Meandering Thoughts

I don’t hate makeup. I don’t hate hair styling. Sometimes I think I do, but what I really hate is my perceived lack of choice.

I am a programmer by profession. A job that relies on my mind and my hands. Not my face, not my shoes or purse, not my hair. And yet, I know I seem unkempt to my coworkers. Clean hair, earrings, and professional attire isn’t enough. My competence is always on the line, because it is difficult to assume it from a woman who isn’t “competent” at appearing womanly. If I don’t fulfill my obligation to the eyes of others, how can I fulfill my obligation to the company?

I find myself tired by interacting with almost everyone. Tired of realizing how immediately off-putting I seem because I do not do the right things, say the right things or look the right way based on that person’s model of a woman. Tired of realizing I will always be lacking in the eyes of others.

I’m also tired of fiction. I’m disappointed with heroines who are always feminine first, then heroic second. Even in books, the heroine is always concerned about her makeup and dress. Masculine women are almost always suspect, always brutal, and usually end up with bad ends. For women, femininity and heroism are tied together, just as masculinity and heroism are tied together for men.

I had a curious thought just now. While femininity and heroism being tied together rankles me, masculinity and heroism being tied doesn’t. It just seems natural. Huh. I have been warped by an androcentric (male-oriented) culture just as much as feminine women have, I suppose, but my reaction was wildly different. The flavorings of abuse and poor female role models probably contributed to that.

This is problematic. Do I view heterosexual relationships as being inherently unfair? Is my bedroom dead because I view my role as to always submit? I feel a lot of physical attraction to males, but not towards romantic relationships with them- male-female relationships tend to fall into comfortable, traditional grooves and a certain power structure that I am deeply uncomfortable with. More and more, I am unable to endure this in my own relationship. I don’t really think the traditional husband-wife dynamic bothers my husband because it benefits him. It’s easy. His parents did it, where’s the problem?

I love my husband, but I don’t love marriage. I don’t like this traditional role that I’ve settled into. Why did I get married, then? Because I didn’t think it would be like that. I didn’t think we would settle into that groove which is comfortable for him, but increasingly uncomfortable for me. He claims to want me to follow my dreams, but when I come home from work and spend hours cleaning and organizing, since he won’t do it, when is there time? He resists any efforts of mine to draw him into helping me, but will spontaneously, maybe once a week or less, put the dishes in the dishwasher or sweep the floor. And suddenly, he considers himself contributing equally to the household.

Is this a weight I’m always going to have to carry? What is the solution?

More thoughts to ponder upon.

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Bees and Blank Slates

It’s safe to say my social tendencies are more masculine than feminine. I love making good natured digs at other people, being silly, cursing, you name it. Well, at least I used to be. Now, I just keep to myself.

My social style is off-putting to people who expect feminine responses and behavior. People who expect me to be a lady, a limited state of being and a chafing, unnatural label that I itch to escape.

Instead of letting the men shine in conversation and cobbling together with any groups of women nearby, I tended to think of myself as an equal voice in nearly any conversation, within reason. But I know now that with my level of unattractiveness, there’s an unconscious rejection of what I say, no matter what or how I say it. And that it’s better to stay a lone wallflower then expect an equal say and be disappointed or lump myself with people I don’t relate to and who I have no desire to compete with. Most people are not wired for equality, and that is a hard truth to swallow, since I’ve always thought of myself as a natural egalitarian.

People have mistaken me in the past for someone who is so open to others that she might let herself be tricked or harmed. That has always frustrated me because the balance between protecting yourself and presuming good intent from others isn’t so hard. Because of my experiences with others lately, I would describe myself as more of a weary egalitarian. Still viewing people as blank slates, without any presumptions or assumptions written down, but tired. Tired of it never being returned. The scale has tilted more towards self-protection than assuming good intent, and that makes my heart ache. Because despite my childhood, I still had optimism that people who weren’t my parents could be kind, open, and accepting.

I don’t care if you’re blonde, blue eyed, made up, with perty hair and high heels and the best fashion. I won’t treat you any differently than the unkempt woman wearing sweatpants with snaggle teeth and crow’s nest hair. If you want to be the queen bee in your hive of lady bees, so be it. Bee it. I simply won’t scamper and caper to please. I’ll treat you as my equal.

And that’s all that’s necessary.

Title, Schmitle

When I was about 12, my middle school hosted a “medieval” event, which was a graded project for the students of my year. Dressing appropriately was required. I learned about the event, and dread immediately rose up in me. I knew I’d have to talk to my stepmother about acquiring a dress for a peasant girl. Such was my fear of her weeks flew by. And before I knew it, the day before the event came, and I had no dress.

In a panic, I tore through my wardrobe. Nothing I had was suitable for the event. Except… I pulled out a pair of capri pants, some long cream socks, and a loose white long sleeved shirt. Paired with some black flats and my hair tied back in a loose ponytail, I was the spitting image of a 1700s-1800s boy. Problem solved!

The event came and went. I felt a little awkward walking around dressed as a boy. Not because it bothered me in the slightest, but because I was worried about the reactions of others. Only one other student that I knew approached me, who commented on my outfit and said that I really looked like a medieval boy. No one said anything else, not a peep. And my grade was secured, my stepmother unaware, crisis averted.

Looking back, that could have gone so badly. I’m kind of thrilled it didn’t.

The major city we’re a county away from is having Pride tomorrow. I’ve been pondering meeting people who are trans or non-binary, maybe I could meet some if I attend. Make friends. Maybe not with cis-women; in southwestern Ohio, the likelihood that explaining I don’t really like anything they expect to have in common is extremely high. The chances of an inability to relate is very high. This is, I think, a big chunk of why I cast away The Couple. Figuring out that they needed to relate in proper, gender-specific ways meant that they were never going to really like or relate to me. It just wasn’t ever going to happen, no matter how much I tried. I get it, now.

Pride, though, sounds like a thing. I could at the very least get great photos with my newish DSLR.

I seriously need to get out of SW Ohio, though. Too close to the bible belt.