Thursday, October 22, 2015

Spotlight Jane: Hacker.Ninja.Hooker.Spy.


Aussa Lorens is a hacker. And a ninja. Oh, and also a hooker. But especially a spy. Like, straight out of Compton CIA training camp. You may find yourself asking how we were able to spotlight a woman who's obviously under deep cover in Syria right now. Here's the answer: 'Cuz it's all bullshit. Aussa is none of the above and, lucky for us, is not currently subverting ISIS in the Middle East either. 

Aussa is a badass ladyblogger. She was one of the Voices of the Year at BlogHer 2014, receiving the People's Choice Award for Humor (because she's undoubtedly fucking hilarious). Additionally, Aussa received both the Biggest Girl Crush and Funniest Blog awards from Indie Chicks Badass Blogs. 

But a hacker/ninja/hooker/spy? Nope! So what's up with the blog name? Well, Aussa spilled all the details on the mysterious name in her Spotlight Jane interview with Unchained Jane (and preached some TRUTH about blogging, haters, and life after domestic abuse).


Unchained Jane: Let’s get right to it. What the hell is Hacker.Ninja.Hooker.Spy., and should we be concerned you’re bugging this conversation?

Aussa Lorens: “Hacker Ninja Hooker Spy” is what my attorney called me when I had to testify in court against my abusive ex. He’d exaggerated my life into this completely badass mythology to convince the judge there was no way he could have ever mistreated me - as if strong women can’t find themselves on the shit end of a bad relationship. Wrong.

And you should always be concerned. The internet is a creepy place full of creepy people (heyyyy).

UJ: So you’re a pretty badass blogger, Miss Aussa Lorens, with some fab blogging accolades under your belt. What gave you the idea to start blogging about your personal experiences?

AL: I wrote my first post after learning my ex was planning to appeal my restraining order against him. It was truly one of those “this story cannot get any crazier” moments and I felt like there were plenty of women out there who could relate. I’d already been through two court battles with him and had a year and a half of freedom— it was that sweet spot where you can finally look back on an experience and find the humor. It seemed selfish not to let the rest of the internet laugh at him as well.

UJ: Please tell our readers a little bit about your life and background – a taste of what they can find at Hacker.Hooker.Ninja.Spy.

AL: Oh goodness. This is more difficult. If this were a movie trailer, I think it’d go something like this:

“A marginally interesting young woman continuously ignores her instincts and makes a series of horrifying choices, all the while taking a copious amount of notes.”

Some things I write about:
  • My ridiculous job at a psych hospital (which I just quit, huzzah!).
  • The fact life can be SO SHITTY and then…not shitty. 
  • My relationship with my husband. Sometimes it's illustrated but it’s ALWAYS sexy. If by sexy you mean “let’s watch Netflix and eat chips.” 
  • Questionable choices in overseas travel and other random things like how asteroids are crazy. 

UJ: Do you have a background in writing? Or did you, one day, just say, “Oh, I gotta write about THIS shit!” and found that it came naturally?

AL: I’ve always wanted to write but I got distracted by a decade-long depression. So I’m making up for lost time. I used to think my life was boring and then the Universe was like “lol, wait.”

UJ: Does your writing life ever collide with your personal life? How do you find the time and material?

AL: My blog started out very anonymous. Only my boyfriend (now husband) and a couple friends knew about it. Thanks to some algorithms, the voodoo of social media, and some successful articles, most of my family + some coworkers + random other people in my life know about it. I always freak out for a minute and then, like most things, decide I can’t sacrifice the energy to care.

I find time because I’ve made blogging a priority. I also don’t know how to use a TV, so it cuts down on distractions.

I find material everywhere! My phone is full of little notes from conversations I’ve had with myself, nonsense listicles about everyday bullshit, and ridiculous things that just won’t stop happening to me.

UJ: Taking the leap into putting your personal life out there for all to read can be thrilling and scary. What’s the most rewarding part and the scariest part of blogging about something personal to you?

AJ: I had no idea how therapeutic blogging would be. Truly - nothing kills shame like learning to unapologetically tell your story. And when someone takes the time to leave a comment, share the post, or drop an email about their own experience? Amazing.

The scariest part is that you open yourself up to criticism and judgment. Some of it is ridiculous, like “you’re a prom queen and have ugly lipstick.” But other people read my writing and immediately feel the need to send an email or start a discussion about what a horrible person I am. It’s hard not to let it bother you. But then I remember how I don’t like everyone in the world either, so I’m like “meh.”

UJ: What were the first few real steps that you took toward getting your blog rolling (besides deciding to just go for it)? For those who are thinking of starting a blog, give them a short rundown.

AL: Oooooh, man. I have a section on my site about this called “The Non Asshole Blogger Guide,” but in short:

1. Decide WHY you’re doing it. What is your actual goal? This will help you determine whether something is worth doing, writing about, or giving up a Netflix binge for. (Don’t lie to yourself.)

2. Find your people. Stalk the hell out of similar bloggers. Join Facebook groups. You will need a community of like-minded people around you.

3. Don’t sell out. The worst thing in the world is to be successful at something you don’t even want to do.

UJ: What’s been the most difficult hurdle to overcome with your blog and how did you resolve it?

AL: Lame answer: Design and technical bullshit. I could waste so much time on something I’m just not good at. I will never get those hours back. *cries*

Hopefully helpful answer: Realizing there are people out there who want me to fail. They cozy up like frenemies, spread rumors, and try to sabotage what I’m doing. I’ve had to resist the urge to put them on blast, engage in awkward feuds, and not go on vigilante crusades. I resolved this by looking at history - I have NEVER regretted being the bigger person.

UJ: As you know, there are really two reasons we wanted to interview you for October’s Spotlight Jane: (1) You’re generally fucking hilarious and we are big fans, and (2) it’s Domestic Violence Awareness month, and you have spoken out pretty candidly on your blog about your experience with domestic violence from your nutjob ex-boyfriend. Is there anything you’d like to share here that might be helpful to a woman reading this who may be in a similar position as you were?

AL: Everyone’s situation is different and uniquely complicated. I think the biggest thing for anyone in an abusive relationship is to realize you don’t deserve what has happened to you. These relationships fuck our minds up to such a degree that we can’t trust our own thoughts. Thankfully, we don’t have to have our shit completely together in order to change our lives. Make that insanely difficult move and get away. Sanity will come later. The shame will dissipate. There is ALWAYS another side to any shitty situation. You don’t have to have it all figured out in advance.

UJ: The vast majority of Unchained Jane subscribers are women – what do you think is the most valuable advice you could give them if they are thinking of popping the top on their own blog?

AL: Find some bloggers you admire and want to learn from, but do your own thang. The world craves originality. Feed it.

UJ: If our readers want to find you and your blog (and your story about your purported boob-flashing at work), where can they find you?

AL: [You can find me at] aussalorens.com and on Facebook at fb.com/hacker.ninja.hooker.spy.

UJ: We are big on women supporting women around here. Any shout-outs you want to give to any women that have helped you along the way?

AL: AHHHH there are so many, I can’t handle it.
  • Darcy Perdu of So Then Stories—I’ll thank her every chance I get, because she answered my panic-ridden 2AM emails when I’d first started blogging and was a total weirdo. 
  • Maurna of Cursitivity - She’s hilarious and so supportive and makes amazing jewelry/sent me a needlepoint goat skull. 
  • Gunmetal Geisha - She listens to about 7 hours of WhatsApp messages from me every. single. day. They literally say things like “oh my gosh, a squirrel” before I go on long meandering monologues about how I didn’t like the tone of the woman who said “Hi” to me at the dry cleaners. So basically she is my therapist. Also, I’ve only ever been to a dry cleaners once so don’t start thinking I’m a real adult. 
  • Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus - Most supportive badass ever. Watch out for this one. 
UJ: Thanks so much for giving us a peek into what it’s like to start and grow your own blog (and a kickass female-written one at that)! We genuinely love the idea of more women starting their own blogs and helping each other grow – and we very much appreciate you being a part of that process, Aussa!


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