To men who stalk via professional networking sites

Yo dude.

It may be that I’m slightly more fired up that usual given the political state of things this week – women are raped and murdered and missing, and the rest of us are managing the routine influx of ‘not all men’ narratives from Best Friends and Men On The Internet and everyone in between. It may be that.

But could you, person who seems to believe repeated visits to my LinkedIn profile (of ALL the fucking things) is not stalky or weird, just fuck off a little bit, forever?

There is no legitimate reason I can think of that you need to look over my current role at the university 3 times in a week. Perhaps you forget that one time that you were a drunk, pathetic, creepy old white man at me on new year’s eve? When a male friend ended up stepping in because I’d been caught in a Politeness for Safety trap (even I, a Feminist Killjoy Bitch Who Can’t Take A Compliment, sometimes has to chose physical safety over politics)?

It may be that you don’t realise I’m notified each time you look me up, which still has no bearing on the completely inappropriate behaviour of visiting my profile in the first place. If you do realise I’m notified, I hate you already, so that’s fine (Narrator: It was not fine).

I realised recently that blocking is a thing that LinkedIn allows, and now as far as you’re concerned I no longer have any sort of online professional presence. I hope that’s what you meant the other day when I had the displeasure of running into you in the bar and you looked me full in the face and said ‘long time no see’, like we were mates.

Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off. I’ll never be your mate, and you can go ahead and die mad about it.

 

To the people offering me reassurance when it is only an acknowledgement I need (or, note to self: remember how this feels)

Dear everyone in my life who is very well-meaning and cares about my happiness,

This will come off ungrateful, perhaps. Bear with me.

I’m waiting to hear news about the outcome of an application I made. This is the vital, huge/tiny first step to over 3 years of work ahead of me, and will be a simple email which will possibly be automated. Nonetheless, it’s the difference between doing the thing I want to do and not doing it.

The waiting is a weight. There’s no way around that – I’ve accepted I’m at the hands of a system and decision makers and that for now I can’t do anything more.

Friends, loved ones – I have done this myself and so I know it’s from this place where you want to make me feel better, but truly, telling me ‘not to worry’ or ‘you’ll be fine’ in response to me vocalising the weight of the waiting, even the frustration of the waiting, is driving me up the fucking wall.

Like so many things in life (a lesson I am learning more slowly than a person smart enough for a scholarship really should), I do not need you to faux-fix this problem, I just need you to acknowledge it exists.

If you remember this, I will try to hear ‘that must be frustrating, let me buy you a beer’ behind your well-meant platitudes – and I will do my best not to race in next time and save you from the burning building of your own frustrations.

To the women who undercut themselves constantly (pretending for a minute that I am not a woman who also undercuts herself constantly)

Hey there friends,

You’re driving me nuts here, you beautiful tropical fish. Don’t you know how amazing you are? How strong, how glorious, how great? I can see it from many miles away, how are you having trouble clocking this from up close?

Have you even met you? Don’t you even know?

You’re being just so great at caring about important things, at posting solid content on the interwebs, at sharing sassy awesome selfies to show off fantastic haircuts and bold lipstick choices, at making really good work lunches (even if sometimes you forget them and have to get sweet potato fries instead), at standing up for your co-workers in meetings, at offering solidarity for the shitty experiences of strangers. The awesomeness and the empathy is real.

You’d be there to lift up a friend; to talk them out of feeling glum or insignificant or incapable, but here you are, not believing in yourself; undercutting or diminishing your awesome work or your greatest self or a thing you did once. Not always, not every woman, not even only women. But stop it though. You did good, you’re important, we like you, we see you. We celebrate you.

Less invisible labour. Less quiet achievement. More boasting. More cheer squads.

Set an example, and then stand back and watch it catch fire (the good fire; the best fire).

You’re the best and I love you.

 

To people who feel compelled to comment on how I look

As times goes on, I just care less and less what any of you think about how I look or what I’m wearing.

This is a tiny joy in my life, a slowly building freedom that increases each time I actually manage to dress for myself. An itty bitty ‘fuck you’ to what I see as the patriarchy and its thumb grinding me down. Don’t misunderstand me – I still love clothes, dressing up, the aesthetic luxury that I’m able to choose from an excessive amount of options (I’ll never complain about that, I know I’ve got a good deal), but I really really am sick of living in a culture where anyone thinks I need their approval to wear any particular clothing option I might choose.

I have friends who seem to get that, who when they do compliment me on my clothes, do so in a way that is less about how I look and more about liking what I’ve chosen to wear. It’s those ones I like best, where I never feel as though I’m competing with anyone or trying to measure up to anything.

I’d love the world to be a place where clothes are creative, where nobody has to look a certain way to slide under the radar or grate up against it. Unless that’s what they want.

But get it into your head: don’t care what you think about how I look. Don’t care about your stupid feelings.

To all the people who don’t know how good I am at stuff

hey people: seriously?

In a professional capacity, I am pretty great at stuff. Not all stuff, not every stuff, but some stuff. The stuff I care about, and even some of the stuff I don’t really care about. Mainly the former – stuff like being helpful to people and laughing at their jokes and understanding what part of the thing they’ve called or emailed me about is the real issue to be resolved.

The doing things for people thing, I do it well. Partly because it is my job but mostly because I can’t look people in the eye or the ear and be unhelpful with a clear conscience. I am very good at doing the thing.

I am telling you this, people who don’t know how good I am at stuff, because you fuckers clearly don’t know and aren’t going to tell me. Do you know how many times I’ve stopped people from crying actual tears of frustration and stress? I would ask you if you care, but I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that. I don’t want to hear you actually say it.

How do you think stuff gets done, exactly? Do you realise that I don’t even make known half the stuff I do because I’m the shy retiring type who doesn’t like to blow her own trumpet, MOTHERFUCKER?

WHY DON’T YOU KNOW HOW GOOD I AM AT STUFF?