I don’t know if what I’m about to rattle on about actually does involve cognitive dissonance, because I think the “contradictions” I have in mind may not be contradictory in a true sense.
I’ve been actively, genuinely participating in the ongoing diversity dialogue for the first time, and this…
I know this feel.
It’s really hard to unpack who you were as a kid, who you *were* as an adult, and who you *are* as an adult, now. At times, it’s almost like three different, warring viewpoints, and sometimes you’re not aware of the 3rd viewpoint until someone points it out to you after seeing it in your writing.
I worry that SERVANTS OF THE STORM will be criticized for a middle-class white woman’s take on what it’s like to be a mixed race teen in a poorer area. But dammit, babies, I had to try. Because there are enough books about white girls.
One of my biggest personal issues relates to slut shaming. I was raised in a very prudish household and taught that showing too much skin, caring too much about your beauty, being thin, or enjoying sex made you a bad person. And I want to write books that embrace teen sexuality in a way that would have been much more healthy for me at that age. And yet my agent and beta readers point out my innate, snarky slut shamer, rising from the depths of her long-enough jean shorts and never-red fingernails to make snide commentary on girls who wear thongs and Ugg boots. And then I feel like I’ve betrayed my readers and myself and double down in revisions to remove my bias.
The best we can do is try to improve. Try to do better. And never let fear of doing it wrong stop us from trying.