OK, this is the penultimate post of 30 Days to a Better Man. The next one related to this will come in a few weeks, after I’ve thought carefully about this project and its successes, failures, maybe tie up some loose ends in things I didn’t get to finish or do (3 mile run, I’m lookin’ at you!). I really need to move on with other things in the blog, since I really want to blog about other things. The post will mostly focus on how doing a “gendered” routine touted to make someone into a better member of the male class interacted with my life, which is predominantly lived within the conventions of femalehood.
Day 29: Conquer a Fear
I think this one is coming at a very important time. Starting my last year of college, I’ve noticed that I’ve become a very fearful person. Here are things I noticed I’m scared of:
1.) Confrontation. I’m a “yes [wo]man.” I like to please people, and to do this I am often willing to sacrifice my own comfort. However, lately I’ve noticed this has led to me being walked all over, and being disrespected by both strangers and people I would have considered close friends. With some people, it’s an outburst of rudeness and is not followed up by more rudeness. With others, it’s become a regular habit in which I am treated in ways that cause me a lot of pain, shame, and resentment, and I am rarely, if ever offered a sincere apology. Do I exhibit some sort of beta-ness that gives people to treat me this way? I feel like I do not command respect at all, and that because of this, people are willing to abuse me and do not take me serious when I voice what I consider subtle, or polite opposition. In order to conquer this fear I will have to start being less subtle and standing up for myself, but my worry is that I will cross the boundary of being polite, and I do not want to be impolite. Any suggestions?
2.) People older than me. I am deathly scared of all professors and people over the age of 30, basically anyone with authority over me. This fear has caused me before to not return emails when I have something awkward to ask for or an awkward reply to give, and thus further exacerbate the awkwardness, and even to not apply to things because I am mortified of asking professors for recommendations. This is a recent development. I used to be more confident. Now I shake every time my phone shows I’ve received something from a superior, and I let emails and to-email lists sink to the bottom of the pile. This is not a healthy way of going through one’s last year, especially when developing relationships with professors and mentors is so important. Has anyone dealt with this kind of anxiety before that could give me some pointers?
3.) Snakes. Hardy har har, Freudians, but I’ve hated them since I was little. I used to live behind a canyon full of rattlesnakes as a kid. Someone once brought a boa constructor into class and I was disgusted and terrified. I don’t remember if I touched it. The second time this happened, I was in sixth grade camp and somecounselor dude had a more dangerous snake in his hand and I ran out crying while everyone else got to hear the fascinating story about how snakes are a healthy part of the eco-system. I guess the only way around this one is to pet a snake. Does anyone living nearby have a pet snake?
4.) Romantic Relationships. I think I’m justified in this fear, for several reasons. I don’t want anyone getting too close. It’s probably a good fear to have this year, since it’s a time of transition for most people anyways. I don’t think I’ll conquer this one right now.
5.) Turning in and polishing assignments. This internship was rough on me, since I almost didn’t turn anything in. I’m still turning in things to my professor, which I was allowed to do, but I’ve really been really lagging. I think this is a genuine fear. Once I finish – wow, I can’t even imagine finishing. NOT a healthy attitude at all, especially if I want to finish fourth year alive and go into academia.
Here is my plan of action:
1.) Today I will finish my assignment for my professor. I am going to sleep now since it is 3AM, but I will not go to sleep again until I have emailed the complete alternate timeline.
2.) Within the week I will write and mail Thank You cards for the recommendations to three professors, a Hillel director, and a University employee, and Thank You cards to three families who hosted me over the summer. It is too late to apply to what I needed recommendations for, but I will start making a list of people and possibly pre-write emails to them for the next time.
3.) I will stop taking shit from people. I will reduce time spent with rude and inconsiderate people, and learn better communication skills to express my discomfort within the bounds of proper etiquette, while being firm. I will figure out how to be more confident, too.
4.) I will try to *ugh* *I can’t believe this* find a snake to *cringe* pet within a year.
OK, last year, needing a bit of a boost after a rough week, yours truly tried to walk into a barbershop for a haircut, yours truly got turned away by some “manly” bearded Midwest hipster barber who told me that his father, apparently the gOD OF MANLY HAIRCUTS “would have said no immediately,” as some sort of condescending consolation about the fact that gender non-conforming people have come “so far” that now we get a thorough gender lookover before being asked to leave instead of immediately being thrown out like in the good ol’ days, after he spent ten minutes squinting at me (making me feel very uncomfortable) and evaluating the haircut that I was asking him to give me. The fucker probably voted for Obama, too. The haircut I wanted was no different than the ones he was giving to all sorts of dudes in the shop, but I guess “manly” hipster dude at this “Manly Man Center for Hipsters Who Can’t Cut their Own Hair Good and Wanna Get Other Stuff Like an Ironic Mustache Done Too” was not going to give me a haircut. I wasted like, four hours in total commute/walk/getcondescendedto time. Instead, I had to go to some girl salon in which the lady left me looking like a cross between Rihanna and Danzig, so ever since then I have cut my own hair using various forms of razors. Sometimes it’s looked good. When I cut it short during the Spring it looked awful. Right now I’m letting it grow because I just don’t want to have to deal with people’s gendered hair bullshit but I also don’t want to be rocking a self-inflicted Flock of Seagulls cut while looking for jobs. Once I get hired somewhere I think I’ll go short again, but this time I’ll pay for a haircut.
So, I mean, given the “sanctity” of the Midwest hipster male barbershop scene, I would not dare walk in to ask for a straight razor shave, even if I wanted one (I don’t even have facial hair anyways). The idea here is to go for the whole barbershop experience, which I guess will forever be a domain I’m excluded from. Instead, if I decide to actually go to professionals again, I’ll have to go to like “Jazzy Nails and Dainty ‘Dos by Joanie Salon” (not a real place) where I can read People Magazine and gossip about the person next to me’s teenage grandchildren’s boyfriends and have women I don’t know be all “OMG your hair is so curly can I touch it? What product do you use?!? I would KILL for that hair” instead of what seems like a really chill barbershop environment with no-nonsense equipment and beer and a sense of history. What frustrates me the most is the pricing difference between men and women’s haircuts, as a blanket policy. Even when I want what is basically a men’s haircut I get charged more, which is even more frustrating when some dude with hair MUCH longer and out of shape than mine walks in and gets the same haircut I wanted for $15, which I had to pay $40 for and then go home and MAKE ADJUSTMENTS to de-“PIZZAZ” it. Does anyone want to start a co-ed hair place modeled after a barber shop? I would pay a decent dime to go to a wood-paneled, relaxed haircutter with no reek of nail polish or hairspray and simple, classic cuts that will not go all fucking Robocop gender police on me, because that fucking BLOWS, man. I guess I’ll gladly accept a day off today since I can’t do much about it now. Maybe I’ll shave my legs today when I wake up.