Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Carrying the Donkey....reviewing my word for the year

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is all of those "year in review" articles that circulate the interwebs.  But oddly enough for all of my loving those articles, I've not ever reviewed my last year on the blog.

Don't worry....I am not going to give you highlights, but I do want to review my word for the year, which was strategic.  My intent was that it was supposed to be a word that was to guide all of my actions, and in many ways I think that it did.  I thinned out alot of my extracurricular responsibilities and somehow managed to expand my current ones.  However the past few months of this year, strategic has not been the word of focus, but herculean.  That is how finishing everything has felt- herculean.  Going into work, bathing, finishing tasks, following through on my day-to-day responsibilities....all requiring a level of effort that seems almost impossible to conjure up.  But I've managed.

Those close to me have noticed....and I seem to have a variety of people making comments about how I should drop this thing or that thing, work less, etc.  I get it.  I do.  These are all very well meaning things to say to me.  However, right now....it all comes off as criticism.  That not only am I not managing but that I am doing everything WRONG.  There is a Hodja story that I find particularly appropriate to this situation...

One day Hodja and his son were traveling to a neighboring city.  Hodja felt like walking and allowed his son to ride on their donkey for the journey.  As they were walking people on the road exclaimed "See? Look at the selfishness of today's youth!  That boy is forcing that poor old man to walk! How disrespectful!"

So Hodja decided that maybe it would be better if he rode the donkey and his son walked alongside.  As they continued on their way, more people commented "I can't believe it.  That old man is making that poor little boy walk that whole way!  How rude of him!"

At this Hodja decided that maybe both he and son should ride the donkey, but even then people commented, "Look at those two! Riding on the back of that poor donkey like that! That is animal cruelty!"

Getting frustrated, Hodja then decided that neither of them should ride on the donkey.  That, however, still did not stop people from talking, "Look at those two idiots walking when they have a perfectly fine donkey to ride upon!"

Completely fed up, Hodja then picks up the donkey and puts it up on his shoulders.  "If this doesn't stop people from talking, I don't know what will!"

When I first read this story, I only thought about how people are criticizing others and where do they get off thinking that's ok....blah blah blah.  Which is true.  When I told this story to my boss, her immediate response was "I get that! We keep changing the ways that we do stuff to please other people, but they still keep complaining.  If we make one group happy, another one isn't."  That interpretation has been really resonating with me lately.  No matter what I do, I can't seem to make anyone else happy....least of all myself.  Trying to constantly adapt and change to others people's whims are annoying and slow down progress....but the goal is the same.....just like Hodja,  I am still traveling from one place to another.  Does it really matter how I get there, just so long as I get there in the end?

So while I feel like I am carrying a donkey on my shoulders,  I'm still on the path. For all the struggles, the path is kinda interesting at the moment.  When I was re-reading the strategic post, I was surprised to see that I had written that I was having trouble with the season in general.  This holiday season has been awful for me.  I don't have the Christmas spirit, I don't want to give people gifts, and I've been avoiding all holiday type activities....I've been depressed (I actually took a sick day because I couldn't will myself to leave the house), I've been crying alot and generally emotionally raw.  It's because I'm triggered and have been in an emotionally triggered state for a couple of months now.  So many anniversaries of Mr.3 awfulness, so many feelings of abandonment, loss, and that I will never truly fit in anywhere or with anyone ever again.  These past few months have been awful....and I'm not out of it, I'm still right in the middle of it....and I will be, for a while.

When I first thought of writing this post, I was going to suggest changing my annual word in acknowledgement of my failure to let it guide me.  After deeper thought (and can I just say that the amount of thinking I've been doing lately is exhausting!) I realized that I am where I am at the moment because I have been strategic.....very much so.  By working earlier in the year by really asking if everything that I was doing was really serving me....I created a situation of stability-financially and emotionally.  A place where I can actually have the space to deal with all the boxed up issues I've got. 

Now the best-case scenario out of this would be able to continue the work that I am doing without taking much more criticism from others, because carrying a donkey is hard enough as it is. 
I'm trying folks, I am. 
But no, I don't want to talk about it. 
Yes, I am making sure that I am ok and will see a professional if I feel that I need to. 
Yes, I am going out and doing non-work related things but no, there are times when I need to stay in and work because bills don't go away if you are depressed. 
No, I'm not being "too nice" to others, that is just my leadership style. 
No, I'm not being too hard on you, I just have a low tolerance for your bullshit, excuses, and lies (and lying is a major trigger for me so if you are caught in one, run for the hills). 
Yes, I believe that honesty is the best policy but if your really don't want an honest answer to your question, you should perhaps rethink asking me that....because as you can see....I lost my "tact" filter a few miles down the road.
Yes, I will let you know what I need....whenever I figure out what that is.
No, I am not being evasive on that question, because I really don't know what I need right now.
And yes, if I said that I would do something, I will.....but the timelines may not be on your schedule, and sometimes, depending on the day, may not be on mine either.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

And the internet rewards my feminist activism with the beautifully sarcastic #MenUnderSiege...

Thank you internet.
Sometimes your awesomeness cannot be contained.

Earlier today while I was scanning through the news for my day job I came across this article on GV: High-Profile Editor Tarun Tejpal Accused of Sexually Assaulting Young Reporter.  This is just one of many articles to come out from India about rape and sexual assault lately....but then again, as I research the news everyday for work---there is rape and sexual assault in every country...it is only the news coverage that seems to vary, never the abuse.

So I promptly read the article, posted it up on the UCASA twitter feed and then went about my day.

Then I started to notice this hashtag #MenUnderSiege popping up on my tweetdeck account.  Apparently in response to the news of these allegations against Tarun Tejpal, columnist for India Today, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, wrote a piece entitled "Men under a state of siege".  In this article he sites the "grey areas" now present in India's new rape laws, such as "The police are duty-bound to register a case as soon as they receive information, even if the complainant hasn't come forward."  Because, of course, crimes don't happen unless a victim reports, right? Which under that reasoning would mean that murder wouldn't be a crime because their was no complainant....right?   He's also very upset that the definition of sexual harassment includes " 'sexual overtures' (like sending an email or a text message), demanding 'sexual favours' and 'forcible disrobing.'" I can only imagine that he's not seen a definition of the word harassment which includes the terms 'demanding' and 'forcible' before.  He's upset about a lot....I'm just going to post a paragraph here and insert my comments in [ ].

"Frighteningly, the new law makes it clear that consent given under intoxication does not translate into informed consent. [Standard law just about everywhere, bub.]This means that a drunken consensual tumble with a woman can come back to haunt the man the next day, or even ten years later. [Tumble? Are all of his sexual encounters tumbles?] This seems grossly unfair. [Oh, I am sorry- Not.]And what about demanding sexual favours? Clinton, for example, was clearly demanding a sexual favour of Monica Lewinsky. [Hee hee hee....he's really going there?] But if a man offers to 'go down' on a woman - is he offering a submissive sexual favour or demanding one? [He has some issues I think on defining what masculinity looks like I think- cause I don't think that many would consider that as 'submissive'] Many Indian men admit privately that they feel they are under a state of siege. The bedroom has been criminalised. [That's a stretch....] Is it going to be impossible to form relationships from now on? [Not necessarily, if you get sober consent for tumbles, he should be good.]"

In response to this article, there was a brilliant piece called "Dear Indian Men, breathe, you're not 'under a siege'....you should read her full article, but her opening is priceless:
 "Gentle and not-so-gentle men of India, I am writing to you in your hour of crisis. You, sirs, are under siege. Chances are you didn’t realise this because you get paid more than women on an average, enjoy greater freedom than women in your demographic, face no gender prejudice, are applauded for your progressive liberalism when you do revolutionary things like treat a woman as your equal, and generally benefit from living in a patriarchal society. But don’t let this facade fool you. Listen, instead, to author Palash Krishna Mehrotra."

And then the rest of Twitter has chimed in with the BRILLIANT hashtag of "MenUnderSiege".  Here are some of my favorites:

How can I prove to my wife that I am a man if I cannot beat or rape my her? #MenUnderSiege from sexgenderbody

A bar full of women wanting to buy their own drinks, have fun, dance and go home, unraped, unmolested #MenUnderSiege from GreaterBombay

 Had to find the other sock on my own.  #MenUnderSiege from dangertoon

Asked to tell the difference between brown and beige. #MenUnderSiege from saureign

Had to make my own sandwich. #MenUnderSiege from over_rated

asked, but she said no #menUnderSiege from i_r-squared

We never get asked to drape ourselves over new cars at auto shows #MenUnderSiege from SanSip

Picked her up from her place. Took her to a fancy dinner. Won't sleep with me because don't know her well enough.Prude. #MenUnderSiege from Mansimusing

Expects to be loved for who she is. Seriously, a boob job never hurt anyone. #MenUnderSiege from Mansimusing

And my absolute favorite:

The seat is down #MenUnderSiege from Vnemana

Next to someone inventing a sarcasm font, this whole scenario could not have made my day more.

Gentle and not-so-gentle men of India, I am writing to you in your hour of crisis. You, sirs, are under siege. Chances are you didn’t realise this because you get paid more than women on an average, enjoy greater freedom than women in your demographic, face no gender prejudice, are applauded for your progressive liberalism when you do revolutionary things like treat a woman as your equal, and generally benefit from living in a patriarchal society. But don’t let this facade fool you. Listen, instead, to author Palash Krishna Mehrotra.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/living/dear-indian-men-breathe-youre-not-under-a-siege-1263097.html?utm_source=ref_article

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I Miss the Old Days of Blogging

Back in the day when no one was really sure what a blog was....
Back when I could write whatever I wanted about whoever I wanted with the knowledge that no one was ever going to read it in the first place.....
Back when I knew that I could vent my true feelings without getting contacted by whoever to see if I was ok or not....

I kinda feel like I live in two places....the public face where I show everyone what I want them to see.  And the private....that space where you want to unburden your soul but know that you could never trust someone with that information.

I also feel like I've been thinking too much....its exhausting.  Friends and family are noticing it now apparently too....this inclination to want to be by myself, not wanting to talk about it, and the strange unanswered tears when I try to vocalize any of it.

Who knew that my numerology reading for the year would have been so accurate.

So for those of you who think that I'm ignoring you....you have alot of company.  You should all get together and have a party....for you don't know what I'm saving you from.  For those of you who seem to think that by criticizing how I am spending my time is a way to make me change or that it will 'snap me out of it'.... you should know that any criticism at the moment is being viewed as condemnation.  Don't make fun of how I choose to spend my time, or how I approach my work, or my weird thing where I never ask for help when I need it.   You either love me or you don't.   And if you love me....you'll be patient.