I had a good conversation about gender last night. A good conversation about gender involves wine and pizza. We all were able to contribute and listen and be heard. (Well, I may have talked too much.)
We talked about femininity in the work place. The other woman present is often read as feminine in a typical sense. She is petite. She has long hair. She wears make up and earrings. She is pretty and put together. I am kind of disheveled. Some days I straighten my hair or put on jewelry. I hardly ever wear make-up. I tend to speak up when I disagree with things. She is silent, not engaging with their ignorance. She tells me that sometimes she takes out her earrings, because she feels she looks too feminine and that the male -dominated environment makes her very aware of her gender. We talk about how femininity is seen as incapability, how women are so often still defined through the men they are with.
We talk about families. My siblings just let me know they are all getting together for Christmas, without the parents. My brother adds, “add four significant others are coming.” That leaves me and my sister with a one year old to be the two that are significant otherless. I am the oldest. I imagine part of the narrative they have is that I went out to California to become a lesbian, that I have worse daddy issues than everyone else because I took it the hardest and I’m too sensitive. All these typical arguments for why women are “damaged” or unable to find someone who will be with them. I also note the fact that coming from a younger male sibling, everyone will get together, but when I tried to do the same exact thing the year before, they weren’t willing to come together. I have done enough therapy to hold space for the idea that they just weren’t ready, that they couldn’t hear it from me because of the role of mini-mom that I played in my family, but it stings.
I get defensive. I could be in a relationship. I can find men who will not only “put up with me,” but adore me. There are men that do. I don’t want to be with them. I haven’t found my equal. I haven’t found someone who can see and treat me as an equal. I am also not ready to have the type of relationship I want to have. I am in a place emotionally where I still want a man fix. When I am sad, I want to curl up in their arms and cry and indulge in this mutual cling, this mutual giving up to a big scary world beyond that facilitates isolation, hibernation, eating, smoking, languishing. I don’t want that. I want productivity. I want self-sufficient. I want strength and assuredness. I want drive. I want an upbeat energetic individual. That fuels me. That inspires me. That helps me distance myself through their example of healthy self-time. Then I can see what they are doing and the importance of it and the need to respect that space. Then they are also busy! And I won’t be their everything! I won’t be a source of shame because of my ambition.
(So many people are busy. But are they doing anything?) But anyway, I had a 24-hour period of time where I felt very inadequate. In which I wondered if I were actually un-dateable. If a man would never find me truly lovable. Then I did some silks, some writing, talked it over with people, cried and cuddled with my breakup kitties in bed and got over it.