This has been a very clarifying year for me.
Shortly after +Living Games Conference
, I was in a conference with a fellow key-noter where the phrase "tending our mad mystics" got stuck in my head. and it stayed there.
I've been rolling the idea around and around in my head.
Along with my sudden burst of motion where hygiene boxes at our conventions are concerned, I've been sorting out what parts of our community I consider the most vital, the most vulnerable, the most in need of my energy and protection.
I had a conversation with +Mark Diaz Truman
before Gen Con, right after The Post, where he infuriated me by dividing my world into "my constituency" and "his constituency". but again, he forced me to clarify my position, and to rethink my actions, my position, my purpose. (Mark and I have fought viciously a couple of times since The Post. Our current peace has been hard-won and isn't because I think he has made right on the fallout of The Post, so please don't misinterpret me acknowledging his pushing me to be better as anything other than that.)
Then, I went to Hive (hive.org
) - while it was nothing like I thought it would be, it was also clarifying and galvanizing.
Before Hive, I told +darren watts
that one of my panels for this year's Metatopia would be "Tending Our Mad Mystics..." and Vinny said "WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???"
after wrangling back and forth, I was able to state clearly that our community excommunicates people with big, messy, inconvenient or uncomfortable emotion, with a disproportionate burden placed on women to keep their reactions tidy.
And if our community is going to be truly intersectional and to support all
gamers (game designers, game artists, game professionals, game verbers), that we had better start building better responses and developing better mechanisms for coping and redirecting the damage inflicted by a mad mystic, and fast.
At Hive, I was able to state clearly that my life's work is to redistribute entrenched, toxic power structures to protect the most vulnerable and most under-served of our community. That includes our mad mystics especially.
In an earlier post tonight, I mentioned that I saw an online community burned to the ground - it went down in flames because there wasn't anybody who was prepared to catch and redirect the energy behind the fury, and to help us navigate the field of hurt feelings, backlash, *shame*
and conflict that happened during and after that scorching. We weren't any good at tending our mad mystics.
Since then, I've been able to help ease at least one community through the fraught early days and to sidestep the "BUT MY FEELINGS ARE BIG AND THEY HURT!!" test to validate the feelings and put responsibility back onto the person feeling them. It's terribly important for us to learn how to support somebody who is emotionally compromised, and to help them interact with the world in a way that protects them and the possible recipients of that energy.
Treating our mad mystics like damaged goods and pushing them out the door abandons our most vulnerable community members, and that isn't acceptable to me. It sets a precedent for punishment over rehabilitation, for excommunication over reconciliation. That is not acceptable.
What does a mystic do? They connect to the divine. They see the world in ways the rest of us don't. They're unbridled joy and enthusiasm when they aren't a whirling vortex of other emotions. They test us and push us to do better, to be better, to be more patient and more thoughtful. They bring an intrinsic value to my world, and the idea of them being shut out by the community because we're not willing to learn how to work with them devastates me.
(This thread WILL be tightly moderated. No picking fights with me. I'm not in the mood for anybody unloading their baggage onto me.)