Sunday, October 16, 2011

Admiring women

If you know who this is, don't say it.  It's going to freak her out.

I have been thinking about one particular friend of mine a lot recently.  I go through phases where I focus on people heavily in my head.  Mostly I don't tell people that I am doing this because it is frankly kind of creepy how much I think about other people sometimes.  Anyway.  So she's been on my mind a lot lately.  I recognize that I focus on people the way I do because they are doing/saying something that reminds me of me in some way.  Because everyone is obsessed with themselves most of all.

So this friend is brilliant.  I kind of have a large ego.  Kind of.  At least about my intelligence.  As long as you come talk to me on a good day I'll remind you over and over that I'm damn smart.  I think she is smarter than me.  I certainly think that she has a larger index of stuff in her brain than I have.  And she can think faster than me on a great many subjects.  I notice because that is the kind of thing I subconsciously (and consciously) compete on.  That's my thing if I have one.  My knowledge on most topics is not deep.  But it is broad and I make connections very quickly between things that are not obviously related.  She's better at it than I am.  In some ways this kind of pisses me off.

But like I do when I admire things in someone, I like to watch them do it.  The problem with this particular friend is that she probably has a lower opinion of herself than I do of myself.  You can see why I scratch my head about this fact.  I go back and forth between loathing myself and thinking I'm the best thing since sliced bread.  She is better than me at the thing I value the most about my intelligence.  Why the fuck isn't she the cockiest piece of shit on the planet?

Oh!  Right.  Other people have other value systems.  Got it.  Weirdos.  You see, this is why I should get to run the planet.  Everyone will be happier.

In surface ways this friend and I are not very similar.  We picked very different kinds of job stuff, we have fairly diverging lifestyle and sexual preferences, and she's single with no interest in kids.  But we had enough similarly unhappy-making things in childhood that there is an attitude similarity at times.  Anyway, I can project on to her like mad and she can't stop me.  So neiner.

When I think about this friend I am struck by how much more than me she has done in terms of learning things and accomplishing things.  She probably would laugh and say that wasn't true.  But the thing is, she is a fairly senior (actual profession deleted).  In my little corner of the world people who do "X" are higher up the social food chain than me.  In fact I was told by a different person (a woman) in my social group once, "Well you should be used to being discriminated against as a woman, you are not a geek."  Because if you become a geek you become magically better than those other women and the men should suddenly recognize that you deserve nice treatment!

Anyway, so this friend of mine does not value herself much despite having a job that is one that would convey to a man high social status.  Do you know what this says to me?

I really can't fathom what value system my friend actually has.  How in the world can she be reaching the conclusion that she has no value?  By what metric?  In what system?  On what planet?  Oh, because your piece of shit father felt threatened as fuck by your very existence so he felt free to tell you from birth that you were nothing.

I'm not sure why people think that families are good things.

The most awesome thing about not being dead is I get to go meet new people.   The most awesome thing about being an adult is I no longer have any reason to have to be near my family of origin.  The most awesome thing about being an American is that I can write any fucking thing I want on the internet and so long as it is true, I have freedom of speech.  At least until someone decides they don't like me.  And when they decide they don't like me, I can use the court system to back up my mother fucking rights.

You are pretty enough.  You are smart enough.  You are exciting enough.  You are good.  The core of you brings joy to the world.  How can you not see your value?  Whatever system you are using to judge yourself is broken.  I suggest picking a new system.  If you don't like any of the ones I have suggested here that's fine, we can brainstorm more.  There will not be a shortage of available value systems that like you just how you are.  And other awkwardly worded sentences will be in stores near you.

Why do I personally ascribe to the value system that gives career X value?  That's complicated.  I care because the majority of my social group cares.  Why do they care?  Because it is a career on the cutting edge of technology.  Because it involves being paid an obscene amount of money during a recession when most people are barely making ends meet.  Because it requires years of study and intense effort to actually be good.

I think it is an additional random interesting data point that it is an intensely male dominated field.  And my friend has low self esteem and thinks she is low status.  I think she's just standing next to a bunch of assholes all day.

Sometimes I wish I could hand my friends a mirror.  I want them to see what I see.


  1. My problem right now is I did pick career-as-self-value tool.

    Getting laid off, even though it was along with a large percentage of my company, is...well...unraveling my sense of self, in a fairly big way. It's not like I didn't know propping up my self esteem based on what corporations are willing to give me was a doomed plan; it was just the best I had to work with.

    I should probably pick a new value system too. Unfortunately, while in an extremely broken state, anything telling me I'm ok feels innately wrong.

  2. I don't think that anyone should have career-as-self-value as their primary measuring tool. Unless they really want to. I don't. :)

    It makes sense that you feel that way. You are in an emotional state and you are being irrational. That's fine. However, I happen to know that you are a smart cookie. You are capable of making rational decisions even when you don't wanna. What value system sounds like a good one to you? If you were feeling rational, what would you think? :)

  3. If you know who this is, don't say it. It's going to freak her out.

    I read just this sentence and immediately knew who you meant :-)