The Girl in Black

Se necesita una poca de gracia.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Same problem, different language (or, why feminists are stereotyped as being so damn bitchy.)

Somehow I think I've commented on this before...

So this little issue has been popping up in my life more and more lately, and it came to a head this week at work. I mentioned at our weekly Tuesday morning meeting that I was trying to calibrate the colors of my printer, because I was sick of our lovely company shade of blue coming out of the printer as this icky dark teal.

I had mentioned this previously to various co-workers, with different levels of response.

The Operations Manager (Goddess bless him) stayed pretty mum, letting me try to figure things out on my own. My boss told me that it had been done before by the previous Marketing Girl, but he didn't know how to do it, so again I got to try to figure it out for myself. One of the guys in sales suggested that I call the tech support of the company that makes the printer, but I kept insisting that I wanted to fix the problem on my own.

Then the Tech Support guy hears that I'm having a problem, and sure enough on Wednesday morning both the Operations Manager and the Tech Support guy are sitting in front of my computer, trying to fix my problem for me.

And between this, and the aforementioned sales guy trying to do various things for me to "fix" my problems (he's been helping me with my Zippo, another little saga, but he went too far when he threatened to clean out my car), suddenly I feel like I'm seen as this totally helpless person who doesn't have her shit together and needs other people (men) to take care of me because I can't take care of myself. It makes me feel like...

It makes me feel like a girl.

Now, I've been raised in one of those blessing/curse kind of ways, where I never for one second had the inkling that there was something I couldn't do because of my gender. I saw the world as gender neutral, that anyone could do anything. It was a great way of growing up (although it led me to put a lot of pressure on myself to excel, but that would have happened anyway). But the older I get, and the more "girly" I come off as, the more I am smacked in the face with this whole "girls need help and protection" bullshit.

Have you ever wondered why so many women got so pissed off when the feminist movement really got underway? Imagine living a lifetime of familial, cultural, and social reinforcement that you can't do anything on your own. And then, when you get over your issues, get some self confidence, and actually try to do something, you're met with constant criticism and condescension. You are not respected for who you are and what you want to do. You are not taken seriously. Yeah, that's reason enough to get pissed off, huh?

Okay okay. Now for the flipside of the coin. Anyone who knows me knows that I swear by "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" and here's why. It identifies communication problems, and gives you advice on how to fix them and understand the other gender. And one thing I have learned that is deathly important is that sometimes guys just gotta "fix" stuff.

I was talking to a friend of mine about this last night, and he referred to it as the Galahad Syndrome. And it really has a place. Whether it's by nature or nurture, guys just have to be able to do things to help girls out sometimes. It's a core part of their personality, to be able to protect, defend, be a hero. And women don't usually get this, so what ends up happening is that they get bitchy when a guy solves their problems for them without them asking for help, or they offer advice thinking that it will help facilitate whatever the guy is doing. This is a deathblow to the guy's ego, because here he is, thinking "Hey, I'm solving a problem for her. This will make her happy, and that makes me feel good." And instead she gets upset, or makes him feel like he's not doing a good job by offering advice not asked for.

This is how a lot of fights start between men and women.

I know because I've experienced it. My poor ex. One night he was doing the dishes for me, and I couldn't help it. I could see that he was doing it in a way I considered inefficient, and I started saying things like "You know, if you load everything in the dishwasher this way, you can fit more stuff in." It did not make him feel good.

But then, he did things to me like solving my computer problems by just having me step aside and fixing everything without teaching me how. This was slightly frustrating while we were together, and proved a problem when we broke up. He had our computers networked together so we could share the cable modem. When he left, he forgot to change the settings on my computer so that I could connect to the internet directly. I couldn't get online. I had to ask him how to change it back. I'm really lucky that he wasn't letting any hurt feelings get in the way of solving my problem.

So here we all go, 'round and 'round the same prickly pear, trying to help each other out and failing miserably. Yeesh. How's a girl supposed to stand up for herself when the way she wants to go about it ends up honestly offending and hurting someone else's feelings?

How the hell can I get some respect around here?

Guys, I tell you what. If you're gonna help me out for whatever reason, will you help me help myself instead of just jumping right in? In return, I'll hold my tongue on the "helpful comments" and make sure that you feel honestly appreciated. Sound fair?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pfeh! No wonder I have such an aversion to the business world...

Psychopaths could be best financial traders?

Hee hee. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Of course, I have also heard that some people with mild autism end up being phenomenal mathemeticians and whatnot, only their relations with others are sorely lacking. Since the autism is mild, it goes unnoticed.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ho. Lee. Shit.

Steamboy. Is. Awesome.

If you haven't seen it yet, rent and watch.

Steam powered machines destroying Victorian London in a battle of good vs. science directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo.

You know, the guy who directed Akira.

Yes. You remember.

Now go watch.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I did a Blar homage for Drew's birthday...

So I thought I'd share with the rest of the class. Unfortunately, I have to shrink it a tad to get it to fit properly into Blogger.

And I'll link to
Blar again, just in case you didn't see it the first time...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I know now what I must do...

Last night a friend of mine told me that there is a bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans that, since the first day it opened for business, has never closed.

This bar was apparently open during Katrina, and those who stayed in the French Quarter went and hung out there.

This bar was also apparently acting for a short time as both a hospital and a point of communication for those who needed it.

I must visit this bar before I die. This is my new life mission.

In other news: Blar!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

This isn'f funny anymore

Really big tragedies happen. This is a given.

I remember when the planes hit the towers, I was distanced from it. I was able to make jokes. I refused to follow along with a lot of the sentimental crap that arose because of the incident. (You know, the collages of flags and eagles and images of the tower. I thought and still think they were rather hokey.) What the hell did I care? I didn't have friends or family up there, or at the Pentagon. I only gave reflective pause when I discovered that my then soon-to-be boyfriend had friends and family in both of the affected areas, and then I felt somewhat more sad. But it never completely touched me.

This time it's different.

At first I didn't think about it except in the sense that New Orleans was thoroughly fucked. And dammit, I rather liked that city and wanted to go back. But I wasn't thinking about the size of the storm. It didn't register with me that Mississippi was affected too. Until someone mentioned it to me at one point. And then it hit me that some family friends, my godparents, who are more family to me than most of my blood relatives lived in Mississippi.

I called my mother immediately, asking how they were. She forwarded me the "we're okay" email sent out by my godmother, and I just about lost it. They live in Vicksburg, which is further inland, and so they seem to have suffered damage similar to what Florida went through last year. Downed trees, power outages, boil water alerts, etc. So I know that they'll be okay.

Only my godmother works at the local VA clinic. And she was going to work.

She mentioned how she wouldn't be going home for a while, what with gas prices being sky high, a general shortage of fuel in general, and the fact that she would be very, very busy. A lot of people from Biloxi got shipped up there. Biloxi has been pretty much wiped off the map. She's going to be helping these people.

I don't know why exactly I've been getting so emotional about all of this. I think it's a mix of relief that they're okay combined with sadness that they had to go through it combined with the fact that someone that I know is directly dealing with a lot of the fallout of the areas that were hit much harder.

And I think about all of those people without a home. Not just a home, a fucking city. No relocation, no rebuilding, no going back anymore.

I also think about the person that I did know who was from New Orleans. My second year roommate in college, Caprica. She's pretty damn awesome. I had met her first year, and she led a very amusing Samhain ritual where we all broke up laughing when she blessed the rice cake for us to pass around. And then when I filled out the little card to help the powers that be find me a new roommate, I wrote in large letters "I'm a PAGAN!" And guess who ended up living with me?

She was a painting major, and that girl had skillz. OMG. I had held on to a few of her leftover class assignments for quite a while, but they had been lost in subsequent moving escapades. She was also a quirky and amusing person to know. She and her boyfriend would take incredibly long showers, and come out in the middle of them for grape juice. She would rent what I considered to be cheesy anime, and she would have to watch everything twice. She has a really funny story about a really bad acid trip, where the line "And I turned to the Goddess, because she was sitting right next to me..." is heard. She gave me a copy of "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" with the address of her favorite occult store stamped on the inside cover. She lamented not being home for Mardi Gras. She got a pet bunny rabbit, and kept it in the dorm room. (Pets weren't allowed.) It chewed through one of the cords of my Nintendo controller. (She replaced it.) The bunny went to live with her mother.

And now I think about her mother, her pet rabbit, and her. New Orleans was such a part of who she was to me. And now she can't live there anymore. She can't go home anymore. So many people can't go home anymore.

And I'm so fucking broke right now that I can't afford to donate any money to the Red Cross or anyone else to help. My godmother is doing something to help. I wish I could help too. But I'm sure everyone at work would love it if I just packed up and headed to the bayou.

If you can help somehow: money, time, anything. Please do. These are real people. These are somebody's friends, family, happy memories. This could have been you, or someone you care about.

But I'm sure you're doing what you can to help without needing me to prod you.

I think I'm gonna go through all of my old clothes and shoes and see about donating it all to those who need it.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Epilogue

Or is it more of a denouement?

Anyway, I wasn't thinking about posting about this until he mentioned it to me (see, you have put ideas in my head), but I've had a pretty decent conversation with my ex. We've made up, and are friends for the most part.

I'm really happy about this. There were apologies on both sides, the good ones that we have both needed to hear from each other. Also, there were comments about the perspective gained by both of us, and I've found the ability to laugh (in a good way) about some of what has happened.

I feel really good.

There have been other things going on that have been dragging me down a lot, but I had a revelation about it last night. I had recently uncovered this old issue I have been carrying around for Goddess knows how long. It's so old that I forget about it and bury it and it still drives me subconciously to this day.

Somewhere along the way, someone somehow convinced me that I am a worthless piece of crap.

The sad thing is that I still believe this deep down, and it's yet another thing that has tainted my entire life. I suddenly realized very clearly that a lot of uncertainty about my career choices are because of this, not to mention the damage done to my friendships and relationships because of this. My friends may not see as much of it, because I can keep them at some kind of distance. But the closer someone gets to me (like, oh, say, a boyfriend?), the more I either convince myself that they don't like me, or I subconsciously try to convince them that they don't want to like me.

This can really put a damper on a girl's social life.

To his credit, my ex understood this, and in his way tried to snap me out of it. But ha! My will to dislike myself is much stronger. And now my new boy is now attempting to do the same. How many boys do I need to go through before I stop? I think I'm going to try to change this pattern now. For really real. I've done a lot more than let friendships go and make people frustrated with me. This dislike of myself has been so strong that to deal with it I spent a lot of time in my head. I would have visions in my head of how I felt I really was on the inside. It was fucking with my intuition, too, and I couldn't trust what was real and what wasn't.

The minute I uncovered this little treasure of a core belief, my daydreams of myself went away. It's been difficult to deal with the loss, but my intuitive abilities are intact, and I have the sneaking suspicion that I'll be able to trust myself a little more after I get this resolved. And I'm sure I'll still have visions and daydreams and other inspiring things. It all just has to change a little first.

I'm actually looking forward to what lies ahead.
 
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