I have a Patreon. This isn’t me advertising, that link goes to their homepage. (If you’re interested in supporting me via Patreon, there’s a link on the Support page.) I am mentioning this because I want to talk about the fact that I’ve been having some impostor syndrome going on.
Talking about money is always awkward. It’s awkward even when I do it with my partner, and we’re married. So coming to the internet to talk about money is a little bit like being in that dream where I show up at the SAT naked and sans graphing calculator. (Come on, just naked? I could still take the SAT like that.)
And yet here I am. Talking about money.
I work a day job that doesn’t actually pay a living wage. If I had to pay all the bills of a single person on my own (including rent), I couldn’t live close enough to my job to work there. Even with my partner, there are more months we end up with a double digit number in our bank accounts than not. And that’s normal. Across America, there are way too many people in that situation right now.
After my day job (or around my day job, on weekends and during breaks) I engage in the work of my heart. I engage in writing, in discussing, in trying to improve the world or at least my corner of it. (I don’t always do that in the most productive way possible, but we’re all human and sometimes that means we just can’t let someone being wrong on the internet go…)
This is what I love doing. This is what I would do even if I was living in a cave in the woods. I mean, I have no idea how I’d get internet to the cave, but I’d still do it. Which is why it makes me uncomfortable to ask for money for doing it. Because if I would do it for free, I should, right?
So I’ve spent a lot of time dithering about it. Telling myself that of course it would be gauche to ask people for money. To even suggest money. I mean, I’m bettering the world, right? And that’s without even getting into the socialization that tells me as a woman I owe it to people to take care of them. To help them. That I should be grateful for thanks and praise, because really, as a woman, that’s what’s “appropriate.”
I started a Patreon, and I “soft launched” it by dropping it into the comments of a Plus thread I thought no one would really pay attention to. I still haven’t “hard launched” it because, well, how do you do that? How do you tell people, “Hey, here’s an opportunity to express your appreciation in a tangible form,” without feeling like you’re sitting on a virtual street corner with a cardboard sign and a coffee cup in front of you? Awkward, right?
But I’m doing it. I’m putting it out there. Because people deserve to be compensated for their work, even if it’s something they love so much they’d do it for free. That’s why it’s called work, and not a hobby or a pastime. And maybe, if I do it, if I get brave enough to say “this is work,” then other folks (be they women, people of color, queer, marginalized in some way) will think that regardless of what society tells them about shutting up and being grateful for what they have, they too deserve to be compensated for the work they do.