Over the last several weeks I have found myself in the position of having to regain my balance in regards to how I am presenting myself to people around me. For the majority of my life I have hidden behind a masculine mask that gave me a definite set of rules to follow. Now I find that I’m not really comfortable following the old rules but I haven’t figured out the new ones.
What do I mean? Well, under the old rules I was expected to keep up on the local football and baseball teams. I would be asked about this player or that, about possible trades, and what an injury to so and so might mean. I really couldn’t have cared less, but i put in the effort to be able to answer such questions. Now? I still don’t care and I am having trouble summoning up the energy to bother. After all, for the most part, these guys wouldn’t normally bother asking a girl this stuff or expect her to answer, so why should they expect me to? For the same reason that I answered them before.
Because they don’t see and wouldn’t understand that the cover doesn’t equal the book.
Don’t get me wrong, there a plenty of women who are interested in this stuff, in fact I work with several who know more about what’s in the sports news than the men, but I’m not one of them. Never have been, probably never will be. I am sick of acting like I care, acting like someone I’m not just to get along with people I wouldn’t bother having a beer with if I saw them in a bar after work. At the same time I can’t pull a one eighty and expect to maintain the same working relationships I have had for almost two decades. To avoid needless conflict and tension, I need to maintain a certain level of interest. Over time I can wind things down until they reflect my true feelings. Subtle change is the way to go. It will certainly raise fewer eyebrows.
The other side of this is my relationships with my female coworkers. Over the years I had maintained a polite distance. They never expected me to be involved in their conversations unless it was some form of gossip or another, (which like sports, is something I couldn’t care less about).. They never thought to include me in their little circle and I wasn’t about to try and insinuate myself without an invitation.
Now I want to be more involved, but appearances and history are working against me. I think that again, over time, I can at least move into the shadow of that circle, but I will never be fully included. The trick is showing that I am open to inclusion, even if it is only from the very edges, without appearing to be false in my intentions. To seem like a man trying to invade that female space.
In the end I am trying to find a balance between exclusion and inclusion. Redefining myself in a world where the rules have already been written.
Life would have been much simpler if I could have figured this stuff out years ago, but since when has life ever been simple?