I'M SO EXCITED!!
I get messages all the time redirecting my attention to terrible articles about people who irresponsibly sort-of-try polyphasic sleep, don't keep to a schedule, fail to adapt, get terribly sleep-deprived (and then half the time, blame me or polyphasic sleep for that :/) … and I get emails regularly asking me to be interviewed for articles in magazines and publications that, even when they ask good questions on the phone, 90% of the time turn around and produce highly-inaccurate fluff pieces that drive me utterly crazy to read (thanks, Scientific American; I still throw up in my mouth a little when I hear your name).
BUT THIS ONE. *This* small blog did it almost perfectly. (And so of course I missed their message to me about this post for months. :FACEPALM:)
CLICK HERE RIGHT TF NOW to read an excellent post/article on a well-done and sanely-reported polyphasic sleep journey…from someone other than me! (Someone who, frankly, sounds like a more reliable source than me, even to me, lol.) Then drop her a comment and say thank you, because wow, the author deserves it!
…Actually, I said that too gently (wow, never happens, right?) — I feel downright unsafe in all-female spaces, ALL OF THEM.
I feel unsafe in all-female spaces for two reasons, which I'm gonna be super, SUPER clear about right here, up front, so there can be no mis-readings because after this I'm about to swear a lot:
REASON ONE: Because being put into all-female spaces is IDENTIFYING AND SEPARATING ME BY MY SEX, which is about as close as you can get to the definition of sexual discrimination. If you think this is in any way an academic or unimportant point, please do keep reading, because I'm gonna fix that and how.
REASON TWO: Because men, as men, i.e. people with penises, are not dangerous to me. SEXISM IS. Yes, I have suffered sexual violence from some men, men who were trained by the sexist elements of our society to be violent to me. I've also been saved, supported, befriended, helped and raised by some awesome, non-sexist men…and I've ALSO been separated from those men and their support, kept from having deep relationships with them, and refused entry into "their" spaces because of my gender; and instead put into spaces with people who, while they may have also been women, were just plain awful to me.
And since sexist women are usually in favor of segregation (duh), segregated spaces are full of them; so when you segregate girls and women ('for their safety'), you often stick us with precisely the people most likely to abuse us with their sexism, which includes drilling it into us as children that women are lesser creatures than men. I learned that lesson as a child very thoroughly, and almost entirely from women. Women I didn't want to be hanging around with anyway.
This isn't an accident. This is part of how the system perpetuates itself.
Now that I'm an adult, I've quit sports I love that have segregated games. I've turned down every single invite to a girls-only party I've ever gotten. And — I can't help this — I basically forever-distrust anyone who tries to push me into female-only spaces. Because those people are explicitly being sexist.
Even if they think they're making me "safer" or trying to be kind, what they're doing is segregating me based on my (perceived) sex / gender.
It's certianly not that I've never felt the lash of sexism — I mean please, I was raised Catholic and blue-collar; sexism is everywhere in my life, and feminism for me definitely comes from having fought (or still fighting) my way free of some seriously horrendous sexist bullshit.
But here's the thing: As a feminist and oft-victim-of-the-patriarchy, it's not men I need protecting from. It's sexists. And if you think that women aren't sexist, or aren't as sexist, then holy shit are you not paying attention.
…And not only that, but if you think that female-only spaces are in any way an answer to sexism, then you badly misunderstand what sexism is, and need to get your ass back to school about it, pronto. Sexism is discriminating based on sex, and a key ingredient of discrimination is separating (segregating) people. Right? Forcing people to identify as one or the other, publicly; and then dictating what they can and can't do based on their identified sexual category: That's sexism in a nutshell.
If that's difficult for you, think about racism, which is neatly analogous: Racism is discriminating based on race, and one of its key tools is identifying your race ("are you white or black", paper-bag tests, etc) and then separating people by race, which we now know is icky and horrible and stupid and wrong. Could we have been racist without also segregating? Without black schools, black neighborhoods, white-only events and signs for water-fountains? It's an interesting question, but it's 100% clear and obvious that the segregation was / is a big, necessary part of the whole racist system. And the sexist one.
But we still do it; we still demand to know someone's sex/gender and control what they can and can't do, where they can go, what teams they can be on, based on it. Still. CAVALIERLY, AS THOUGH IT'S OKAY. And I write shit like this when I should be getting ready for work, because for some fucking reason I am still not only getting invites to "girls-only" things, but people look at me funny when I don't want to go, and that's not okay. IT IS NOT OKAY.
Regarding invites to girls-only / femme-only events: I usually answer those invites by reminding people that I have trans/queer friends who, you know, might not want to identify their fucking genitals at the door, and might feel REALLY UNWELCOME at your party / whatever if it's for "women only". (That's not "the point", but it's a useful edge case for making the beginning of the point.)
In answer, people almost always try to explain why they're "not discriminating" (yes you are) and why my friends who don't like disclosing their gender (but that *includes me*, not because I'm trans but for other reasons that have a lot to do with abuse suffered through sexism) SHOULD feel welcome. Because of course they would BE welcome, because they're my friend! …Oh good, so friends of mine get to "pass", do they?
LISTEN TO YOURSELF.
What if I brought a friend who looked 100% male and acted masc? Would you ask what's in their pants? What if I / we shut that shit down and refused to answer questions about their gender? You might "allow" them in (oooh look at you, guardian of the pants, being all benevolent), but then everybody there would stare and be uncomfortable, because this was *supposed* to be a coloreds-only — oh, sorry, women-only — event.
Also, THAT "SHOULD", oh my GOD: You're going to hold a segregated event, but if someone doesn't want to show / talk about / buy admission with your sex, then that's THEIR FAULT? Becuase they "should" feel welcome, even though you're explicitly unwelcoming them?? Fuck you to infinity.
So I guess let me put that last sentence another way, because I can't stop feeling like I can't repeat it enough: WHEN I AM BEING ASKED (or gods forbid, required, as does still happen) TO SEPARATE MYSELF INTO A SUBGROUP BECAUSE OF MY SEX, and to participate in different activities with different people because of what's in my pants, then that is NOT OK. It is explicitly the opposite of "moving towards equality". It is backwards, cruel, blind, stupid and not. ever. okay.
Further, this is not some academic, semantic point, where "technically it's segregation, but come on, it's just a hockey game / tea party / book club / whatever, it's not like you're being abused" — um, hell yes I am. Do you know where the majority of my experiences of sexism causing me direct pain come from? From roomsful of women.
– Women telling me that I wasn't good enough because my performance of femininity wasn't up to par.
– Women telling me that I could or couldn't, should or shouldn't pursue various hobbies, interests and goals because of my sex.
– Women insisting that I participate in things I didn't want to do, wear clothes that made me super uncomfortable with my body, interact sexually with other people in ways I didn't want to, and keep my mouth shut about things because it wasn't my place.
ETC, from when I was tiny right up until shit, yesterday actually.
So here's some equality for ya: Sexism isn't confined to people with dicks. Women can be INCREDIBLY sexist, especially when they were raised to be. Separating child-me from my supportive father and male friends and forcing me to do "girl things" with women who shamed me was not safety. And putting me in situations where I'm forced to be around people I did not choose, with whom I do not feel comfortable, doing things I do not want to do, because you demanded to know what's in my pants and then made me go with the other people with vaginas…
Yes, it is a true fact that most sexual abusers are men — but we don't need to protect women from men. We need to protect them from abuse, and we do that by educating people likely to abuse women (i.e. men) on how and why not to do it, and how and why to keep an eye on each other and do something about signs of it. We do that by making sure the punishments for sexual abuse and violence are stiff, serious, and oh yeah, actually applied, pretty much unlike every story you've read this year about a college-age rapist.
One more time for the people in the back: You "protect women" by making their society less forgiving of violence against women. NOT BY FUCKING SEGREGATING THEM.
Oh my god, if we put black kids in their own school or on their own sports teams today "for their own good," because "most violence against blacks is caused by whites"? FFFFFFFFFFFFFF.
But the same thing gets done to me. FREQUENTLY.
SEGREGATION IS NOT OKAY.
Aw, man. It's that time of year again — that festive semi-annual holiday where I get to be stared at like my favorite accessory is a tinfoil hat. But history will bear me up: You may think it's weird that I boycott following the Olympics, but in another couple (years? decades? generations? who knows) I'll get to be one of The Few that, even in our dark and dumbshit days, wasn't willing to let segregation slide.
* SEGREGATION AND "SEPARATE BUT EQUAL" IS NOT OKAY
* GENDER SEGREGATION IS SEGREGATION
* I REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN OR CONDONE SEGREGATED THINGS
Q-E-freaking-D. There's more below, but if you understand the above three points, then it really isn't necessary. (Sadly, a lot of people don't understand one, two or even all three of those points, so…here we go.)
And no, this isn't about me being "not a sports fan". I love many sports that are featured in the Olympics, and I definitely find watching people competing at the peak of any physical activity to be fascinating and awesome. (I'll definitely see some of the Olympics stuff in clips online, and I will clap and cheer as Katie Ledecky smashes records and Simone Manuel defies physics and Fu Yuanhui is cute as hell, and all that. It would take a lot of effort to avoid it *all*, and anyway I want to know about and celebrate the people competing as much as anyone, so yes, I sneak in YouTube clips when I hear about something great.) It's awesome stuff, and I like it, and if I had my way I'd be throwing and attending all the viewing-parties and whatnot. I might even be one of the folks that pays for access to the good programming, in spite of how gross the Olympics as a corporation is, if it didn't violate one of my core moral principles in a way that I refuse to gloss over: I DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN GENDER SEGREGATION.
Furthermore, I AM LOOKING RIGHT AT ALL OF YOU WHO DO. You're participating in segregation against women by doing it, and I will hold my tongue until or unless you say something really stupid, in which case it's on.
We all have our moral codes, and I can't set yours — watch if you must. But if you don't want to suddenly find a steaming pile of "me being really fucking outraged" in your lap, then mind what you say about it. Remember that you are watching a mostly-segregated competition, and that centuries of segregation have shaped who does what and who wins and how.
Do NOT, for the love of everything, make comments like "Wow, a BLACK WOMAN won, like, for the first time ever! She's soooo amazing and special since that's never been done before!" Well, sure she's special — she's an Olympic athlete — but that's not why no-one like her has ever won before. No-one like her has ever won before because we've forbidden people like her from competing, for basically all of human history. And so few people like her are competing today because we still discourage and even outright forbid people like her from even learning or practicing the sport, and we have done so for so long that culturally, it's a huge stretch for a kid — a black kid, a girl kid, etc — to even take lessons or obtain high-level training if they happen to be super talented.
DO NOT FORGET that these things are true and STILL true, if you want to walk away from your Olympics unscathed by my ripping you a new one.
DO NOT PAT YOUR OWN PRIVILEGED BACK that there are a few women or blacks competing — ESPECIALLY when the women are still competing in a segregated sub-game. It's SO disgusting. We have NOT solved these problems, and the Olympics is as much giant spotlight on what's still wrong as it is a glimmer of hope that things are slightly better now. And as long as there's segregation — never mind in schools and organizations and teams of every type, but even at the top level where it's most visible, and arguably easiest to fix — then we have NOT FIXED SHIT. If you squee about how great it is *and especially* if you make comments about how fantastic and weird it is that "women can do that" or whatever, you are being revolting and stupid and if you don't break your own arm patting your back in this case, I will help.
Okay, that's this year's reminder; enjoy your segregated games y'all. I'll be over here hoping that sometime during my life, athletic competition at a global level stops being blatantly discriminatory against women (and others) so that I can watch too.
I saw this again today, in a comment on a Taoist forum: "I'm a Christian, but I'm also a Taoist! Some people may see a conflict in that, but it works for me!"
Well duh it works for you, homie. You're a member of the default, popular, nearly-politically-mandatory religion in this country, which gains you a huge wad of social cred and privilege (which, maybe you don't recognize that fact, but like all privilege, it's true even if you're ignorant of it). And yet, you've recognized that the dominant religion has some…problems for you, things you don't agree with philosophically, morally, or cosmologically; or maybe you've just read some history and gotten grossed out at all the Crusades. Regardless, a different set of religious ideas has begun to appeal to you…but if you switched allegiances, you'd have to deal with all those privileged Christians treating you like shit all the time! What do, what do?
Oh I know, you can be a complete fucking coward and pretend, no matter how UTTERLY ridiculously not true it is, that your new chosen faith is "compatible" with Christianity. You can strut around claiming all the benefits of Christianity, while flip-flopping instantly in any conversation that includes its detriments to "really, a Buddhist" or "in my heart, a Taoist" or some other such rank bullshit.
Well, I was born and raised a Christian (and am not anymore, privately and publicly), and to anyone who perhaps doesn't understand the religion, let me clear this up: Christianity, even super-lite gay-friendly nondenominational sorta-Christianity, is NOT COMPATIBLE with holding another religion's — especially another culture's — views to be true. If you "are a Christian" then you are philosophically a monotheist (or you are a heretic), you stand behind the teachings of Christ as written / passed down through the Church and the various Councils (or you are a hypocrite), and you grant the power and authority of the Christian church-structure (or you are, to them, a criminal; and if this were a few hundred years ago you'd be killed for it).
There actually *are* some religions which are explicitly okay with their followers "blending" faiths and such — many of which decided to be that way after realizing that anihilation by Christians was their only other option — but in Chrisitianity, the only acceptable reason to even listen for one second to "pagan thoughts" is because you're planning to convert, overthrow, or (sorry to be harsh but) murder the pagans in question. To claim that you "are" a Taoist or somesuch is grounds for an instant banning, both from all legitimate Christian institutions, and socially from the general mileiu of Christian-Westerners.
It's also wildly insulting to people who actually believe and follow the tenets of another religion, especially if that other religion happens to be one of the many that Christians have gone on violent campaigns to enslave or overthrow, and yes, you're being amazingly gross and the epitome of culturally-appropriative by saying it.
JUST STOP. Either throw your lot in with Christianity, which you were probably born to and/or defaulted to and yes, it's quite comfortable there in our culture, isn't it; OR step up and say no, you'd like to play another game instead, and deal with the backlash that gets you and maybe while you do so, do some meditating on how important it is to respect other religions and cultures because the road between "dissing foreigners" and "mass killings" is pretty damn short, innit?
TL;DR: Playing in the sandbox of Big Ideas requires not being a wuss.
No, Timmy, you can't be on *both* teams.
(For the record, I have a million reasons to no longer call myself Christian, but the easiest one to explain is this: I'm a woman. For me to be Christian is morally analogous to a black person being a KKK member. Christians have perpetrated more torture, horror, injustice and death on the female half of the species than damn near anyone else in history, and after educating myself about the past and present outcomes of their beliefs and activities, I would actually choose to burn at the stake over giving them a single dime of my time. ::spits::)
I've learned three really cool new phrases lately, in my studies of the nature of void!
(shut up, we've all got hobbies)
1. Spacetime foam: The term for what space and time look like on a quantum (teeeeeeeeny) level, such as in the first moments after the big bang, when they (space and time) blur together in a way that scientists assure us is way way harder to imagine than you think. (Challenge accepted!)
2. Quantum gravity: A term for the "unified theory" of physics. Currently there are two major theories that seem to work — quantum mechanics (which ignores gravity but makes the numbers work otherwise) and general relativity (which explains/mathematically factors in gravity but doesn't make the physical mechanics work at a quantum level). A "unified theory" would involve making both theories work at once, and thus gets the catchy-to-the-point-of-sounding-fake name of "quantum gravity".
3. Seething vacuum: A great term for how quantum physicists think of vacuum and the void. This phrase recognizes that all emptiness is singing with the vibrations of quantum energy — the zero-point field, if you, like me, miss that cool term too. Because of ZP energy, a vacuum may be "empty" but it is not silent or still, and its "seething" produces motion, which in turn affects the path of electrons and other particles passing through it. It's a really cool look at the boundary of energy and matter, and the place at which the "zero becomes one" in the Chinese sense. Plus, band name, am I right?
Today is a big day, yet, other than this post, it will receive no fanfare. Today I'm going to break an addiction.
I'm not going to say what the addiction "is to", because what I want to put down here should be equally useful for dealing with all of them, and I really want people to think about how many there are and how profoundly they impact us all, regardless of their object.
I have about one left. Two, after I scrape the storage containers for bits. Then I'll put all the associated things away, all my ritual gear, tucked away on the back of some shelf, like the tarot card decks wrapped in cloth that I haven't touched in years.
I'm already having cravings, but it isn't because I've been cutting back: Conversely, when I decide to quit a thing, I tend to binge until my supply of it is gone. In the presence of scarcity, my psychological cravings spike, a response to the sudden real fear that I'm going to run out. I've learned to let this happen, and to go ahead and binge at the end. It makes me run out faster, and if it also makes me feel sick, then that's a good thing to hang onto, to remember over the next week or more while I'm UGHing my way through the withdrawal symptoms.
Do I sound familiar with this process? I am, and if you're like the vast majority of grown-up people, so are you. It's part of adulthood, to realize you've become addicted to something and that it's time now; you need to let it go. I'm willing to guess that it may be one of the key defining aspects of an adult human life, even. And for the people who like to diminish the value of the word "addiction" by snorting that "we're all addicted to oxygen! and water!", I would gently remind them that one day those things, too, will need to be let go; as will love, success, money, work, our children — eveything. We are on a path of constant loss, and that's not a bad thing, just a sobering real thing that real, fully-formed people all need to face. YES I know how hard it is to give up an addictive substance, and yes, one day I'll know that about oxygen too. By then, I hope I'm truly an old hat at this, and the weapons of acceptance, awareness, and humility that I've been using all this time are sharp and imbued with all kinds of badass spells.
But I've done this before with this substance, too. The last time was pretty recently, but then a common pattern of behaviors knocked me off the wagon, and I thought I'd be able to just quit again right away, but then things were so stressful here and I couldn't, and I found myself right back where I was six months ago. It's only been about 2 months since that happened, so I'm hoping that some of the recent behavior changes are still ingrained a little, and will be easier to switch back to than if they hadn't existed at all. But we'll see; either way, this is an important health issue and it needs my attention before it becomes a serious problem. It will suck, but I owe my body this sacrifice.
Off to work. When I get home there'll be one more waiting, and maybe one more after that (which I'll probably have immediately because it'll be the last one, and I'll want to rip off the bandaid and start the process already so badly it'll be making me nuts). Then, for the rest of tonight and tomorrow and the next day and the next day, none. I'll need to find other ways to relax, plain and simple. Because it's time.
This week, I did a thing *in the manner that my kungfu / philosophy training would have me do it*, even though that was really backwards from how I normally would act, and how I fairly desperately wanted to act. It felt nifty, in that it felt like being deliberate and humble and aware and correct, which are peaceful and powerful feelings; but it also felt god-awful scrapey painful as hell, like stretching into splits.
Taoists are like Jedi (or rather, Jedi are like Taoists, since that's where this comes from): You NEVER attack. (Until you do, but that's a separate lesson, mwahaha.) You don't even defend, *except the bare minimum* that you must in order to honor and protect your Self. You respond to adversity with stillness, awareness, acceptance and faith — not in yourself or other people or a supernatural magic thing that could rescue you, but in *the Universe-thing generally knowing what it's doing*. You "offer up" your discomfort and fear, and commit to accepting and working with the present reality, instead of flailing against it or demanding that it conform to your expectations or desires. You act *only* when you can do so with complete calm, humility, gentleness and correctness. (And when you need to act, those things will be present for you, as will the strength you need, since you've conserved it by not fighting what you can't change.) Other than that, you seek solace in contemplation and in working on improving yourself.
It's HARD, yo. I got smacked with an unpleasantness this week that was not only icky in itself, but that targeted one of my weakest spots and set off a whole tsunami of emotional reaction; all of which happened at a time when the world of form was demanding a ton from me, that I show up for a ton of people and work and bring my best. The fallout from the attack on me was pervasive: I had the opportunity many times a day to react to it, to hate it, to feel it and to respond or "do something" about it — usually because people were bringing it up right and left, online and off; and when they weren't, my brain was. For a few days, how much that thing sucked seemed to occupy almost every waking moment. And I *burned* with the urge to say something, to defend myself, to make phone calls and have discussions and yell back or at *least* to talk about it, to write about it, to comfort myself by squeezing the wound.
In the end, I was able, for a good chunk of it, to remain fairly still. I had some emotional outbursts at home (thanks fam, you were awesome ♥) and fell back on some bad habits and kvetched a little to some friends, but overall, I did nothing. I didn't answer the attacker, or any of the haters who rose up around them. I meditated extra. I didn't publish any big screeds about how I'd been wronged, or start any arguments — heck, I mostly managed to abstain from even friendly discussions, or a least let them die short. I just let it be there, as much as I could, as though it were a revolting color paint in a hotel room, gross but not really fixable and going to be over eventually. I burned the event on my own sacrificial altar, Doing Nothing as a sign of my faith in The Everything and my willingness to participate in Life, even when it hurts.
The kerfuffle seems to have died down now, though I'm sure there'll be ripple effects. I didn't get more-attacked-worse-by-more-people, which certainly *could* have happened if I stepped into the fray too much or the wrong way, so that's good. I didn't come out smelling like roses either, and I certainly don't feel like I was defended or explained or exonerated like I wish I had been — but in the end, a few people who probably don't matter anyway having a less-good opinion about me (based on a minor thing taken without context) is probably not a terrible outcome. It seems likely that I dodged much worse, by not engaging much with it; and certainly I had to think about it less than I would have if I'd had a million more conversations about it. So I guess I should call the experiment a success. …If I don't sound too joyful about that, well, at the moment I'm still reeling from how hard it was/is to do, and I do feel a slight eyebrow-cock at the idea of acting like this in response to adversity always. Anger kept me alive a lot in my early years, and anger with nowhere to go is…icky. Maybe it gets easier with practice (Practice), though. Lord knows I'm barely a student of this stuff, so all the experiment was ever going to prove was that I need to keep walking the Path to learn more. …But those of you with Paths know that it feels worth it.
So one time this culture discovered that a readily-available plant had a really tasty component, and they began harvesting, and then cultivating and later, processing and refining and making all kinds of analogs and variations on the tasty stuff. Everyone loved it, and it sold like gangbusters, and the refineries and plantations and products proliferated; money everywhere. Soon the white powder was in everything. Every household had a bag of it, but that was just for extra, since even things in which the taste of it wasn't desired usually contained at least a little. Many people just ate it by the spoonful anyway, or carried it with them in easily-gnoshable packaging — besides being tasty, it was energizing, especially in the heavily-refined and concentrated forms. If you speculated about how many people *needed* it to get through a regular day…but that was silly; nobody speculated. Everyone ate it. All the children. *Especially* the children.
Who knew how early on the side-effects started, the rates of diseases that were once rare spiking, the birth-defects, the overdoses and organ failures. When nobody's watching, a lot can happen, and nobody questioned the world's favorite food, especially not after a couple generations of inculcation. Only the furthest-flung and least-communicative cultures rarely or never ate it, and their comparative longevity and health was chalked up to a million other factors.
But generations take their toll, numbers can swerve sharply when pressures are applied to linked and dynamic systems, and by the time the culture sees it, their invisible group addiction to the machine-refined white powder from a harmless plant, will they be able to avoid dying out?
For more than a decade, I've been asked regularly for tech-job advice, as someone who started young and worked their way up self-taught from basement mechanic to manager, fighting the women-in-tech battle the whole way.
Today I tried writing down my situation the way I would if I were coming to myself for advice the way so many others have, and I read it and asked myself what I'd tell a friend who sent me that message. And the answer I would give them was, "You're fucked."
I'm still so angry about the whole thing, about all the work I put in and all the crazy shit I did "for my resume" basically being completely worthless now (if not a detriment — ask me how many low-level would-pay-the-bills-at-least jobs I've not gotten because they don't want someone with management experience, or who might leave for a better job), that I can't quite tell if I'm actually being shoved out of tech by circumstance, or so sick of it after all the bad luck and obstacles and consistent lack of support from any employer ever that I'd actually just rather sling burgers (or words) for less than half the money than even try dealing with it again. …I know it seems like it should be easy to tell the difference between the two, but it's not. I ask myself constantly, "Am I really trying as hard as I can here? Or am I sabotaging myself because on some level I'm just so fucking done that I physically can't push past it?"
Sometimes you break up, and you realize all the things about your ex that made you friends to begin with. And sometimes you break up, and you realize that your ex was never really good for you *at all*; you just felt like you needed them, so you ignored it. Believe me, growing up in a shit town with "escort" being the most common job the other girls had in high school, having computers skillz seemed like a magic save. But no job I've ever had has given me any technical training, and the only promotions I've ever gotten were to shove me, the lone woman on the team, into more managerial and therefore less valuable positions, and every single company I've worked for that didn't go out of business let me go the second they could save money doing so, even if I'd worked my butt off for them for years.
It made me good money a few times, for a little while, but it's never been fulfilling, and it's been rare that it was even marginally okay or morally not-grotesque. I've not been the only woman on a team I was on once, a decade ago. (A high point was last year when the boss stood up at an all-dev meeting and apologized to me for my being the only woman there. I had to thank him, profusely, for being the only boss I'd ever had acknowledge it.)
This whole thing is somewhat like getting a divorce, the kind where you're not really sure if you're better off now or not. Tech broke up with me, but the moment it left I noticed how much nicer it was to not have it around. Maybe, if I can replace the key things about it (like, you know, paying rent), I'll eventually be glad it's gone. For now though, I'm still just so stung over the time wasted, the effort that feels like it was for nothing, and the sheer fail of the entire career I cared about so much for actually-literally-twenty-years, that it's hard to see anything past "Yeah, you're fucked".
That's it — it just hit me, walking home. What happiness is, and why it's so hard for almost everyone to find it, but almost indestructible in the people who do find it.
Happiness is not a thing — nor a feeling. It is a lack of things and feelings. It is space, where usually there's other things, things that cause pain and suffering.
There IS no "happiness", basically; happiness is a No-Thing. But we still know it and recognize it and chase after it…we just typically never find it, because we think we're looking for "some thing or things that can get me [that feeling]". But "that feeling" isn't a feeling, really. It's the lack of other feelings.
And the Other Feelings, the things that exist where happiness would go and prevent us from having it, are all related to one thing. They all stem from one place, one circumstance, one person: Me.
But — and this is crucial — not the real me.
Happiness is the feeling of space for the real me to exist. It happens when I've managed, however briefly, to shut up or shut down the false me (or mes; I'm sure there's more than one).
True happiness, the kind that can't ever be really taken away, the kind you see on Buddha-faces: That comes from having killed the false-me, once and for all.
I'm not inventing this — it's clear in a million texts throughout history. I'm realizing it.
Ironically, to respond to lack of happiness — especially deep, total, or hopeless lack of happiness — with the urge to commit suicide is not, in fact, stupid or illogical. It's actually the system giving exactly the right answer…just not in a way we can correctly understand it. Killing the real me (or disincorporating it; whatever) is a tragic mistake based on a kind-of-right idea: What's making you unhappy is "you" — is the thing you're thinking of right now as you — so kill it, burn it, ignore it, forget about it, strip everything you can see of it away and let there be room for the REAL you to breathe, exist, and express itself.
And wham, unkillable happiness.
OK, more pondering and then next up: How to kill your not-self. I'm sure others have written about that too, so I'll do some digging and see if I can add anything useful.