I have a confession.
I have dealt with writer’s block since I had a moral dilemma. Lacking answers or anyone who could relate with my dilemma, I stood still, not advancing, not growing, embarrassed, without answers. This is new to me. I’ve always had answers, only lately, answers eluded me. With a lack of direction, I let the current take me wherever it led.
It turns out, my moral dilemma stemmed from being deceived, only I didn’t realize I was conned at the time. When someone discriminates against you, tells you that you don’t belong, because you are different from everyone else in the group then, your reaction depends on your core sense of self. As I was in an all male technology meeting, being told I didn’t belong because I was a woman was, of course, ridiculous. Being lied to about the technology, and made to believe that all the other men in the room were on board with this statement, was insidious and cruel. That’s how sociopaths navigate society and plant seeds of hate and dissent. Evil wears many masks.
I love a good fight, I am an expert debater. I analyze the crazies and pick my battle accordingly. I smiled, made a snide remark that I too noticed the lack of women “like a gay bar…only in a gay bar, women are not harassed” and kept my physical voice quiet.
There were other meetings with other moderators and other computer languages in other groups. Sometimes the men gravitated, as myself, from one group to the next as these were Meetup technology groups.
What I didn’t tell anyone, was that I was a writer and published online an article painting the entire group as dicks, falsely believing I was singled out by the group, when, in fact, the majority of the group had no idea the conflict that was going on under the radar. They were possibly shy introverts only relating to those with whom they could relate. Our failure to relate to each other was not an issue, per se, time would have taken care of that.
As a matter of fact, the second meeting of the “GO” language went much better. Of 20 people in the group, only 5 thought it wise to bring a laptop (yours truly included). We surrounded the pool table and the Sphero balls were released. I had failed to download the “Go” program on my laptop and quickly did so while working to download the latest version of the program that would have allowed me to join the group with the robotics programming language and the Sphero ball manipulation. Some of the guys actually came around to try to help as I was having difficulty. It turns out Windows 8 was not compatible and the error message ended my hopes of getting this one little task done right. At some point, one of the guys even recognized me from the first meeting, introduced himself and shook my hand.
Was this part of an anthropological male behavior in times of battle? Was it that everyone was reserved and only addressed those they knew during the first meeting? Did I, once again, remind everyone of their teacher in school (which I have done since I was 14 years old)? Was this new behavior due to the inclusion of an additional woman who, although highly intelligent, preferred to stay on the outskirts as both photographer and technical writer (aka cheerleader) rather than rolling up her sleeves and diving into the trenches (aka player in the arena)?
In all the disappointment at the failure of the program, I had come prepared. First, I pulled out my own robot, a bright red sweeper I nicknamed “THOR” and of course, “Geraldo” my iTurtle. In the arena I placed “THOR” as it bumped into the Sphero balls sweeping the billiard table and adding fun and color as well as a challenge for the Sphero Ball operators. “Geraldo” stayed by my computer, dancing and lighting up.
I did bring these electronic toys with purpose in mind, I wanted to learn if they were programmable in some way. No such luck, but love the photos, don’t you?
Then came my guilt. There I was, singled out by one or two individuals and I had painted the entire group rudely as being made of the same cloth and for that, I want to apologize to those I offended.
It has taken me quite some time to come to this realization. I had to be the outsider being told I didn’t belong over and over in different situations (why is it if we have a Karmic lesson to learn, we repeat the theme until we have achieved understanding?). I can imagine how visible minorities feel. Imagine being told “…your kind is not wanted here” and it doesn’t matter how much education, experience or knowledge you have, the humiliation is depressing. Whenever possible, I try to remind others that sometimes, it feels like you are singled out by an entire group, when in fact, you are targeted by a sociopathic, corrupt, and manipulative bully who used his position to ostracize you (or me) without merit. It’s a tough pill to chew, to realize that what looked like group think was actually the acts of just one or two insecure individuals, plain and simple.
Which brings me to the part about being a sell out. Some think I am brave to forge ahead as I do in so many ways, in spite of potential pitfalls, regardless of popular opinion. Others think I have one or two loose marbles, as they would much rather be part of the majority and do nothing risky nor stand out, but rather, mold themselves to group think in order to belong. I think that’s crazy! We are in freedom loving North America! Let the war of the words begin!
But perhaps, my words, having such a negative impact, may need to be reigned in as not to cause embarrassment to those reading it but also, as history taught me, should I be mistaken, that my words not leave a trail of misunderstandings.
Certain titles will be modified to a kinder and gentler theme. This apology will be made public.
I often found myself explaining some of the titles of the articles I wrote were akin to “shock jock”, however, lately, I find myself outside of my comfort zone. It’s one thing to be forward, it’s another to be offensive. Maybe my Canadian roots and the polite Canadian influences around me are forcing me to rethink my rebellious, take no prisoners, Italian /French Canadian and Americanized upbringing to a kinder and gentler attitude.
There’s enough anger out there…
I feel like playing nice.
Once again, my apologies.
Use your powers for good, not evil.