I was misgendered today.
Well, not quite. I was participating in some ‘stress-relieving’ activity at work, and the girl leading it was telling us how it worked. “So I throw the ball to him, he throws it to him, he throws it to…” and here she looked at me and paused for a very noticeable second, at a loss, before continuing, “then the ball goes over there, and he throws it to him.”
No one else seemed to notice, but it couldn’t have been more obvious to me. I couldn’t help but silently laugh at how terribly she’d handled it, but afterwards I just kept feeling worse and worse about it. She had no clue I’m a woman. How humiliating is that?
I felt like crying, but I was supposed to go back to taking calls (and I was wearing eyeliner) so I just had to hold it in. I was still miserable for a while. It wasn’t just the frustration of being misgendered, or being non-gendered, but also anger at myself for feeling that way. I mean, I know who I am, so why should I care?
Why should people being judgemental, or not thinking I look feminine, or making a mistake bother me?
So I went from bad to worse.
I recently read somewhere (or maybe I heard it in a podcast) that people who meditate don’t actually feel less stress than others. This is at odds with the general idea that they tend to be happier in general,until you learn a bit more. See, they feel just as much stress as everyone else, and it makes them feel as bad as anyone. However, the difference is how they deal with it. Someone who’s trained themselves and has gotten in the practise of meditating knows how to be mindful and acknowledge their feelings, allowing themselves to feel them, then deal with them.
I still have a ways to go, but I feel I’m starting to go in the right direction for that. After leaving work, I allowed myself time to feel sad about what happened, and to think about why it made me upset. I started remembering similar situations, and focused on a few insecurities I have about myself. Surprisingly, it started to work. Before too long, I could feel a little of the stress fading away.
Then I got home and a lot of it came back.
Like I said, I have a ways to go.
Still, I decided to make myself something nice to eat, and then I watched The Princess Bride and an episode of The Office with friends. It was nice. We had a ton of fun, and I really enjoyed watching both together.
We’ve just finished doing that, and now I’m sitting here thinking about what the woman at work had said (or rather, hadn’t said.)
I don’t feel so sad about it anymore. It’s a thing that happened, but it’s in the past. It made me feel a certain way, and that’s okay, but now that I’m a little more distant from it, it’s my choice whether I let the past lead me to regret, or whether I let go and look for happiness in the present.
So I’ll try the latter. We’ll see if that works, and if I can start doing that with all the crappy things that will happen in the future.