So, I don’t know about anybody else, but I am beginning to get very stressed out every time I hear/read about the need to “Effectively and Consistently Market Myself Online.”
I hear about it a lot in Library School, and I appreciate the sentiment. Obviously it’s time to take down the 20 million pictures I had on Facebook of myself and revolving door of friends laughing as we tried to take a self-picture while not spilling large plastic cups of what is must certainly fruit punch on ourselves. Obviously my college livejournal (remember those?) where I did little but whine about my roommates, friends, ex’s, bosses, professors and random strangers needed to come down. Obviously its time to be a big girl now.
My problem comes when it makes me start to feel that I have to reign in everything I say online. It makes me wonder, “Should I put pictures in my blog? Maybe that’s not professional enough.” And, “Can I take a moment to point out how gender-conforming that picture is because the lettering is in pink? Can I comment on how much that bothers me and how I tried to find a picture about being a big girl that was not pink and failed?”
I have a really hard time boiling myself down to one THING that I WILL BE. I really like being the Lezbrarian. I think it is catchy and fun. I think it is important to be visible in the world as an adult, well-adjusted, successful women who identifies on the Queer spectrum. I think it is important to bring women’s issues and queer issues to people’s attention, as well as privacy issues, copyright issues, book issues, library issues… etc. I know when I was growing up I didn’t have any lesbian role models. Ellen was the only human alive I could name who was a lesbian. I knew there were more, but I didn’t know who they were. I want the next generation, or even my generation, to know that we are out there. We are everywhere. So get over it. We are people just like everyone else who want to live our lives and occasionally go on vacation. I think it is important to be very visible in that respect.
But if I decide to market myself as THE LEZBRARIAN then, does that limit my future employment opportunities? Yes, I know, if they don’t want to hire me because I’m gay, then I don’t want to work for them. But in a world of intense competition, do I want to be so blatant? Do I want them to wonder if the person they hire is going to be always on her soapbox and not able to work with other people? I know its a bad stereotype, but its a stereotype nonetheless. The best way to defy these stereotypes is to let people work with you, get to know you and realize on their own that you are gay and don’t have horns. Pause for story time…
When I was a teacher outside DC, I worked at a school that was, in general… let’s just say… NOT open to the idea that there were queers among them. Not everyone, but enough people made their opinions known early enough that I knew it was not a safe place for me to be out. So I wasn’t. I was dating this girl for a while and she had an enormous problem with this decision of mine. She went on and on about how We need to be Visible, we Need to fight the good fight, (sound familiar) and if we need to get fired and publicly sue the school district to raise the issue then that is what we should do. I, however, did not want to get fired or pushed out (though that’s eventually what happened) or publicly sue anyone. I just wanted to do my job, teach my students, pay for groceries and go home to my cat. I needed to pay rent, more than I needed to make A BIG STATEMENT. This was why we didn’t date long.
After I left my teaching job, moved back to the midwest and started library school I also came out to my entire family, something I’d been putting off for a long time. It was a big deal and very scary and having done that I started my fall all kinds of OUT AND PROUD!!
Thus began the Lezbrarian.com and thus began @lesbolibrarian (because @lezbrarian was already taken— grrrr) and I LOVE IT!! I love being out! I love being Proud!! But I also…. am more than just a lesbian.
No, I really am! There are all sorts of other things about me that are cool! I can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backward. I can play “Twinkle Twinkle” on the piano upside down. I can play the “Trumpet Voluntaire” with a noseflute. I am actually a well-trained and accomplished singer.
I play the cello, and the piano. I danced ballet for 15 years. I have played basically every girl-child part in any musical you can think of. I won the Senior Writing Award at my high school (and used the gift certificate to buy three Harry Potter books). I graduated with my M.M. with a 3.97 GPA. I like philosophy and history and literature. I like science fiction and British TV shows. I (surprisingly) love my computer classes. I am a red head. I am one of the shortest fully grown adults you will ever see. I love school. I love library school. I want to work as a Music Librarian. I also want to work as a Teen Services Librarian. I want to travel the world. I want to go to the moon.
So how do I pick one of these things TO BE?? Am I the Shortbrarian? The MusBrarian? The SYFYbrarian? The RedBrarian? Aside from all these things, I am just ME. Just me in all my multifaceted ME-ness. I’m not consistent, and here’s the main thing…I DON’T THINK THAT’S A PROBLEM!!! I think the world should just let me go on being me.