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So, remember the other day when I lamented the lack of more alternative non-normative voices in the infertility community? I decided to do something about it. After some hemming and hawing, I decided that not only is this something that feels needed, it's also (if I can be honest) kind of a coping mechanism for me. I work best when I have a project to sink my teeth into. If I'm project-less, I am totally adrift. I will literally roam the Internet, bored, often opening Twitter in a tab, then closing it, then opening it again, having forgotten that I just checked that tab. It's why I loved college and grad school -- I always had a project, a paper to research. It's why I love my job when it's busy: being a librarian means I get to research new stuff all the time. But anyway, I digress.
I launched ALT-IF: Alternative Infertility Voices today. I have no idea if people will submit, but I hope they will. I have a few short essays I've written, in case there's a need for more stories, but I really don't want it to just be me. Beccause I feel like even if I do eventually have a kid, this collection of voices is still important to have in a condensed all-together place, because it's not just for me.
To quote my intro post there: I’m recruiting submissions. Because the thing is, people are out there. It’s just hard to find them all in one place amid the acronyms, the ticker-signatures, the religious-bent forums, and stories that I don’t quite connect with (even though I connect with the frustrating theme itself). I want more stories from people with tattoos, who maybe don’t have a home to take a second mortgage out on for IVF (or who have crippling student loans), graduate students, people who haven’t established careers yet, people who are young (and people who aren’t, but who feel like outsiders — anybody who feels like an outsider), people who have nose rings, people who don’t believe there’s a god or a reason for any of this, people who are self-employed, agnostics, Buddhists, people who know Sindarin, LGBTQ peeps, ravers, techies, gamers whose RPG friends don’t get it, people with pink hair, the person at goth picnics who you’d never look at and think they’re jealous of that lady with a baby in a sling on the other side of the yard.
Granted, part of the problem with the feeling of there not being "alternative" IF-ers isn't that there aren't -- and many people I might perceive as "normative" are in fact feeling alternative compared to other people in their spheres -- but really distinctly "weird" people don't seem to be a normal thing in the community. (And also, yes, part of the problem may be that the stories that are being told may in fact be from alternative weird people and that's just not imparted in the stories. I get that. I want those identities to be more clear and findable.)
This may go nowhere, people may be a little miffed if they feel they're being excluded (which isn't the intention; I like to think of it as simply being a specific place for specific voices); maybe it'll take off and there will finally be a place for non-normative voices in the IF community, all together, all easily-findable, maybe even tagged with things like "raver atheist" and so on and so forth.
(Of course I'd start a project the week I'm going on vacation. But who knows, maybe walking away from it for a few days next week will mean coming home to a stuffed Tumblr submission queue...a lady can hope, right?)