I Am So Tired

Tracy Roesler bio photo By Tracy Roesler Comment

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Guys, it’s been an exhausting year for women. It started back in February, with Susan G. Fowler’s post about Uber. It further imploded about a month ago with the #MeToo movement, which has caused the current state of allegations and men dropping like flies from stardom to shame.

And it’s been exhausting.

On November 20th, an article from the New Yorker entitled, The Tech Industry’s Gender Discrimination, came out, summarizing the path of the problem through lawsuits over the past few years. It’s a long article, but it’s well written and thought-provoking.

And it’s draining.

During times like these it can be easy to feel two ways: you want to advocate and fight for not just yourself as a women, but for all women and for all those who have felt marginalized at the hand of power. On the other hand, all you want to do is sleep and ignore everything and everybody. (To those people in the latter category, I ask, have you watched the Hydraulic Press Channel?)

And that’s fine.

With everything that’s gone on this year in the fight for female equality, not to mention with everything going on politically, it’s easy to understand why the thought of having one more conversation, or reading one more article about it, can be overwhelming.

You don’t have to participate in the fight 24/7. Yes, you’re identity remains constant, so you will have at least some skin in the game, but you’re allowed to stop and take a breath and practice some self-care.

That’s healthy.

Sometimes when we’re so keyed up by a situation and so emotionally involved, it has the reverse effect on our life. Hyper-vigiliance can result in finding problems where they maybe aren’t there. It’s called confirmation bias. Because we’re expecting to see things a particular way, we’re more likely to see them and become aggrieved, creating a feedback loop.

I’m not saying take a step back from speaking up when you’ve been the victim of harassment, or letting it pass on others. But you don’t have to mire yourself in the situation all the time.

It’s the holiday season – there are so many Hallmark movies to watch. Sometimes a little escapism is good, provided you don’t end up living there.

Source: Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

And you don’t have to follow every story as it unfolds, or think deeply about how it impacts your life if your work situation is not like those stories. You can put down the social media and go for a walk.

Focus on things that bring you happiness and joy, and do them. If you want to avoid it online, use a gender neutral (or gender removed) profile. Remove the question of gender from some of your interactions if you can. It happens on academic papers (and books) all the time. Psuedonyms are cool. And the word is fun to say.

Taking care of yourself is important enough it’s a Ted Talk.

So take some time for yourself. Do what you enjoy. Go to a Christmas Market and drink some Gluhwein, play a video game, turn your phone into airplane mode for a while. It’s ok to take a break from being an advocate, and to just focus on yourself.

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