Recently, I have started online dating. I started this because I decided that I wanted to put myself out there, especially given that I’m not new to Seattle and I’ve come back to a community of people I love. I mean, when you’re surrounded by all these people you’ve known for over 10 years; it’s a lot harder to meet new people (romantically or not) unless of course it’s through work. So I decided to try this out and see how it goes.
Interestingly enough, this also happened to be around the same time that a lot of information has been coming out around people at work regarding women not being respected or treated like they should be. This includes inappropriate things being said, inappropriate behavior and just overall not respecting women and their roles.
I recently sat on a panel at work for a bunch of middle school and high school females talking about what it’s like to be a woman in a predominantly male industry. Given that I come from manufacturing and tech, it was an interesting panel to sit and share my experiences with a bunch of girls who are going to be the future. That same week, I had one last meeting with one of my mentees talking about how my perspective on how I got to where I am today and being taken seriously, especially as a non-technical employee and a female.
What I’ve realized is that over the last year, I have become more sure of myself and more confident in fighting the misogyny. I had an experience in 2016 where my manager… MY MANAGER told me that I was going to be removed from a supplier relationship because I couldn’t talk football or relate to the leadership team since I didn’t drink. It was the hardest thing to hear that because I am not well versed in a sport and because I have mild health issues with alcohol, that was justification for not working with a supplier. My other teammate who was male was never told this and he doesn’t care about football or drinking either.
So now, I am more confident to stand up for myself at work and in relationships. I recently realized just how much more confident I was after sitting on those panels and then going on a date with someone who questioned my reasoning for not wanting to do something. I understand that it may be difficult for some people to wrap their head around certain things but to question me on whether I want to do something that triggers me, means that the guy put his needs/wants over mine. It wasn’t a matter of trying to understand why I didn’t want to do it or why I have made the decision to not partake but rather the question was “well have you tried it?” and “I mean, do you think you’ll want to later?”
I’ve officially decided that what I want in my life is to feel confident enough to stand up for myself in all situations. I want to help out as many people as I can learn from my experiences so that they don’t go through the same thing. I hate the idea that sometimes when I travel or walk home at night, I have to take precautions that other people don’t have to take. It breaks my heart that there are girls growing up today that are automatically learning behaviors to protect themselves from things they shouldn’t have to worry about. We shouldn’t have to worry about being stared at while walking down the street, we shouldn’t have to worry about being grabbed at or harassed. And we need to all ban together to support each other. We need to stop judging each other but rather looking out for each other and being there for each other. With that, today is the start of a new era for me. I will never let fear prevent me from standing up for myself or others.