Friday, 11 February 2011

Blind spots

Some people like to hang dingly-dangly things from their car-mirrors.

I always thought it was a bad idea, and it took a little reflection to figure out why.

If you get used to seeing something swaying back and forth in a certain sector of your vision, eventually you learn to ignore movement in that sector. This means that if/when the Bad Thing happens - and suddenly there's an accident happening right in that spot... it takes longer for you to recognise, and react to that accident, because you've learned to ignore stuff happening there.

Well - I was thinking recently about things that were less obvious. Things that I'd put somewhere in my life for amusement value - or even for a good purpose... but which are also serving as a blind-spot. As a place where I "should ignore what's going on".

One of those spots (for me), is in "standing up for myself".

You see, I'm a geek... but more than that, I'm a geek *girl*. I engage in activities that are traditionally considered the province of males... and I get funny looks for doing so. Not from everybody, but enough that I've had to continually resist assumptions (and even outright contempt) all my life.

For years, I've had to work *very* hard to stand up to people that treat me like some kind of weirdo for actually having an interest in things like science, maths, science fiction, martial arts, role-playing games... the list goes on.

I treat any criticism of my choice to pursue these interests as an infringement of my individual rights... and rightly so. It's my business whether I enjoy these things or not. Your opinion does *not* count.

But I've come to notice that it does lend me to have formed a particular blindspot. It's the "don't infringe on the way I do things" blindspot.

I find I'm quicker to resist, to stand up and fight-back, to take offense at people that try to press the boundaries of "the way I do things".

Needless to say, this heuristic can sometimes be misapplied.

After all, I am not perfect, and the way I do things can very well be stupid, wrong or otherwise detrimental to the health and happiness of other people.

But when I'm "called" on it - I currently still have to fight the impulse to fight back. To resist because "I have the right to do my things my way"... and sometimes I lose that internal fight.

So - if I've ever done that to you - my apologies. I'll try to do better next time.

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