The three feelings I would choose to feel most often are connection, creativity, and excitement. Presenting my ideas in front of people is my favorite way to generate these feelings, but I realize some people will hate my perspective and/or who I am. For instance, I’m a feminist and mixed race. When I was a child in the south, I remember when another child threw rocks at me, yelling racial slurs, and I don’t think it’s just a matter of my thinking to see that some antipathy exists toward me simply for not being one color or another, and that being out in front of the public could put me in the line of hate.
I sometimes don’t want to perform because I imagine someone shooting up my theater or being doxxed and having my family threatened as a consequence of my being drawn to the spotlight and speaking about things that matter. I remember things like gamergate and how women just trying to do their jobs and not even seeking a lot of attention got noticed for just being women in an industry that the trolls felt should only be for men, and they had their lives completely upended, and it feels a bit glib to say for them that whether the result was good or bad is just a matter of their thinking about the circumstance: their lives, safety, and families were threatened, they were stalked in their homes, they only felt safe when they were able to move and hide. Those results are not ones I’m looking for. How do I deal with my fears of violence borne out of racism and misogyny that I feel I am potentially bringing on just by putting myself out there?