Without actually talking to me in person, I always believe that you can know me. For better or worse.
There is these open things:
this blog dating back from 2002
an open Flickr account with more than 3,000 photos, lazily grouped and labeled
an open Twitter account of this domain chronicling my life since 2008
the music tastes on last.fm, blip.fm and others
the footprints that I have left all over the web in my interest in trying any new startup
And the closed ones of Facebook, calendar, book clubs…
Interestingly, I had only one person so far who dug deeper in all of this than I anticipated.
[insert a picture here of a empty CD case]
On my birthday, a friend handed me a gift. A mix CD of an artist—Prefab Sprout. The CD that I had bugged him for the past week about. He labeled it on the outside with a short bday greeting. Inside, he had carefully labeled with the track names.
But…the case was empty with the CD forgotten in the computer.
“Thanks…” I said, laughing. “I think.”
When someone says upon discovery that I don’t drink, “But then you miss out on being drunk!”
I say, “Well you haven’t been with me after an hour or so at a bar…with the right people.”
Usually there are two things that happen at bars (or house parties):
1. I get super bored after an hour because the crowd isn’t that interesting, but showing my gratitude for the invitation is often the reason that I stay—even if the small talk with people is horrible.
2. I get super hyper and say things that I shouldn’t say. I tell the stories of that one crazy night at a pizza parlor back in college or an insane adventure running throughout San Francisco. I interrupt people, make crass judgments, slam my hands on the table, and talk obnoxiously loud. And laughter pours out and…well I forget the insecurity and anxieties that I normally harbor. Anything goes.
Today after number two happened, my coworker commented, “Look at you—you seem to exhibit all characteristics of someone who is super drunk.”
Then 15 minutes later, I hopped in my car and drove the 50 miles back to San Francisco from Mountain View.
But I believe that females should still have equal rights.
And yet, I don’t want to be announcing to the world that there aren’t enough women in tech. By participating in events where prominent women talk about their struggle in managing femininity, balancing work and family life, and climbing the career ladder, it’s calling attention to it. It’s the same story—that we need to be in this together to survive.
Unlike a clear obstacle of language and new culture, can’t we overcome it easily just by our strengths and skills?
Maybe there’s something I am missing. Or is it just me?
This morning, I walked in on the early side. Several women had already arrived. My female coworkers were slowly congregating around a bag of donuts (national donut day!). One male coworker had arrived and was working diligently at his desk. Like the others, I was attracted to the donuts and joined the circle of females. But all at once, it felt awkward to be there—not like other times where beauty and gossip were the prime topics. It was as if I couldn’t relate. Regardless, I found myself returning to my desk, trying to construct a simple breakfast. Of bananas and Peruvian cereal.
And returning to a world where my closest friends are male. Yet I still enjoy the easy vulnerability that being female brings. But I want to dismiss all the assumptions that it suggests.
Awkward is the best word I could use to describe the years when I first met him.
But now about 6 years later, he is engaged to a mutual friend and the word “awkward” never comes up. It’s “impressed”, “dedication”, “incredibly perfect”. What a catch.
Do we grow? Or do we change inside?