March 17, 2013

I've Become a Pushover

I have had probably about 16 years of knowing what it's like to be hit on as a generally well-liked, cis-female minority. And all in all, I've been extremely fortunate not to have had any seriously traumatizing things happen, but it's not like I haven't had experiences where I've been scared, uncomfortable, or in a situation where I felt like I was losing control of what was happening to me. And all of it stems from being afraid that I wasn't going to be respected. When I say I'm not interested, it's up to the other person to respect my boundaries and to just leave it at that. I think guys are more likely to have a hard time backing down, while girls are more likely to immediately start apologizing.

And maybe everyone feels this way, but whenever I have to decline any sort of advance, no matter how innocent or politely made, I think part of me is holding my breath, waiting to see if things are going to escalate. And the kind of behavior that creates this is perpetuated by both sides. Girls who play hard to get and guys who think if they just try hard enough or that the girl is just being shy. It's really not something that is fixable, because there's always going to be people like that and people who are genuinely shy and need more assertive pursuing. So I've learned to deal with this undercurrent of fear and just not think about it too much.

Most of the time it's easier just to ignore cat calls, but that doesn't do anything for the next person. Multiple times in my life I've had guys yell at me "Konnichiwa!" One of the last times it happened to me, I was so infuriated that all I could do was say, "I'm not Japanese." Which was really only a small part of it. Even if they had used Mandarin, cat calling in that fashion is super offensive. I think because it brings up the whole being "exotic" and using my language, something that I highly value, like that is disgusting.

Would it be reckless to try and work on not feeling afraid? I feel like it does prevent me from standing up for myself sometimes and presenting a strong, confident image. What I'm not sure about is whether the trade off would mean I'd have to defend myself more often, both verbally and physically. Because it is kind of stupid to have so many interactions colored by a what-if. I think it's at least a small thing I can do to let those people know that, no matter if was their intention or not, I'm refusing to let intimidation prevent me from letting them know how I feel.

Since I've buzzed my head, the amount of respectful compliments have increased. Just last night, I walked into a bar to use their ATM and a group of early St. Patrick's Day celebrants were leaving and one of the guys, without saying a word, held up his fist for a fist bump. I obliged and we continued on our respective ways without missing a beat. I wasn't even wearing any green, so I assume it must have had something to do with how badass I look on a general basis these days. And I feel like I should take more of an active effort to really internalize that badassery, because I practice pretending to be tough, but actually being tough is definitely something that has to be drawn out of me.

I know I have a solid vein of "I will fuck you up/this shit is going to get done" that is strongly backed by stubbornness, but it's not something I use very often and is generally not for public consumption. I think I just need a toned down version of it that I have always at the ready. Maybe that'll make me more of a "bitch" but if standing up for myself and saying what I think are characteristics of that, then bring it on.

March 2, 2013

March - ing On

We're two months into 2013!
Time to do a recap of how my goals are going:
1. Going to more story gaming.
This weekend is ECCC! I'm hoping to get some short gaming sessions in on Saturday.

2. Taking hip hop classes.
I finished my group of 4 classes and am about to start another 4 class bloc next week.

3. Going camping.
Have been unable to go camping so far, it's been too cold, but I have done some outdoorsy stuff, like going shoeshoeing. That was a nice adventure.

4. Doing the dishes after I make them dirty.
I've been bad about unloading the dishwasher, but actually cleaning pots and stuff that I've used while cooking has still been going well! I like it.

5. Getting rid of stuff.
My pile of things to get rid of has stayed about the same, and I still have it all. I think I'm going to need to decide how important getting any money for the items I'm trying to get rid of is. Because the main roadblock is putting items on Craigslist and going to thriftshops to see if they'll take any of my clothes for $.

6. Playing more video games.
Have played two sessions of Ni no Kuni, which I love, both because it's gorgeous, and because I've been able to be "in the know" and the cool kids club of raving over it. Still have Mass Effect to finish, chpt 3 of Walking Dead, and numerous other ones, but I've also started sessions of Borderlands 2 with W. It's been nice taking our time and actually trying to follow along with what the story is.

7. Blogging more.
Not doing so great on this one :). I think I've been too busy and not at home to really have time to sit down and think, but I had a really great and long convo with P last night over dinner that fleshed out a lot of thoughts and feelings I've been kicking around about appearance and clothes, so maybe I'll try putting that down sometime soon.

8. Being less jaded.
I don't recall anything that has happened recently to trigger my "ugh" reaction, but I think I am still trying to at least make the most out of my time and consciously spend my time. I think one of the things that might be good to keep in mind is that there are constantly new people coming into the world and they have to learn all of the awesome things from scratch. It's unfortunate that some people are just not lucky or privileged enough to be exposed to all of the wonderful things and have an opportunity for themselves to decide if it is actually wonderful or not.

And it's unfair of me to lord it over an unfortunate that so-and-so is crappy and lame because I've gotten to try's kind of like I'm giving away spoilers for life and living. It's an obviously insecure and hierarchy-posturing thing that I do and if there's anything I've learned from this last year of soul-searching, it's that I am well-loved, people care and think I'm awesome. No matter how much I change and explore different facets of being me, I have enough support to succeed. And also importantly, I've come to realize and learn to accept that things in life are not set in stone. I do have power over my life and my choices and they don't need to be dictated by others.