Sunday, February 8, 2015

When someone says this to you...

"...If you've made enemies, Fenna, it's because of your approach, not your ideas. You're unnecessarily aggressive. You can tell yourself that's what the truth deserves, but I'd disagree. You come across as angry and unstable. If you really believe in the ideas you've shared with me, I'd hope your goal would be to help change behavior instead of simply trying to prove you're right..."

Let me just tell you how not to have a conversation with me "angry and unstable". And with that, I generally respond with, "Go fuck yourself." In this case, I wished him the best of luck and told him I'd be blocking him from now on.

Do you know what I am absolutely fucking tired of? I am so tired of being told I need to tone my shit down in order to make everyone feel better about my opinions! It is never going to happen. It is not my job to find the words that make you feel better about my disagreeing with you. And if I come across as angry, IT IS BECAUSE I AM.

Let me be clear about this : I am angry every single day. I am an extremely angry person. I know this about myself. I'm not trying to change it.

My anger fuels me to be who I am in this world. My anger is a constant reminder to me of all of the injustices I see on every level, from my own life, to the lives of my closest friends, to the way my government operates, to the violence in this world. My anger keeps my eyes open. My anger wakes me up every morning and gets me back in the fight. My anger helps me seek out new people and new experiences so I can learn as much as I can about this fucked up crazy world. My anger is my passion for everything in my life and my unwillingness to dismiss even the little annoyance or to judge any other human being. My anger is important and essential to my entire character, and it is not a bad thing, and I do not ever want to let it go. The day I wake up and I'm not angry about something is that day that I decided to give up on everything.

As for being unstable? Well, that is a laugh. That is a label put on me by people who want everything to fit in a nice little box. They want everything to be a certain way. They want women to be polite and pretty and not vocal and not pissed off, and that is just never going to happen. I am a fucking rock. I am a strong, sensitive, loyal, and non judgmental friend who will go out of her way for any person that matters to her. If you have not ever seen my heart in action, it is because you are too busy dismissing me as angry and unstable. You don't deserve to see what I have to offer. Take your fucking labels and your kowtowing to the lowest common denominator and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I don't need you...and clearly, you don't think you need me. So on that, we agree.

There was more to that e-mail that I quoted above. There was more about my outburst...because that is what happens when angry women take action and the community doesn't like it; it's called an "outburst". There was more about my reputation and him being scared of me. There was more about him meeting my internet stalker and how clearly I was stalked and bullied and harassed for a month with reason, because the entire city of Akron is afraid of me. What wasn't in that e-mail, because he has never once bothered to actually engage me in conversation, was all the months and hours of volunteering I have put into this community. What he didn't write about was the hours of my time and my services that I gave to my internet stalker before writing an extremely balanced review to which my harasser overreacted. There was no mention of the years I put forth in helping organize the largest arts event in Akron and all the people I met therein and everything I was able to see from the inside. There was no mention of me walking the entire city of Akron, the entire city of Kent, all of Hudson, parts of Cleveland, and every store in Fairlawn, by myself. I handed out every single poster that was hung for the arts event and managed to meet a LOT of people with a LOT of ideas. And there wouldn't ever be any mention of the time and effort I have put forth in this city, because he was too busy listening to everyone else and deciding that I am the problem. Because he decided that the way I speak is more important than what I say. Because he decided that I should be different and that the problem simply must be the girl with the loud mouth and the angry attitude.

Because OBVIOUSLY, who I am is not determined by every thing I have ever done and is instead determined by the voices of a small percentage of people who don't like the way I said things.

But why is it surprising that I would be boiled down to the very smallest percentage of who I am?

I've decided to make this post a LOT longer by including my original e-mail. Because I reread it and I just don't see the angry and unstable girl everyone wants to make me out to be. A passionate person? Absolutely, but angry and unstable? Guys, I'm just not seeing it. Am I totally insane?
I'm sure I mentioned this, but my mom and I have a stuffed animal business and have participated in every event Crafty Mart, as well as other organizations, has hosted and we (and other vendors) have been successful about a quarter of the time. What the people behind Crafty Mart and the Gay Games pop up and the Marathon pop up and Porch Rockr and every other event that keeps happening in Akron don't want to admit is that Akron doesn't have the population to support all of the shopping that continues to happen. Akron can't support it's three (now two) malls and it can't support multiple pop ups happening all over the city. Every one THINKS they can, and to be fair, the organizers make their money off of the vendors who lose money, but Akron can't support these types of events. Furthermore, these aren't the events Akron needs. Akron doesn't include its black population in these events or its youth. Akron only includes a very small part of the white population, including hipsters. But everyone keeps trying to have these events and won't listen to reason.

And yes, if you talk to these organizers, they will call it a success. Because their three friends will do well and all of the other vendors who didn't do well won't talk to the organizers because they don't listen.

I see what you're doing in the city. I really like that you're active and excited. But it looks like you're falling into the same problem that has perpetuated for years. Akron keeps trying to be Cleveland and every other town in America where hipster indie festivals work, but in the meantime, the major shopping plazas, movie theaters, restaurants, and music venues continue to close. Because shopping is not the answer for Akron. We can't boost our economy by trying to get people to spend money they don't have all while ignoring 75% of our population.

Hipster indie events aren't what Akron needs. There is a lot to do and a lot that can be done if we stop trying to follow the lead of everywhere else and start getting to know each other and pay attention to each other. But even you aren't doing that now, and you're still new. I follow you on your social media and I read your blog, but you're still missing it. You're chasing after that small percentage of the population who keeps missing the point, and I just hope that this e-mail won't fall on deaf ears.

And I'm still wondering what your monthly Akro-box will do for the city. If anyone has the money for this type of box, what good will it serve? I mean, I see that you're including events in your box, so I guess that's an interesting twist, but I can't see how it will help.

Over in Cuyahoga Falls, they just built a big new grocery store, another Chipotle, a gym, a Pet Supplies Plus, and another huge theater. In Highland Square, they're trying to get Mustard Seed in (which the neighborhood needs) and there's the new construction next to the library...but that new building will take businesses out of the other side of the street, and there are empty storefronts that have been empty for years. Downtown is a ghost town. But what we need is MORE shopping events where people can buy t-shirts? That's not what we need at all. What we need is a community center. What we need are more community gardens. What we need is a Fuller Center for Housing. What we need is a solid music and art program for the youth of our city. And countless other things that I can't even think of. But what we don't need is more support to the people who run Crafty Mart, trying to encourage them to have more pop ups in a city where businesses continue to close every year.

Please, don't be that new guy who comes into town and makes friends with all the people who continue to do all the same things over and over. I've been active in this city for years, and I have made a fuckton of enemies for the very ideas posted in the e-mail. But I thought you were a new guy with new ideas. Your ideas invigorated me, one more time, to attempt to participate in the community in this city. So please, bring that new energy and innovation and NEW IDEAS that are what this city actually needs.


P.S. You should really check out Wandering Aesthetics and talk to those guys and see what they're doing. It's awesome. They need to be featured on your blog.

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