Inciting Incident Blog #14 – You Know Who I Am?

Sometimes people think I’m saying something like that to be funny, or self-depricating.

I’m really not.

I’m legitimately surprised every time someone knows who I am, let alone that they liked a thing I do. It’s not that I have low self-esteem or anything; it’s that most of my life, few people have known or been worried about anything I was doing.

This is new to me. I got beat up daily for looking too gay back in school. I was sent to the principal’s constantly for standing up for myself or wearing makeup because it was a distraction. My parents still see me as the black sheep screw-up that I was as a teenager, despite being about to graduate from Penn with three degrees with honors.

I’m really not used to this.

This weekend in Chicago, I was so nervous to meet the people I see as heroes, the people who spoke to me through their podcasts and helped me come out of my shell. The voices that brought me to the point of telling Pastor Carl and Donald Trump to go fuck themselves in public were in the same place I was going to be. I expected to be a mere one of many, waiting in line to say a few things, and then move on and return to my own planet Ris, being oblivious and frolicking around inside my own head.

That’s not what happened.

First, everyone from the show was beyond the level of nice that I could’ve ever expected, even after having spoken to most of them at that point. Lucinda and I are even new besties, but my husband still had to coach me up as we were about to walk in to the VIP meetup because I was genuinely that nervous.

The first person not directly from the show to approach me was Anna, Eli’s wife. She complimented my recent appearance on God Awful Movies, and she’s married to the funniest person I’ve ever met. I still don’t know how to process this level of niceness. I’m amazed any of them listened to something I was on, but then as the night went on, there were others who heard my appearance and started listening to the show. There were people who had either read my book or were going to. I didn’t expect people I’d never spoken to before to come up and say, “Are you Marissa?” I walk through my campus not expecting anyone to talk to me, and for the majority of that four years, it’s been true. I’m not used to being seen.

The best part was Noah telling me how much positive feedback they received about my appearance. Hanging out with my contemporaries in such fashion was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. But when I say that I’m amazed that people have been so nice to me, it’s not because I think lowly of myself. When I’m surprised that people follow our podcast, it’s not because I’m not proud of it.

I’ve been writing and producing content for more than half my life. The biggest difference between me now and four years ago when I was trying the YouTubes? I wasn’t saying anything, and it wasn’t me saying it. Anyone can punch low at commercials. Once I came out and started speaking on relevant issues instead of just wanting people to like me, remaining as neutral and passive as possible, it’s amazingly when people started to like me beyond, “oh, she’s nice.”

So trust me when I say, I’m flattered and humbled by all the kind words, gestures, and support I’ve been given recently. Most of my life I was either in hiding or being shamed for who I was. Now I’m not only being supported for who I am, but it’s being encouraged, protected, and I’m receiving opportunities I never thought I’d get in a million years. Being invited on podcasts, making appearances, having a name that someone knows beyond my inner circle… This is all new and unexpected to me, and it never stops surprising me.

With that said, I’m going to answer a few questions I’ve gotten recently…

Will I come on your podcast? Abso-fucking-lutely.

Does it matter if only five people follow it? Nope.

Will you make an appearance/do a thing/talk to this person? You bet!

I want to do all the things, because for so long, I was in a place where I couldn’t reach out to anyone or be myself. I’m not about to ever do that to someone, anyone else. But don’t be surprised if I’m amazed that you saw me here at all. I’m not used to it!

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