Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I am not your Gameboy

This is a big huge long pile of venting.

This is venting coming out after I spent most of today being very perplexed, frustrated, and annoyed by a comment on one of my MacAdmins talks that I, at first, assumed was a whine-fest from a disgruntled NiceGuy™ but was actually from another woman in tech who was at the conference.

Be warned. It's a giant wall of text after the jump.

There is no magical "we all have uteruses" club for women in tech.

There is no unspoken bond of "we all have uteruses, so we must be friends" for women in tech.

There is no unwritten rule of "we have to make sacrifices and look after every single other woman" for women in tech.

Right now I'm mad. Mad at myself, mad at culture, and mad at unreasonable expectations others project on me.

TL:DR, I broke one of my cardinal personal rules, and dumbly added a stranger to my friends list on Facebook.

I did my best to be nice. I swear, I really did. I tried to be polite. I tried to disengage from this person as kindly and gently as I could, because they very honestly weren't the sort of person I would ever choose to be friends with.

So… I hurt this person's feelings, and they decided that rather than, oh, I dunno, contacting me to say "hey, what gives?" apparently they assumed I was psychic, didn't say anything, let that fester, and then left weird feedback on a talk I gave at a conference. Saying I ruined their entire experience.

First off: I have nowhere near that much power. Take some agency over your own life, and don't elevate me up to some be all, end all, manic pixie dream nerd. I am not a saint or a messiah or an epic hero out of mythology. Putting unreasonable expectations on a stranger to be your hero is foolhardy at best, at worst? I guess I should feel lucky it didn't turn into Stephen King's Misery in the end.

Second off: I'm not magical or psychic, I cannot read minds and figure out what other people are thinking. If you have something to say to me, then say it! I'm not going to go around touching base with every single person. In fact, I typically take a passive approach — y'all can come to me, not the other way around. I'm actually pretty shy, so, I don't tend to make the first move. Unfortunately, the person who sparked all of this? They can't contact me anymore, because, well, I won't put up with the kind of BS they pulled.

Third off: Just because I'm brave enough to go stand up in front of people and talk that does not make me public property. It does not mean you can expect me to fawn all over you because you deigned to pay attention to me. I don't care who or what you are — I still have full agency over me. Also, being in public does not make it A-OK for people to violate my personal space, to touch me, or for me to be obligated to interact with you on any level. Period.

Fourthly: Just because we're both women it does not mean that I am obligated to be your friend, mentor, BFF, bosom buddy, bestie, et cetera. Peers? Possibly, we might do the same work, so sure, you might be my peer. Come out of left field and be weird, and keep pushing the weird at me? …I think I left the refrigerator running, I should go check on that.

This whole situation is a pile of assumptions and wild conclusion-jumping. Honestly? I wish my initial assumptions, that the weird feedback had been left by a NiceGuy™ on a rampage because I hadn't paid attention to him, had been correct. It's infinitely easier to write off NiceGuys™ — having the feedback come from another woman? I'm still not sure how to feel about it.

I do realize that I am polarizing, and that I am most definitely not everyone's cup of tea. To quote Ralph in Wreck-it Ralph and his BadAnon compatriots: "I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be then me."

I'm just a normal, run-of-the-mill human. Not some magical manic pixie dream IT girl who will be everyone's best friend and solve all the problems of ever.

Right now I happen to be tired, frustrated, and peeved. So… I'm going to go to bed, and try to put this behind me. Taking the time to vent helps me feel a bit better though.

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