September 26, 2019 about queer non-binary
Hello, Internet! This is the long-form version of the about me twitter thread I posted.
There are a lot of things that I am, and I’m not sure what order to put them into. I’m a big fan of taxonomies when they apply to other things, but bad at labels when they come to me. I guess I’ll just get started.
Hi! I’m Tillery! I’m non-binary and use they/them pronouns. When I first realized I was non-binary and came out, I identified as demimale and used he or they interchangeably - that isn’t the case anymore. As I’ve continued to explore exactly what my gender identity is, I’ve realized that for me demimale was just me clinging to something that felt safe and close to what had been expected. Like I said, labels are hard for me, because as much as I like sorting things into buckets, people don’t usually fit cleanly into them. If I was to put a label on my gender identity right now, it would probably be agender. I’m also pan (though I’m also ok with being labeled as bi). TL;DR I’m queer AF.
I’m an introvert (though most people don’t believe me), but I also love public speaking and lecturing - it just drains me to do it too much.
I’m a big believer in telling the people you love that you love them, romantically, platonically, or otherwise.
I’m a gamer (when I have the time), and a lover of philosophy (particular philosophical ethics).
Next up, career!
I’ve gone through a few different steps in my career to get where I am today. It’s sort of come full circle for me, actually.
Rewinding to college, I started out as a Math major with a minor in Education. I knew going in I was going to be a math teacher. That didn’t last too long, though, because I decided pure math wasn’t for me. I switched majors twice, first to psychology (which I loved but didn’t think I’d make a career from), then to Computer Science (which I’d taken and loved in high school and knew was a safe fallback). I ended up with a Math/CS degree, but I kept the Education. First thing out of the gate, I did some teaching - ironically mathematics despite my change of majors. It turns out that teaching people that don’t want to be there is a bummer, though, so I went back to computers (specifically, HPC and Data Science). I worked general Sys Admin support while also running a Hadoop/HBase cluster in support of Cyber Threat Intelligence for about a year and a half before I came to the conclusion that it was time to move on. The work had been interesting, but the fun bits were starting to wane.
My next step was to change companies (and sort of change careers) again. I went through a 10-week crash course on the cybers, and came out the other end doing Reverse Engineering and Vulnerability Research. I fell in love with it. I stayed at that company for more than 5 years. Finally it was time for another change, but this time it was a change of scenery, not of vocation. I’ve been at GRIMM for two and a half years at time of writing. I came on board as an engineer on the AppSec team. I immediately saw a need to push training forward, though!
For a while I worked for several Principles at once helping out (mostly with VR tasks) where I was needed and bouncing around quite a bit. That eventually settled and I fell back under the Principle that had hired me, purely working AppSec. During that time, I picked up some training gigs too, though. As I got more and more into the work under the AppSec lead, I saw the unfortunate fact that he was stuck mostly doing management work (which he does well, but which doesn’t excite him) and wanted to find a way to give him at least one day a week doing technical work. I resolved to do what I could to lessen the burden on him and take on some of that responsibility. As a result, I accidentally started helping out leading the practice (which I still do!)
This gradually grew as more and more it became clear that we also needed to pursue and grow as a training organization. Eventually, my pushing (and that of others in the company, I can’t claim sole credit!) was successful. A combination of more training work that we’d been able to bring in, and the acknowledgement that it’s something we could do and do well, and that would be a big boon to the industry, gave us a renewed focus on Training. And that’s how I became a Director.
That’s far from the end of my journey in the cybers, but it mostly brings us to today, so now a little detour into my other “work”.
Gamers gonna game
Back in college (in the bad old days of 2006), a friend of mine introduced me to Imperian. It was a quirky game, a MUD that was still running well after the 90s, but I fell in love with it. I played it for a while before deciding I wanted to do more.
In 2009/2010, I asked if I could be a volunteer coder for the game. I didn’t stick with it. Fast forward a few years, though, and I gave it another shot (and they gave me one). I started coding for Imperian again in 2013.
I’ve always been a sucker for a good story, so I also did a lot of world building. Eventually, between me and the original creator, it wasn’t always clear who had the better answer to lore questions (Jeremy had stepped away from the game a few times to focus on other projects). In 2017, along with a slew of staffing and internal changes with Imperian and Iron Realms in general, I stepped into the role of Assistant Producer, followed by the Producer role in 2018. Unfortunately, with my day job, I don’t have much time for Imperian these days. Not nearly as much as I’d like, anyway.
There’s a lot more about me than all of this, but it’s already a long thread for twitter. I may add to or revise this in some way later, who knows. For now, it’s nice to meet you!