The Evolving Narcissa Deville

At the start of my blog almost a decade ago now, I wrote about anything and everything. Though political themes seemed to run through every post, writing seemed to be one of the major themes that stuck, and helped to grow my brand. But as I’ve grown as a blogger I’ve wanted to branch out to other types of topics, there’s more to me than just writing, and so I’ve worked to evolve my brand to include pop culture, LGBT issues (particularly trans issues) political, beauty, technology and of course writing.

All with questionable results.

I’ve noticed a theme for a while now. Posts specifically about writing will get likes, maybe even a comment or two. (Less so now than in the past) but posts about anything not writing related, seem to go unseen. I get the impression, and perhaps this is incorrect, that those who follow me want to see me stick to writing only, rather than branching out as a creative person. I’ve never been one to stick to just one idea of anything and I certainly won’t start now. I’m trying to balance the wants of those who would actually read/watch what I do, and what I actually want to do. Ultimately no I’m not blogging for likes, but knowing people read something you wrote is something every writer wants isn’t it?

What I Learned While Vlogging

vlogOver the last few weeks I’ve steadily been trying to get more and more into exploring alternative means to spread my trans goddess agenda across the land. While for years blogging was my main source for spreading this message, increasingly I’ve wanted to explore more vocal and visual avenues, namely podcasting and vlogging. This week while recording a vlog I discovered something interesting I hadn’t considered before. By expressing my thoughts in a vocal manner I had touched upon an answer to a question I was struggling to overcome, how to balance my newfound love of vlogging and podcasting with my general writing schedule and work schedule. I had noticed that with my ever increasing presence in outlets I had not previously explored, my writing was beginning to suffer in the process.

How was I to balance everything and somehow attempt to have any kind of work-life balance?

Record vlogs on Saturday.

As I wrote down the thought after I’d finished filming, more thoughts had come to me. Friday and Saturday are my days off from my day job, meaning that these would be the best days to do the majority of my creative work. Sundays were the easiest days to record podcasts, but they could be edited on Friday to be posted on Saturday. The vlogs would be recorded on Saturdays for the week, edited on Sunday and posted on their respective days. And the same would go for blog posts and essays, leaving me Monday-Thursday at the very least to work on novels, (both reading and writing).

It was such a simple concept I could almost hardly believe it had taken so long to come up with. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t done such things before, but for whatever reason, it was only when I vocalized my thoughts through my vlog that I was able to reach the most obvious conclusion to my problem.

A Change of Pace

days3If you know nothing else about me, you likely know that I’m kind of a big fan of change. So much so that I recently (for no other reason than a change) changed my phone from the iPhone 7+ to the One Plus 3T. It’s actually very much my favorite change to date, and I realize that to make such changes is a huge matter of being fortunate enough to do so (because goddess knows technology is rarely if ever cheap). But occasionally these changes are not necessarily ones that require a great deal of money (if any). They can be as simple as changing what genre I’m writing in (which happens frequently), or changing a small thing or other about my podcast graphic (which I’ve done twice now). Occasionally, it’s a change in my brand and how I showcase myself on the internet. For years now, almost yearly in fact, I’ve made some kind of branding update to my blog. It’s become so common, I’m sure that most of my readers probably just think of it as this normal thing that I do, because I get bored with the same thing, and the great thing about being a graphic designer (and partly my downfall) is that I have the technology and the means to make these changes on my own, without any extra financial cost to myself.

I’ve come to realize that I’m actually not alone in this, my friend Adrianne who’s also a designer, has expressed that she’s rebranded herself several times, and that actually makes me feel better about the situation. Even moving my website from WordPress to Wix, and then moving my blog back to WordPress while keeping the general site with Wix, was a major design change. But one that felt necessary all the same.

I want to make it a point not to redesign myself all the time going forward, but I have been working on some changes to the way in which my site currently operates. It isn’t a major design overhaul, but it is a formatting overhaul that I think is ultimately going to suit me more going forward because it’s going to create a more structured framework for which all future page additions will be designed. It won’t go into effect until I’ve got all current pages accounted for and prepped in the new format, so this is more of an informal announcement. Something new is coming. Relatively soon-ish.

The Lost Competition

days3In mid-December, I very quietly entered the Writer’s Digest Short Story competition. A day or so earlier I had received an email from Writer’s Digest reminding me that the competition deadline was coming up, and for  a moment I didn’t think anything really of it. I had entered only one other Writer’s Digest competition years ago, with little success, and so I debated whether or not it would be worth entering again now. My writing skills had increased, I thought, but the genre thing always tended to be a sticking point in a lot of these competitions. If nothing else I decided, no one has to know. I told only my mother and I think maybe my boyfriend that I was even going to enter, mostly because, in the chance I didn’t win, I didn’t really want to make a big deal out of it. It was a lesson I learned when I applied for a new position with my job. The first time I had been vocal and talked with most everyone I knew, and when I didn’t get it, I was both heartbroken and a little embarrassed. The second time around, three months later, when the opportunity came up again, I kept my application to myself. That time I got the position and I learned a valuable lesson too, so when it came time to entering this competition, I opted to keep it to myself that I had any designs to do so, until such times as I either won or lost. So why am I talking about it now given that I did lose? Partly because I wanted to share my feelings, about the situation; which I’m kind of conflicted about— on the one hand I’m disappointed of course, on the other, I can’t help but feel that losing the competition was a fitting end to the otherwise exhausting month that tends to be February. Frankly given the 2016 we left and what 2017 could be, it just feels like the icing on a shitty cake and I can’t help but be amused by it low-key.

On Design

days3One of my earliest goals for this website was to challenge myself as both a writer and a graphic designer.  Because I don’t work in my field, my design has to be largely work that I do for myself, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be somewhat limiting. It’s not for a lack of trying that I don’t work in my field either, immediately after graduation I applied to as many graphic design companies as I felt qualified for, and even some I felt entirely unqualified for, and most couldn’t even be bothered to send a form rejection letter. Randomly I had one actual interview with a graphic design firm that was local, four months after I got my current job, a few days before Christmas. I thought the interview went well enough, but being that it was a few days before Christmas they informed me they’d get back to me with a copywriting test for one of the two positions that was open. They never did, and wondering when they would actually be open again, I never ended up emailing them back either, and so nothing came of it. I later learned that a friend’s boyfriend had applied there with similar results (and he had actually called several times), so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

Graphic design can be a difficult field to break into, particularly if like me you tend to work more outside the mainstream bubble. The fact that I went against the grain and printed my portfolio with a matte-ish black background was a subject of excitement for many, and debate for others. It was as if no one in the world had ever considered the concept of a portfolio that rather than printed on crisp white pages, be printed on crisp black pages. I got loads of compliments from people, the most common of which being, I love that but I could never pull that off. There was nothing particularly special about using a black background versus a white background (though make no mistake, the background color absolutely changes the way you see the colors and you respond to the design), and yet perhaps this is part of the reason finding work in my field was particularly difficult. There were plenty of designers, less original than myself who managed to make it.

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I’m not bitter about not getting that job, or even not working in the field. In truth, though I enjoy graphic design, I view it as more of a hobby, a thing I do between writing projects to stay in the realm of the creative yet not quite writing. I prefer to continue to answer only to myself (I’m a harsh enough critic, thank you), than have to worry about getting approval for my designs from fifty thousand people, none of whom can agree on what direction they want to go in.

Avoiding the Dark Stuff

days3Self care is a word I’ve used a lot lately, from my Thoughtful Thursday post about what happens when you don’t have the energy to care for yourself, to pretty much everything else. For me self care has been avoiding news that isn’t a comedy slant like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee or the Daily Show. I find it’s a lot less upsetting to listen to the news when there’s jokes attached to it, and right now, we could all use as much laughs as we can manage to get. Self care for me has also included rewatching my favorite tv shows and YouTube shows.

I hoped it would include perhaps more writing, and more serious conversations, and in some ways it has, like in my podcast where Adrianne and I do tend to talk about some serious stuff in between weight loss, dick jokes, and whatever else we get sidetracked with. But sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is take a nap. Watch something you enjoy. Read something you enjoy, put on makeup as a way to face the day. Because the dark bullshit is all around us, whether in our minds, or outside our front door, and trust I don’t need to indulge my demons anymore than I already do. Self care looks different for everyone, and I can’t talk about it enough because it’s that important.

What Comes Next

days3Over the weekend, a few things happened, not the least of which was the inauguration, which even though I knew it was going to happen, I still couldn’t help but feel rather depressed when it actually did. It happened to be a day I was spending with my boyfriend, but even that couldn’t seem to pull me out of my funk. I decided, that perhaps some retail therapy might make me feel better. Only I had barely made it out the front door when I realized, that I didn’t want to deal with people on this particular day. Online shopping might have made me feel a little better, but I decided what I really wanted to spend my money on wasn’t something material. So I decided instead to spend my money in a more constructive way. Or perhaps a more symbolic way by donating the money I would have spent on god only knows what, to various organizations who need our help more than ever. If the so-called ‘President’ has united Americans, it is largely in our dislike and distrust of him. If the Women’s Marches across the world taught us anything it’s that while we may seem like we are more polarized than ever both as a nation and a world, Hillary’s words are more true now than ever, “We have more in common than we have differences.” We can stand united in the rallying cry of #notmypresident.

It’s comforting to know that there are more people who support us than him, yet how one shows that support, particularly for agencies that will undoubtably find themselves under attack from this administration, is what will make all the difference.

Personal Interlude

days3As I reach the cusp of my deadline, and I struggle to finish, I find myself running behind on the things that I planned to do, like edit my podcast that should have been up Saturday. Write this blog post which should have gone up this morning, work on the blog posts for the rest of the week which I needed to have scheduled by now. Everything’s falling behind as I work on completing what is hopefully the last round of edits. It’s an exciting, if tedious process, and one that doesn’t leave room for much of anything else. I’m happy to say that I am making progress, and in spite of a sort of existential crisis yesterday; feeling my quarter life crisis, which was aided by Barnes and Noble retail therapy, alcohol, and a little time with my boyfriend I find myself slightly more off course than I would have otherwise liked.

Still perhaps these things are good for my future of writing, what would I even have to blog about this Monday evening if it weren’t for my quarter life crisis setting back my edits a few hours. I’m still technically within my deadline assuming I can finish thirteen chapters in five and a half hours. It’ll be tight, but I’ve done harder things. In the meantime, there’s work to be done.

Good Riddance 2016!

days3Ah, 2016, the year most of us would just as soon rather forget. This was a pretty bad year overall for pretty much everybody. Not for nothing, 2016 was the year we all decided to go back to 1933/1966 depending on how you look at it. We’ve taken a collective step backwards it feels, and while not all of this year was bad, there were far too many elements that I could have just as soon done without. Not the least of which involves politics and the role the media played in painting the candidates as equally bad when that just wasn’t the case. A lot of journalists better than my little blog have handled this rant far better so I won’t get into it. Frankly this was just the tip of the iceberg as far as 2016 was concerned. 

Now however we find ourselves once more on the precipice of another year, perhaps a much better year than the one we’re leaving behind. Part of it may be simply a state of mind, how you look at the year, 2015 was certainly questionable for some, frankly every year in history was bad for someone. Probably lots of people, but I’m hoping in spite of everything for a better 2017. We may not have gotten the president we needed or deserved, #notmypresident but I’m going to carry on anyway. Because there’s much work to be done, and hopefully we’ll learn from this shit show. If decent individuals want to win in 2018 we need to start now. Rallying the new angry base that knows that this is not normal, nor is it okay.

The Personal is Political

“It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.” – Laverne Cox

days3Over the last few weeks since the election I’ve written and discussed politics, on this site and throughout my podcast a lot more than I had ever intended, and for a minute I thought that perhaps I should apologize for that fact. Only, I’m not sorry. Resting on our laurels is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. I said it in the second podcast and I maintain it now, we as liberals got complacent because we thought we were sitting pretty and 2010 dealt us a devastating blow. We might have learned something from that in 2012 and 2014 and 2016, but clearly not. And now we must face the consequences of these actions. Many of us are looking ahead to 2018, having finally woken up from the haze we’d all been living in for the last eight years, but in the meantime I feel that I have a responsibility to talk about my experiences and my journey, recognizing that I am coming from a unique place of privilege. Being able to share my voice is imperative for so many people who are not able to, but whether I realize it or not, the very nature of being open about my transition is a political act.

Being visible, particularly in this ‘new’ America (that isn’t really all that new), is to be political. To say that I am not only worthy of love, but I am worthy of respect and equal treatment as a woman, is very much political. So I won’t stop talking politics or being visible as a trans person. I wouldn’t know how even if I wanted to.

Being trans may not be the most interesting fact about me, but it is a part of my life, and one that I cannot simply ignore or try to gloss over. Because far too many of us aren’t so fortunate. They cannot afford to be public about who they are, and frankly they shouldn’t have to be if they don’t want to. But then, being quiet has never been my strong suit in the past, so why start now?