It has been a mundane month.
I try not to read the news, try my best to insulate myself from the outside, and navigate my days one by one. It works, for the most part. There isn’t a lot I can do when colleagues or friends discuss the events outside, but I try to filter them out. Enough for me is my life’s quirks. I have no sword to fight that mad world outside. Best be good and not make a sound.
At coffee, a female friend expressed envy over my comfort in all sorts of clothes. I thanked her, and wondered when I’d be as comfortable with everything else.
I still feel like an imposter in a man’s world, at work. There are conversations that invoke deja-vu, and yet I find it unable to stomach them, as they bawdily talk about women and sexual matters which to me are more suited to the realm of the home than of the workplace. My current boss somehow found it particularly appropriate to compare an arrow to a phallus, and while that seems a tad out of place for the setting of a meeting room to discuss random software stuff, it was still far from the weirdest things I have heard said by male superiors or colleagues. I don’t take any of it personally, since I know that it is probably only because the older men have spent their careers in a male-only sphere, and recent female additions to their workplaces are likely something they are still calibrating to. There are layers of concern – what if they are setting the tone for their younger male colleagues who admire and look up to them? what if this makes the place less welcoming to women? I don’t know. I am used to it by now, though I don’t find it endearing at all. I still find it effortful to connect with colleagues, and their nature, typical of the self-absorbed stereotype you see in the comedy sketches done on this industry, drains me. I come home and need hours to recharge. I think it is symptomatic of the worker in this industry, and not of the workplace. I am afraid I will one day become accepting of this world, inhabited as it is by aspirational versions of Don Draper and Peter Pan and Elon Musk, incapable as they are of bonding except in a very primitive manner, incapable as they are of taking the failures with the successes. There is the gender stuff. I’ll never be seen as capable until I prove it, whereas a man more inexperienced than me will be immediately seen as capable and entrusted with more. The salary gap is becoming a real concern. All of these are surmountable, though, with effort, and I am not unwilling to make that effort as and when necessary. Most jarring to me, however, is the coin-slot expectations. The coin-slots story continues, unbroken as I moved from college to grad-school, and then to the workplace. Somehow, men in this line of work often tend to think that being nice is the sole criterion to get female company and associated benefits. Somehow, professionalism flies out the window and all that is left is base pettiness. With the madness in the world outside, their views become more and more entrenched, and entitlement is a dangerous business, and it is hard to fight that battle everyday, in a graceful manner, with dignity, without endangering livelihood and without sacrificing personal values. I continue doing so, but it tires me. If I had known all of this earlier, I might have very well chosen a different line of work. Nursing, perhaps. It is a pity that I actually enjoy and thrive in the subject matter I work in.
I still think there are possible solutions to this, and I am trying to find them. I am disinclined to give up a great deal of risk and effort, undertaken over the years, because of other people’s ways of being. If there isn’t a way through, there must be a way around.
I have an inkling of what the solution might be. It will take a couple of leaps of faith, but I am told often that I am good at those when I dare make them. I have been reading old books that gave me comfort and strength in difficult times past, and I have been immersed in a language, still alive to many of us, beautiful and close to my heart. Perhaps I too shall write one day: Inimicum meum difficilimum gladio sapientiae magnae superavi.
In love with Gaga’s performance at the Super Bowl. Heard people talk about her belly fat. I had to look hard and long to find it, and then I found it sexy. The world isn’t becoming an easier place to understand. Time to get back to my cosy cocoon of studied ignorance, and the day-by-day approach through a life forcefully made mundane.