I woke up on New Year’s Day with a burning desire to shake the metaphorical table. I spent last year trying to get my blog off the ground, put my name out there, and find my way into the sex writer in-crowd. I’ve enjoyed being part of this community and the opportunities I’ve had because of it, but I also feel stuck. I fell off creating content in the last months of 2018 due to my personal life crumbling in front of my eyes, but that really wasn’t the root of my problem. My voice was stifled, and I was the person stifling it.
I made a tweet a few days ago about building my own lane in 2019 and I genuinely feel ready to do just that.
I wasn’t being honest in my writing because I was too busy trying to toe the line between being woke enough to avoid a call-out and palatable enough to find acceptance in the (overwhelmingly white) sex blogging community. Nobody likes an angry (confrontational, antagonistic, or contrarian) Black woman, right?
But that’s not why I’m here. This May will mark 2 years since I bought the Sexology Bae domain and started developing this brand. I set out to create a space for me to educate others about topics across the sex & sexuality spectrum from my perspective as a millennial Black woman from the US South, because it was a voice I desperately needed to hear and I got tired of waiting for it. I’ve been speaking to issues that are important to me, but there’s a clear lack of authenticity in my voice because I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing and falling out of favor with the powers that be.
I found myself trying to fit in a box that was already overstuffed and wondering why I felt like my limbs were hanging out. I felt so much discomfort as a writer but considered it part of growing pains and not the result of trying over and over again to make myself something I’m not. I won’t go into specifics yet, but I used my time away to interrogate what I really want to say with this blog, and I’ll be sharing pieces of those realizations as time goes on.
It’s hard creating a brand that is separate from yourself but is also rooted in your personality, ideas, and beliefs. I’m working my way towards making Sexology Bae less of an alter ego and more of an extension of myself. But in order to do that, I have to be honest with myself and my audience about what’s important to me.
Being silent about the things that bother me won’t get me or this blog anywhere. If I allow opportunities to educate others to pass me by, my role as an educator is moot. Bringing up problems within this industry might make me less popular, but that’s a risk I have to be willing to take. Thankfully, this blog is still primarily a hobby and not a necessary income stream for me, so I have the privilege to take risks that other folks with similar identities may not.
One of the things I love most about this blog/brand is its constant evolution and capacity for change. I stepped into 2019 challenging myself to confront those awkward or problematic moments that exemplify the disparity between words & actions within the sex education/writing arena. It’s cute when you get tagged in a Twitter thread for folks looking to follow sex writers of color and your site gets boosted and you get a few hundred new followers, but what about when you create a call to action for marginalized white folks to examine how they’re complicit in racism and there’s silence?
I don’t believe in perfect politics, so this whole honesty and challenging the status quo thing is probably something I’ll slip up on or otherwise fail to hold myself and others accountable to as time goes on. I’m writing this as a form of accountability and an attempt to build community to open the doors for radical honesty. And just like I plan on putting myself out there to hold folks accountable, I’m also ready to own up to any mistakes I make along the way while figuring this out. No one is above critique, regardless of their identities or position in a community.
My hope is that by pushing myself to be honest and use my voice the way I’ve always intended, I can get that much closer to making this space, this brand, this identity what I first imagined it to be all those years ago.