The Gender Hate Stuff

Just by virtue of being a woman, never mind one with many hobbies, skills, interests, etc. that are male dominated, I think about gender issues a lot. There are women out there who don’t work at software companies, who have never tried going to classes a a gym full of men, who haven’t been playing video games since the 80s (or for their whole lives), who never worked in tech support, who weren’t ‘tom boys’ who played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who aren’t really competitive, who never said ‘I want to be a major league baseball player when I grow up’, who never experienced sexual abuse, who never experienced street harassment, who were never followed or stalked, who have never been called a bitch for asserting themselves, who never worried about being perceived as a bitch for asserting themselves, and maybe those women don’t think about this stuff much.

Though gender issues affect everyone (not just women by any means), maybe people just don’t follow the news much these days. Maybe people don’t see it affecting themselves that badly and have a hard time with empathy and putting themselves in others shoes.

I am one of those people who tells themselves not to read the comments on articles, videos, blog posts, etc., but does it anyways. It doesn’t matter how much hope or despair is in the article, the comments can always pull you a different way. I find it interesting that I read something and think X, Y, Z, and other people think… BANANA! Even though I know some are just trolls being trolls, some will be real people and their real opinions, and I’m too curious not too look. A lone comment isn’t enough anymore to make me think people as a whole think one way or another, but when they pile up, you start to see a picture of what a group of people think. Too often, it’s not a pretty picture.

These pictures make me feel like we have so far to go as people, to be better, more compassionate, human beings.

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

While I believe in my own equality, I also believe I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I shouldn’t have to hold myself up under the pressure of perfect example.

I’m a gamer. I don’t want to be the woman gamer that represents all the women. We’re all just as similar to men gamers, and just as different to other women gamers. I am a gamer. I am a woman. I am a person. These are all separate things about myself. I don’t want to be the woman anything. I don’t want to be the end all to define myself, but since I like certain things, it seems like it has to.

I am a person. Please treat me like a person.

When I read about victims who don’t report harassment or violence, I do feel sad that they didn’t push forward to help all women, like me, have a safer world. I also realize that it’s not fair of me, or anyone, to expect or ask that any of these individuals put themselves on the line inviting additional violence, pain, or even death upon themselves. It’s easy for people to blame a victim for not stepping up, because we feel like our voices will eventually make the world safer and make us equals.

It’s easy to blame the victim who steps up for not being the perfect example, for what they were wearing, their sexual history, for not reporting it immediately, for using imperfect language, their tone, or for not having a perfect past. We want a super hero, but instead we just have people. There are some people that just so happen to also be a women. We expect too much of them when they’re down, and we expect not enough of them when they have all the potential.

When the world fails you, we do the best we can, and try not to fail the world or ourselves.

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

Working and Worn Connections

You put yourself around people, and connections just happen.

Longer lasting, deeper connections take work and time… and can potentially sour, sever, or fray away at any time.

This series of connections is part of what can make us couple or stay solitary. Sometimes connection comes naturally and people flow into your life and effect it in unexpected and amazing ways, and sometimes interactions seem like a futile exercise in fickle, selfish human experience in which we are all essentially still alone.

We keep trying, it’s all we can do. Life is for living.

Opening

I can’t say I enjoy review time at work. This is only my second review at work (since this is year two) and I’ve already developed a distaste for it. I like the concept and understand the benefits. I am not saying they shouldn’t exist, but it is a painful process for everyone involved including me.

I’m not going to say it caused anything, but it triggered a lot of thoughts that have combined with what’s been going on with me as of late.

Here I am trying so hard to look at myself and my interactions with people. I am trying to have a real understanding of what I do versus what other people do in their interactions. I’m not talking about making people like me. I’m thinking more directly, how do I get what I want from my relationships with people? How do I get the relationships I want with people?

I need to work on some things.

As much as I’m open with my personality and confidence, I don’t actually open up to people. I don’t trust people. I put myself out there because I would rather die than be dishonest about who I am, but I have become so guarded over time from being hurt by people. It’s true that I have been making some new friends and rejuvenating old friendships lately, which is no small thing. But, when they’re talking, sometimes I realize how much they give to me freely and how much I hold back. I don’t trust myself to be upset, weak, or cry around my friends. I won’t admit I’m having a bad day, complain, tell them about a problem, or ask for help anymore apparently. I’m stubborn, independent, and do not want to burden anyone. I don’t want to focus on being negative. I want to have a good time with friends. I spent some time recently with a friend talking about some financial problems I’m having. I talked at length. That was weeks ago. I still feel guilty for putting that on them, for making that part of their night more negative, and I feel like maybe I hurt our relationship. Who wants to go out of their way to spend time with someone who just spent the last hour (or whatever) complaining about money?

Flip side, I listen to my friends problems and help them all of the time. I have no idea why I make that double standard for myself.

I should let people in and people help me. It could make us closer if it doesn’t push someone away.

I have to be willing to take that chance. Keeping at a distance from everyone may seem wonderfully safe, but it’s a large burden to carry on yourself.

I need to learn to take chances in my relationships with people. The worst thing is that people may drift away, but if I don’t let them in closer, they’ll do that anyways.

A Creep?

Every now and then when I need a break from work, but still want to feel productive, I do things like clean up my desktop icons or go through and organize my bookmarks. Tonight I was going through bookmarks and I came across the link for an ex’s blog. I forgot I had it. Funny thing is, for the most part, I wrote in my blog extensively while we were together. He didn’t post anything in that time period it looks like.

Mostly his blog is about pickup and self improvement (which I guess for someone in PUA they might tell you they’re the same thing). There weren’t any recent posts, but there were a few from a few weeks after we broke up. They were him trying to get back into PUA and being… well… unsuccessful and creepy.

The thought has occurred to me lately that even though I didn’t initiate that breakup, I’m the one that came better out of it. Even though I’m not going out with anyone, I get the impression I have my shit more together than he does. I think I’ve had more success in being with new people since then. I don’t mean that pick-up style, I mean that just meeting new people. I’m certainly not being the desperate, creepy one.

I think that might be part of his and some other people’s problems. The obsession and focus of meeting the preferred sex for finding a mate is going to make you come off in a particular unattractive way if you let it consume you.

1. You think you need it.

You don’t need to get laid. You don’t need a boy/girlfriend. Life goes on. Great things happen either way. People who think they need it will give off the desperate vibe. The desperate vibe makes a woman feel creeped out, unsafe, and not special at all. I too have fallen into this trap, and I know it doesn’t come off as a good vibe to guys either (at least not the ones you want to attract).

2. It’s your number one motivator for meeting, talking to, and getting to know people.

You only talk to them if you think they might be your type. At the mention of a boy/girlfriend, you’re not interested in communicating with them any more.

This is what I told one of my friends: he may not be your next boyfriend, but what if his brother or best friend is your soulmate? Friends are very valuable to life in general. They can also help you find that next someone. There’s nothing wrong with just making friends.

This also is a problem in the way you approach people. You can flirt without using crappy pickup lines. If you’re smiling a bunch, using good body language, being interested, asking questions about their life, etc., you don’t need to say something like, “Hey, nice shoes… wanna f-“.

I think openers are stupid. Sorry, PUA people. They are. They are just alternate phrasing for crappy pickup line. They’re not any better. Try some genuine, off the top you’re your head, not creepy, real world conversation starters. Walking up to some random person on the street and calling them cute is a no. I’m sorry if someone who uses that is reading this and being offended, but someone has to tell you before you get maced. You may hate me now, but thank me later.

3. You’re approaching it as a player in a game rather than yourself.

As I got to know what PUA was, I didn’t gain much respect for it, and this is one of the big reasons. I love games. You might even call me a gamer. However, meeting people is not going to be won with cheat codes. I don’t care how many books your read, lines you put together based on those, or methods you use. To find someone lasting, you have to put your actual self out there (that includes to meet good friends and significant others).

Are you only interested in shallow acquaintances? Awkward lays? Maybe those lines could work for you then.

I guess the big question is: who are you and what do you want?

I’d like to find someone worth sticking my neck out for again, but I’m in no hurry either. There are a lot of great connections to be made with people out there without expecting them to be the next anything. I want to have fun. I want to meet people. But… I don’t need anything from these people. I’m comfortable here with myself, by myself both growing and existing. I don’t need another half, because I’m already a whole. One day I’d like to meet another whole person, a partner who fits me well, but I know it’s not going to happen by any kind of force.

Be People

I work in IT. I train jiu-jitsu. I don’t like the color pink. I grew up playing catch with my dad. I still have my ninja turtles. I am not gay (or closeted).

I don’t think that being a woman or a man or being attracted to one sex or another is relevant to what I should do or like.

I don’t care for you or anyone else to tell me (or any man or woman) what it is to be a man or a woman or gay or strait (or anything else).

Let us just be people and have/make our own identities.

I shouldn’t feel like I have to shout things like this to the sky (or blog), but every now and then I have a conversation with someone I respect that really makes me feel like I need to chisel words into a mountain so it’s as visible from a million miles away.

Each generation we may be getting closer to that world where people are allowed to just be people, but moments like this I feel like it’s more of an impossible dream. If we can’t even do this with gender, the most basic of two human categories we’re stuffed in, how are we going to get past issues of race or religion?

I can always think back to where we were as society even a few generations back. We have come so far. I’m trying to be patient, but this kind of patience can be very trying.

Forgetting the Basics

Sometimes you forget the basics when a problem seems huge and you get stressed.

Communication is very basic. Even if you’re afraid of what the other might say, even if you think you’ve talked about it before, bring it up. Thinking about what and how you want to say things beforehand is great, but don’t make any big decisions on what will come out of the conversation beforehand. The idea is to have a dialogue with the person and work through things.

You may be surprised at what the other person has to say.

For example, I thought I was clear that the boy was sure we would never be exclusive or be in a relationship. What I didn’t realize is that it’s more that he’s sure it can’t happen right now, but there are possibilities. He feels that more now. He feels that recently we’ve gotten closer.

I didn’t understand his point of view, and maybe I still don’t even after hearing him describe it- a sort of all or nothing. I look at relationships as the next step to being closer, but not a huge commitment. It could mean we’re together for a week, a month, longer, who knows? On the flip side, he thinks that he has to be sure of things to even think of going there. I clarified that I wasn’t talking about marriage.

I asked him about seeing other people and why he thought seeing people was important. He told me a long story about learning about all kinds of people, social interactions, and experiencing a variety of life. I told him he sounded like a fortune cookie- adding ‘in bed’ to after everything. I think you can do all of this while interacting with people without dating. For him, not being tied to a single person and working on his ability to socially interact is part of his self-improvement regiment.

I also think that you lose something in interacting with a person if you’re never willing to take things to the next level and have a relationship. He thinks he’s broadening his understanding of human interaction, where I think he is really limiting it in a different way.

Just because you discuss and communicate something doesn’t mean you’ll agree or understand.

What I’m starting to wonder is where he even has time or opportunity to see other people, or if he has the real desire. I also wonder if this works for him just because he knows I’m not seeing someone else and doesn’t think interested in seeing someone else. I have a low jealousy content, but even this has the potential to get to me. What about him?

I started meeting his friends lately, guys mostly. It got me wondering about how much we don’t have defined in this area. It got me thinking about what ifs and situations that could try to arise. Can I assume that certain things are off limits?

This goes back to the communication thing. It’s another conversation we probably should have, even if it’s not something I’m likely to test with the way I am. I actually like knowing boundaries, being able to rely on an agreement. I also would hope it’s a conversation he would have with his friends. Different people can have very different takes on these gray areas- from a recent conversation with someone:

“I dislike terms. They restrict relationships. You are what you are. Relationships flex back and forth in different stages.”

Some people apparently think I shouldn’t be making an assumption here about things being off limits since things are undefined. Alls fair in love and war? I don’t like the sounds of this. I hate drama.

With that sort of attitude existing, neither me nor the boy should be assuming anything here I guess. Communication is a good thing- and not just between us, but those around us.

These fine lines when there are no lines…

Can you steal something that isn’t yours?