Today I sent off a check for $47.13 to the United States Treasury. Normally, that would be a cause for Not-Happy-Making, but I see it as a personal and moral victory. You see, that money was my estimated taxes for my earnings at Blogmutt, the blog writing service I’ve been working for since April. Now, getting payments sent to my PayPal account every month or so is one thing, but nothing says “I’m a professional” anything like sending taxes to the Feds. So today, for the first day since I started there, I truly felt like a Professional Writer. No, it’s not my day job. Heck, I couldn’t last two weeks on what I’ve earned so far. But I’m getting paid for my writing (with the occasional by-line), and it’s really freaking awesome.
I want to get this plug out to anyone who is interested in getting started as a freelance writer. Scott Yates has put together a wonderful group of writers who are supportive and fun to work with (the micromobs email threads are often hilarious). He’s a very hands-on boss, encouraging and knowledgeable about his business. The company’s structure (from the writer side) is designed to promote experience and growth, with perks offered for quantity and quality of posts.
Of course, the best thing about being a Blogmutt writer is that it has given me carte blanche to indulge my research addiction. In fact, these efforts have opened up a whole new world for me: Twitter, LindedIn, Mashable, and Pinterest, to name only a few areas of the Interwebs I’m now exploring. I’m falling in love with learning again, and getting paid for the privilege.
That being said we are still talking about the Internet, and I’m still (as Fey calls me) a FaceBook whore. The giddy combination of News from Home and social activism has sunk into my bones, evolving me from a reluctant beginner to a true believer. Maybe it’s my flighty Gemini nature, or it’s the fact that I can now get multiple daily doses of George Takei‘s wicked sense of humor, but for better or worse, FaceBook has become my new go-to place online.
So what does my site look like? LGBT rights, personal development, news news news, and of course the beloved picture memes. For some reason, these visual koans have become a new sort of online language. What a person shares often tells more about them than the scant words they type into their status bar. Here are three memes I’ve shared on my timeline, and what they mean about me.
Be Weird. Be Random.
For so much of my life, I have felt like an outsider. Unable to alter my personality to meet societal norms, I gave up on “fitting in” very early in life. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized what a blessing this was for me. I never had to unlearn the bad habits of masking and fake personas so many of my friends did. Granted, my personas exist, but they are all me—just fragments I choose to share or hide at my whim. The idea of creating a false persona to meet societal norms never really seemed plausible to me. It was too much work, too much to remember, and just too difficult to pull off. Fortunately, authenticity is coming back in style with a vengeance. Who knew I was a trend-setter?
The Notion of a Radical
I was raised in a very conservative culture, where problems were not discussed publicly and maintaining the status quo was the goal. No matter how wrong something was, the message I got was that Nice People keep problems to themselves and Don’t Make Trouble. The thought of being a radical was outlandish—protests were for New York and San Francisco and all those other liberal places.
So many years (and two states) later, I’ve finally discovered my Inner Radical. I’ve found my voice again, and I’m not afraid to be disturbed when the status quo is completely FUBAR. In my capacity as a Muck Relocation Engineer (Rake Dept.), I’ve learned that speaking up, sharing ideas, and disturbing the peace can sometimes be a Very Nice Thing done by Very Nice People (even Christians!).
The Power of Motion
These last few years have been an education in action for me. For years, I kept myself back for fear of offending, for fear of failing, for fear of being attacked for my beliefs. But I’ve learned that the worst thing you can do in life is nothing, and the worst thing you can feel is nothing. Even the tiniest action can have enormous consequence over time, if it is done with intention. As I have grown stronger and braver, I find myself taking actions that would have terrified me before. I keep putting my foot out there, and when the shoe doesn’t drop I take it as a sign to continue. It’s frightening and exhilarating and exhausting at times, but it sure as hell beats stagnation.
A Little Lady
I have never been much of an artist. Coming from a family of painters and sculptors, this was quite a disappointment to me. But what I could do was doodle, and I’ve been doodling this little pachyderm (I call her Penny) for years. Last month, inspired by Steve Pavlina’s Passive Income Series, I decided to try my hand at a true Penny graphic. Pavlina says your best way to earn income is to provide value. Well, Penny is my little contribution to the world. With the help of some gorgeous public domain artwork, Penny has embarked from the world of pencil doodles to an adventure in art and nature. I’ve even opened up a little CafePress store where I could sell the design.
This took quite a bit of courage, but I’m glad I did it. I’ve also started an Affiliate Program on Ten Thousand Soapboxes. Initially, any funds earned will go toward buying the 10KSoapboxes.com domain name. After that, who knows? Either way, I only affiliate with progressive, forward-thinking companies. So I’d appreciate if you took a moment and checked out some of the folks listed there.
This week on FaceBook, a lot of cool things got posted. And one wild flash from my past!
This picture was taken by my dear friend Marla Stein DeWitt, who in 1989 joined me on a Star Trek cruise out of Miami. And no matter how strong my voice becomes, or how far I come as an activist or writer, there will always be that girl inside me who squeed at meeting Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and tons of other Trek stars all those years ago.
And OMG—I was soooooo skinny! (Check the purse and 80s haircut!) 😀