I am very strange.
Not like, peanut butter taxidermy strange, but in the sense that, while I wouldn’t turn a once-beloved pet into an eviscerated furry bird-feeder, but strange enough that I’d try to relay that concept to you and think that it’s a functional analogy. That’s why I like safe space.
I spend a lot of time and energy managing my strangeness. it can make it difficult to communicate meaningfully otherwise, and it’s easy to put people off with it, which I don’t want to do. I’m not ashamed of it (most of the time), but it takes a bit of managing to make sure that things still get done. I make extra sure that things make sense to me, and that I am making sense to people.
Nerd Nite is a safe space where you make sense to other people. So is Ignite. During a presentation, you have a speech, you have slides, you have an audience and an objective. You want them to learn something, or laugh at something, or feel something, and take steps to make that happen. Whatever you do, it needs to make sense to them.
Last night we were at the KW Poetry Slam, and I remembered what it’s like to be in a safe space where I only have to make sense to myself. Slam poetry can feel off the cuff or stream of consciousness, using disconnected metaphors to hit a central theme. Sometimes you don’t get the meaning, but the sentiment of the poet carries through. Sometimes the performance is for them, and the audience is an afterthought. There are no slide shows.
There’s something really liberating about not feeling obligated to make sense to anyone else. I can talk about why those warm acts of affection in a relationship are like bread without having to explain the extended metaphor that feats of romance are cake, and you can’t have cake every day without just getting tired of cake. I can refer to the high tide of the yodeling ocean, the moment in the shower when you feel like you’re alone and you sing even though everyone else in the house can hear you.
It’s a lot of work to manage my strangeness, and sometimes I’m just glad for places where the only rules are “Don’t hate” and “No props”.
Anyway, we’re doing VEDA on the channel this month, vlogging every day in April!, so check that out. There’ll be videogames, vlogs, music, and podcasts every day.