So since the regular world is about a week behind the Internet, I had a conversation with my boss today about the preacher who said gays should be fenced up.
I’ve been thinking lately about anonymity and my lack thereof. A friend just began blogging away from her pseudonym. I’ve had issues with my thoughts being ill-received in the past.
I tend to not think about it, as it’s easier to pretend I don’t need to keep my online life separate from, say, my work life. Today I was reminded how careful I need to be.
And how much that pisses me off.
A bit of background: I work in not quite the middle of nowhere, but we’re about 10 miles from the middle of town. It’s about 5 seconds from where I went to high school. It’s not so bad, but we definitely get more than our fair share of overalls.
So last night, one of my managers was talking to me about how she’s seen a lot of people talking about racism and “gays” on Facebook recently. So she starts talking about her opinions on some pretty touchy subjects. I started feeling awkward because I didn’t think there was anything I could add to the conversation.
Then it dawned on me that it wasn’t that I had nothing to say, it was that I had been taught “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” and that my opinions are not “nice”. Since then I’ve been imagining what would happen if I came out at work. I haven’t even come close since I’m so used to being what the customer needs at any given moment. Almost always that is a sweet southern belle. Anyone who’s seen me at work can attest to this: I play the part well. I know my lines and I snap in and out of the accent pretty much at will. I am a different character at work and I think that’s why it’s been so taxing recently. It’s hard to be someone else all day long.
So this character is nice, respectful, and most of all, unobtrusive. She doesn’t challenge anyone’s anything. She is a she. She has a boyfriend. She will probably make lots of cute babies at some point. She brushes it off when someone is rude to her. She brushes it off when someone says lewd comments about her. Everyone assumes she is a Christian, since she never addresses it.
I think I hate her. Or at least I desperately hate being her.*
Now, my managers opinions were not objectionable, simply that she felt it was wrong, “personally, in my rule book, I think it’s wrong.” but she’s definitely not going to lose respect for you if that’s your “choice” . So not awful exactly. I felt slimy after I sat basically in silence, unwilling to break character and stand up for myself and my opinions. I honestly haven’t a clue what would happen if I came out of all the proverbial closets at work. I doubt my job would actually be in jeopardy, but it would almost certainly hurt my relationships with most, if not all of my coworkers.
I’ve never really been so aware of how closeted I probably need to be at work. It troubles me. I knew it in the back of my mind, but I’d always been able to say to myself, “oh, it never comes up, it’s not a big deal. That’s personal stuff, don’t mix it with work.” but that’s not true. Everyone else talks about everything at work. To the point that they sort of don’t like me cause I don’t talk to them about my personal life. But I don’t want to tell them about my boyfriend or the girl I like or the awful church service I saw on Easter or anything because I don’t actually care about any of them very much.
*Note: I really like this job & I have a wonderful discount so, no, I do not want to get another job. The possibility that it would be better elsewhere is equally questionable.