One of the best parts of the Internet has been meeting people who become dear friends and part of one’s chosen family (a true nyali, if you will). And then there are those who are even a little bit closer because you talk every single day.
Today I was talking to one of those friends, and, while I am truly grateful for our friendship and for this sort of friendship, I want to focus more on her boldness and tenacity.
Sometimes this world can be hard. Sometimes being an author is terrifyingly difficult. Sometimes it feels as if the odds are not only stacked against us but most of the community is out for blood and boiling in a pot of toxic jealousy, eager to take down anyone who doesn’t match their standard whatever that type is.
Matters have improved in some areas, but within the fantasy and horror communities, especially on the darker side of things, a fair bit of misogyny and racism continues to exist. It’s not at all uncommon to have fellow authors or readers comment on my appearance or ask about my breasts or the breasts of my characters if they’re female. From what I’ve seen, it can be pretty rough in the litRPG areas which are an even narrower subset of the fantasy genre. And I am certainly not alone in this. (Also I feel compelled to point out that not all male authors or readers do this and probably not even most. But it does grow tedious to be on the receiving end of this sort of thing, and it does not have to be the majority for it to be frustrating and wearing.)
One of the best parts about my friend though is that even though she has gone through more than her share of this sort of thing (as if shares really mattered when being treated badly), she has never really let it get her down. It annoys her. Grinds on her. Aggravates her. Sometimes it makes her spitting cobra rageful.
But she never lets it push her back. If anything, I think she has reached the point where it makes her even stronger when they try to demoralize her. And I love that about her.
She inspires me in a lot of ways. But it really is in this particular way where she is able to hear and take on everything that is said from the good to the bad to the useless and chuck out those things that are simply intended to break her spirit because she knows that they have no value. But even better is that in spite of this, she remains herself and doesn’t let it turn her into a cruel person. Nor is she one who makes rash judgments or decisions about others simply because of their gender or their preferred genre. While I moved into a strange and frozen immobility when I got repeated Youtube DMs and messages that I had a voice these individuals wanted to f*** among many other colorful variations, she was able to just as easily brush them aside and continue with her goals and plans while also being a supportive friend who offered a kind ear and the ever-sage advice of “If someone tells you to f*** something, just send it back.”
There are all sorts of good people out there. She’s one of my favorites, and I am so grateful for her friendship and the example that she sets. She is a formidable woman in the very best sense. The world is better for people like her out there. The people who keep going despite the garbage, who recognize that it is garbage, and who throw it away and refuse to let it take up any extra space in their minds or hearts except for the rightful place of ridiculous comedy, outright mockery, or satirical revelry.