Halloweekend. Back to the grind this week!

    Finish I Am Malala: I am so, so close to finishing this. It’s basically done.

    Finish 1 creative writing piece: Yes, I have finished a first draft on one creative piece, plus I wrote two articles for an on-campus magazine this month.

    Exercise 4 times a week: I think I’m averaging more 3 times a week, but still, not too bad.

    Practice Chinese every day: hit or miss, but getting on average 4 times a week, I think. Always room for improvement.

    Continue making content/make more videos in October: I’m keeping up with my schedule for Solidly Mediocre, every other Wednesday, so that’s great. I put out two videos in September, which is okay but not fantastic. I made 3 videos in October, which is a little better. I wrote two blog posts in September and one in October, which I think is the bare minimum to continue saying I have a blog.

    But also, did you see this?! I have a new show coming!

    My roommate Gillian and I are launching a new show for Relay FM called “Mixed Feelings,” which launched episode 0 on the Members’ Only Feed last week. The first real episode is out very, very soon, which is so exciting and so stressful. I have been waiting MONTHS to announce this. Literally months. I almost exploded. But now it’s (almost) out!

    (The show is about news, politics, and pop culture, so good thing we started it immediately before election day.)

    Honestly though I’m so ready for a post-election life, and then there will be other news we can talk about and it’ll be fantastic.

    And that brings me to November Goals:

    I’m keeping the goals of exercise and practicing Chinese goals the same, just trying to work a little bit on both of them as much as I can.

    Last week I was shamed for not having read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so the people who shamed me are lending me the book and I’m reading that this month.

    Modified NaNoWriMo: NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is a challenge where people try to write a 50,000 page manuscript in the month of November. I definitely can’t commit to writing an entire new manuscript this month-- the last novel I wrote took me four years-- but I DO want to write more, so my tentative goal is to write 50,000 words. Just that, write 50,000 words. I’m counting blog posts, short stories, essays for school, video scripts, anything I write. I think in an average month the maximum I would write is about 10,000 words, so 50,000 is definitely a big step up.

    Finally, I’m going to caption my videos! I’ve wanted to caption them for months and have been working on this recently. My goal is by the end of November have them all captioned, and then have the captions ready for each video as I post them.

    It’s hard to set goals during school because there is always so much going on that it’s hard to slow down and work on anything besides the daily grind of assignments, but making these videos and making an effort to think about what else I want to be working towards is really helpful for me. I hope that this month I can keep up my goals, especially while trying to do NaNoWriMo and not fail out of school. We’ll see.

Quinn Rosegoals, metaComment
Young

I’ve had several friends tell me that they don’t want people to know how old they are. Well, more accurately, they don’t want people to know how young they are.

It’s not that I can fault their logic-- sometimes, it can be difficult to be taken seriously as a young adult. We’re “millennials,” after all, and not even the kind with steady jobs yet. Am I even a millennial? I think I might be too young for that. I have another year or two before my generation becomes the one everyone likes to yell at.

However, I don’t see my age as a barrier to overcome. I may have fewer experiences than older people, but I have different experiences, and difference is valuable. For example, I literally do not remember a time when the internet was not easily accessible at home and at school. I got a Facebook when I was 12 years old (I wanted to get a Facebook desperately. Oh, how times have changed). I’m still young enough that signing up for for a form of social media is not a sign of the end of that medium (says the person who mostly just uses Twitter and Instagram. You whippersnapper, you).

You can make jokes about young people being addicted to their phones-- which people do, all the freaking time-- but we’re the ones who know these interfaces intuitively and can predict the success of technology with great success. If we don’t like it, it’s not going to work.

While I can make arguments that my age gives me a unique perspective, and that perspective is valuable, I actually don’t have to argue at all. The most important thing is this: my age does not devalue my work. My age does not devalue my work. Am I more likely to be worse at things because I’m inexperienced? Yes. Does that take away from when I make good things? No. If you can’t judge my work based on its quality and not the fact that I’m still a teenager, then I’m not the one with the problem here.

I might have this attitude because I’ve always worked with people older than me. I’m young for my grade in school and often befriended people in years above me, so I consistently had a friend group a year or two older than me (which is a big difference when you’re ten). In high school, I started competing in a club that was primarily populated by seniors when I was a sophomore. I’ve worked closely as the only teenager/student on groups of adults for years.

I also have always been salty about people looking down on me for my age. I have a distinct memory of watching a movie when I was twelve years old, and one of the characters said “how should I know? I’m twelve!” I was indignant. How could this movie insinuate that a twelve-year-old be so immature and ignorant?

For the record, here is a picture of me at twelve. So mature.

I’ve never had someone flat out tell me I couldn’t do something because I was too young, but I’ve had innumerable instances of people criticizing my youth in all sorts of uncreative ways. I say like too much, I upspeak, I don’t know any better, I spend too much time on my phone, I’ll understand when I’m older.

I am nineteen years old. If you devalue my work because of my age, it’s your problem, not mine. I’m just going to prove you wrong.