*There is no coherent flow to this, that’s why it’s numbered. Just needed to let these escape my head, so hopefully I can kill this migraine now.
I was remembering some things, about being homeschooled – with a few years of distance the ridiculousness of some of it has been made obvious, but I also realized a couple things:
1) I’m pretty good at ignoring things for long amounts of time, which sometimes makes me consciously unaware of micro-aggressions and things that bother a lot of people, because I got that all the time growing up and just tuned it out until it became impossible. This isn’t healthy, I don’t recommend it, it’s not cool, because it unconsciously affects me still, even when I don’t realize it, and it’s only when I become consciously aware of it, that things start to make sense.
This comes with a caveat though – the amount of time I can ignore a thing depends a lot on who’s saying it and how (and how many other things they’ve said over a period of time). Or I suppose, how quickly the boxes that all of these things go in get filled up, because after they get filled up, I notice – until my brain makes other boxes (but the things I notice don’t go in the new boxes after I’ve noticed them. This is, I suppose, how I’ve picked up on a lot of passive aggression, or aggression). This is a strange coping mechanism I didn’t realize I had until recently.
But this is what helped me get through childhood – especially puberty. I was able to drown out my mom’s comments about my appearance/self/existence for a very long time, it wouldn’t bother me (except that it did, but I didn’t feel it at the time). I was somehow able to write it off as stupid and shove it in a box to deal with later. It worked well in my early teens, and began to take it’s toll in my late teens, and kind of really started wreaking havoc after my parents rejected me in 2010. Suddenly all of the negative things they said about me, for years were cemented in a way I didn’t realize they had been before.
2) The role my parents treated me and my education has a lot to do with how I perceive myself, and is somehow connected to my gender identity (or seems to be. This is all subject to change because I’m still trying to figure things out). Because I was born anatomically female, I was raised as a woman and limited.
They got out of trying to educate me in higher maths and sciences because I was a woman and wouldn’t need them anyway (after all, I’m just going to be keeping house and having kids like my mom when I grow up). I spent more time taking care of my siblings and running the house because I was a woman and needed the practice. I was refused the option of college because I was a woman and women don’t need higher education to be homemakers.
The fighter in me, the warrior and protector in me, the chemist, the geometrist(? what name do people who do geometry give themselves?), the astronomer, the molecular biologist in me were never allowed room to be or grow or develop because I was a woman (and also, science is evil).
Being a woman means I am not able to exist as a whole person. I cannot be a woman and a fighter, a scientist, a creator, an entrepreneur, a techy, anything not associated with the pinnacle of femininity and child having.
Which, is, unfortunate? (I guess?) considering I’m everything BUT the pinnacle of femininity and child having and actively avoid it.
I know logically, identifying as a woman does not mean I can’t be any of those things. My favorite scientist was a woman (Marie Curie < coincidentally, the only one I managed to learn about), women started the tech industry, having a uterus does not actually mean that I cannot be X.
Except that, in the way I, and so. many. others. have been raised and conditioned, that is what it means. And it’s the strong ones who come out of that and fly in the face of what patriarchal society says a woman is, and still identify as one.
But I can’t. It doesn’t fit me. I don’t feel like I belong, because I just feel so trapped by it.
I don’t want to be defined and have my role in life “set” for me (by societal pressure) because of the body parts I have or don’t have, and I admire the people who are able to move past that and not let that affect them. But for me, calling myself a woman just means I’m holding myself back from my own existence, and I’ve spent enough of my existence being held back.
3) There are so many nuances and things I need to learn that I’m just not in a healthy enough mental place to deal with. I don’t have the mental or emotional energy to pour myself into women’s studies and queer theory or learn about all the ways people are biphobic. I wish I could, because then I could combat it, and I would learn more about myself in the process, but I just can’t. And sometimes that makes me feel like a bad person.
Because, it hurts when people question my faithfulness because I’m bi, and I know there are little things about my sexuality and gender identity that are being put into those boxes subconsciously.
But I just can’t. I can’t get through a talk on privilege without starting a self-loathing cycle and realizing how horrible of a person I am, and also feeling as though people are trying to silence me (when I’ve been silenced for so long). It’s not for lack of wanting to learn, it’s just, I’m not in a place where I can do that and keep my sanity and keep depression at bay.
It bothers me. It’s probably horrible of me.
But I know where I am and I know it’s just not a healthy thing for me to do right now, and as bad as I am at taking care of myself, this is one of those things I just have to wait on.I’ve been dealing with feeling out of body or trapped inside more often because stress and life and exhaustion.
I’m on the cusp of change – of realizing things about myself, awakening another piece of me that was long ago forgotten. I can feel it. I feel the restlessness and the tension, there is something brewing in my subconscious waiting to step out. Right now, I need to guard my calm like my life depends on it (sometimes it feels like it does).
4) When I lived in the south, my complexion was a lot darker than it is now that I live up north, where the sun is less strong and we don’t see it half the winter. When we moved to Georgia, I somehow became aware of this fact (that I had a middle-eastern/olive complexion). I don’t know why, I don’t know what caused it, I just remember becoming aware that I was ever so slightly darker complected. Not even in comparison to anyone, because in Florida and Georgia we had a lot of different ethnicities and Maine actually weirds me out because it’s so homogenous.
I don’t really know why I’m bringing this up. I just remembered that I noticed and I reacted and it was odd.
No, I remember now, this was the lip hair thing. Because I have dark, thick hair – especially on my face – very thick eyebrows, and my mom was like, yeah, it’s because you’re part lebanese, that’s why you have dark lip hair, and then the pain with the cream…that’s why I didn’t like it, that’s why I noticed, because in that conversation, she also brought up olive skin tones. And that connection is what triggered the odd only-parent-induced sense of shame and self-consciousness about my genetics (which, wtf).



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  1. Tess Avatar

    It’s a geometer, btw. 🙂 And I know what you mean about “woman” feeling like such a limited label. I grew up homeschooled as well, and as a math geek, I could never accept the label for those same reasons. It hasn’t been until the past year or so (I’m in grad school now studying theoretical physics), where I’ve now seen plenty of actual successful women in the field, that I’ve come to identify with the label. Growing up, being a woman meant you were a wife and mother, and couldn’t do anything else.
    Of course, nobody ever has to identify with the label, but I figured I’d mention that there’s hope that its connotations *can* at least change. It was very liberating for me once they finally did. Best of luck to you as you work through these issues and pursue your interests!

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