Alexandria Redding – Me Being Me

Deep breath.

I’ve been telling myself this all day today. Really, I’ve probably been saying it softly in the back of my head for years, but it’s come to the forefront the closer and closer we creep to November.

It sort of feels like I’m standing at the top of the Sandia Peak and looking over the railing, flimsy wooden slats beneath my feet and the fear that the rail will fall away at any second, leaving me falling thousands of feet to a death I get to see coming. At the same time, it also feels like coming home: like being wrapped up in a warm caring hug from my husband. These two feelings do no often exist in the same instant, but I’m now living frozen in that dual sensation, praying I’m making the right choice by doing this.

What is this you might ask. Well, in this case it’s taking the leap from 14 years of writing fanfiction into honestly trying – for real, not just on the side – to become one of the ranks of original works authors.

I went to the GRL Retreat this year and it was a fantastic experience that somehow prompted me to open my mouth during a QnA panel and ask the two questions I needed to ask to the exact right people. Midway through the first day shifted my gears from ‘reader attending awesome conference’ to ‘holy crap I’m surrounded by authors willing to help me take this leap and woah, I’m sitting at lunch with a bunch of authors’. I am surrounded by a support network that crept up on me in a fashion I had never ever expected.

See, as an author, I always thought my work would be my merit. That I’d stand in front of someone someday who’d taken notice of how much time and effort and honest to god passion I’ve put into everything and they’d tell me they had noticed my work and by the way, would you like to do this with original work? Rather, it turns out the merit has always been me.

For someone with pretty severe self-esteem issues, this is as terrifying as it is gratifying. It tells me they saw someone that could succeed, they saw passion in my words and my questions, and it tells me they believe in me and that my work will follow, whatever it may be. Let me tell you, that feels damn good.

I braved this new and scary world and I asked questions where I needed to, collected contacts like I once collected Dir en grey merchandise and now I hold the keys to a whole new kingdom. All I’ve got to do is take a deep breath, tell myself I can and will do this, and then fucking do it.

I’ll always be me, unapologetically, energetically me. Which also means I won’t be giving up my fanfic writing to do this. I won’t be quitting my day job in IT and I certainly won’t be sacrificing things to a publishing company that makes me change everything I write to what they want (which has happened to me in the past with a mere magazine submission). I’ll remain me, a fan of bands and shows and comics. Me who loves my online friends as much as my offline ones. Me who owns my identity, my sexuality, and me who does the best I can to be as inclusive as possible.

So here I am and here’s my published penname: Alexandria Redding. And to be as me as I can be, here’s my fanfic penname: cadkitten. Welcome to all that I am and I hope you want this as much as I do!

Logo done by Olivia Talei @OnliTal on Twitter (4/18/2020)

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