I’ve officially moved into this website (yay!) so I want to talk about how this place came to be and what it means to me. I’ve had personal websites since I was coding them in Notepad in the late 1990s and I’ve had blogs since blogs became a thing. For years, I had two separate sets of online places – one for photography and one for creative writing and personal stuff. This made sense while photography was my only job and required a more business-y online presence, and when I was no longer able to do photography as my only job it didn’t occur to me to merge everything.
Until I couldn’t think of a good reason not to. I mean, I could think of lots of reasons not to but they weren’t good ones. Here are some of those not good reasons.
I figured people who followed me for photography wouldn’t want to bother with the other stuff. But since I’m not running a photography business any more, this doesn’t matter in the slightest. If people aren’t interested in the stuff I do outside of taking pictures, they can stop reading my blog. The same goes for my writing. I thought people who were into my poetry wouldn’t give a damn about my pictures. Again, so what?
I felt weird about connecting different areas of my creative life. I still don’t really know why, other than it’s all attached to my general commitment-phobia, like if everything’s connected and I’m just being myself with everything I do in one place, I can’t cut and run. Not that I had any reason to want to do that or can even think of one now. I just like escape routes and not being tied too tightly to anything. I actually AM myself and everything I do is part of that so I can’t get away from it without getting away from myself and maybe sometimes I actually just want to get away from myself. There’s a nice little flashback to a conversation in an eating disorders clinic in my early twenties.
I didn’t want to let go of names that had meant a lot to me for a very long time. I’d been creating and sharing photography under the name RockstarVanity since 2005. I’d been published under that name. I was known by it. It was me. December Bliss, as a website title and online handle, hadn’t been around for quite as long but it was still part of me. I know I haven’t literally killed anyone here but it feels a little bit like maybe I kind of have. What I’ve actually done is let go of expectations (that I had of myself) and pressure (that I put on myself) and allowed myself to just be. And I do like just being.
I had a mental block about using my real name as an online identity. I don’t mean I hid my name before, I just didn’t use it as an online handle, ever. It felt weird cause…it’s my actual name, you know? It’s on official documents and stuff. Then I thought about all the people who do things publicly under their own name in places where they talk about their lives as well as sharing their creative output. Like other WRITERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS. The more I thought about it, the less sense this mental block made to me and I can only really put it down to having started to use the internet when no-one ever shared their real name, ever.
I was worried about my future career. I mean, I write about some really dark stuff. I create some fucked up visual art. Basically, I do exactly what lots of other people do who do the same kind of work as me. I’m never going to run for public office. I’m never going to be responsible for vulnerable populations. I’m a self-employed creative person and, to be perfectly honest, if I was meeting with a potential client and they said “I saw that poem you wrote about the couple who get drunk and then fuck and beat the shit out of each other” I’d just be excited that they remembered a specific piece of my work and wanted to talk about it. If anyone who is thinking of hiring me chooses not to because they know I’m a pagan witch who reads tarot cards or because I prefer they/them pronouns to she/her pronouns, fuck those people. I’m an artist. You get what you get and if you don’t want that, you get someone else.
I couldn’t be bothered. Yep, this is an entirely legit reason and possibly the hardest one to get past. The thought of figuring out which social media accounts to keep then following all the people I had on the others ones and a lot of hours went into those blogs and is it OK to actually just completely delete something and what will happen and the world might explode and OH MY GODS, THE EXCUSES! As it turned out, this whole merging of things took one weekend. And it felt incredibly liberating. It was like a fresh start in a place that I actually wanted to be in, that I wasn’t still just hanging around in because I’d been there for years and it was easier to stay even though it didn’t spark passion any more.
I registered TanyaSimoneSimpson.com earlier this year and it took me a few months to take the plunge. Changing my social media usernames was probably even scarier. I’m aware that it’s pretentious as fuck to use my full name but there’s another Tanya Simpson out there who started using their full name on stuff first. Also, I’m a queer vaping vegan who works for an art performance charity and has a facial tattoo and slashes in my job title, so the URL of my blog isn’t exactly the defining feature that suddenly makes me pretentious.
So here I am, in my new online home. I will be posting creative writing, photography and random personal shit. Some of it will be fluffy and light-hearted, some of it will be dark as fuck and some of it will be weird and you probably won’t like all of it. But it will be me and it will be honest because I don’t know how to be anything else.
If you’re here with me, welcome to my everything.