Today was a shit day.
For those outside of the atheosphere, you probably don’t know who Niki Massey is. You probably don’t know that she died today. You don’t know about her years long struggle with depression, anxiety, BPD, chronic pain, fatigue, and of course the fucking system designed to help people like her that had done jack squat for her until the day she died.
Niki was a writer. She wrote erotic fiction to make a living and she wrote inspiring, amazing, social justice pieces because it was who she was and what she cared about. She lived the kind of life that our media and our society like to pretend doesn’t exist; the life of a black, asexual, disabled woman. On top of all of that she was outspoken and took no shit. Because of who and what she was, I want to talk about her. I want to tell stories about her. I want to make damn sure that the world knows who she was, the systems that did this to her, and exactly how much she gave to the communities she was a part of. I want you all to know how strong she was, how smart she was, how loved she was.
So here is what I know about Niki. Here is who she was, at least the pieces of her that I knew. Here is a life that fucking mattered, and I will not let it disappear without being remembered.
Niki was life itself. This is why the idea of Niki not being alive is so impossible to fathom. She was vivacious. She had a hard time keeping her volume at the appropriate level, but that was part of the joy of Niki: she laughed loudly, she always had a comeback, she would never be silenced. Her blog, Seriously?! was all of that wrapped up in biting wit, acerbic commentary, and no fear about being misunderstood or misinterpreted: Niki simply told it like it was, and fuck you if you didn’t get it. She wasn’t flowery or fru fru, but hell if she had a way of creating metaphors and descriptions that were out of left field, hilarious, and surprisingly informative. In the last year or so, I’ve really had a hard time keeping up with any blogs. Niki’s was always the first one I would go back to check on. She was like a fucking fireball of common sense when the world was just shit weeds. She burned past it all.
Niki was giving. The first time I met her, I was struggling to understand my sexuality. She was the first real life asexual person I had met, and she welcomed me with open arms (not really, we’re both touchphobic BPD kids, that’s not how we roll. Fuck, we were. Were.). She talked to me about her journey, and how affirming asexuality was for her, and how her relationship worked. She was completely unafraid to be vulnerable. It was so refreshing, and helped me come to terms with who I was, with changing sexuality, with trying different things and realizing they weren’t for me. She helped a lot of people on that journey.
Despite her chronic pain, Niki still managed to do more volunteer work than most able-bodied, privileged fucks out there. She volunteered as a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood, volunteered her time as a speaker at multiple conferences (even when she was increeedibly nervous), and spent far more time than any one person really needed to wading through the shitpools of the internet to create blogs and responses that were POSITIVE.
At the first Con that I met Niki, some asshats decided to troll our Twitter feed and call themselves #braveheroes. Niki was one of the loudest voices laughing at the sheer ridiculosity of it. It instantly endeared her to me. But I’m going to be gross and honest. Niki was an ACTUAL FUCKING brave hero. Day after day after day she got up and worked through pain and talked about it. She was not afraid to let people know what was going on, to talk about the nitty gritty, intimate details of chronic illness and mental illness. She did everything right. Every fucking thing. When she felt suicidal, she went to the hospital. She asked for help. She worked for HOURS on her disability hearing to make sure that she had everything in order. She worked her ass off on her books to try to contribute and feel meaningful and useful. She was a god damn inspiration.
I love you Niki. So many people loved you. It hurts me so much that what you heard were the messages from society, telling you that your body, your skin color, your gender, your ability to work, those were what mattered. Not your brilliant mind, not your compassion, not your wit, not your kindness, not your hard hard work. Fuck that. You mattered. You mattered so much. And you still do.
Today I am remembering you up on stage, speaking passionately, wearing the skulls and purple outfits you loved so much, celebrating the fuck out of October, your favorite month.