Sometimes I wonder what I ‘represent’ and why.
The list of things that I am is rather large: Open-Source Advocate, coder, hacker, musician, lesbian, libertarian, bicyclist, woman, Jewish, college drop-out… It goes on and on and on. Those are all words people associate with me, and when I jokingly asked a friend, she said she thought of the words ‘hat’ and ‘WordPress.’ I’m rather glad there isn’t just one word people think of when they think of me, and rather that there are many words that make them think of me. It’s the difference between being and representing, though.
My being is complex and difficult to pin down. I’m many things, some of which confuse people (practicing Jew + skeptic), and others make perfect sense (Hybrid owner + eco-aware). My representing is broad spectrum, and sometimes it’s a thing I do under duress Obviously I don’t mind representing my company when I’m in the WordPress forums. That’s my job, and it’s also a huge relief to be able to go “This is me! This is my company! I can tell people about it!” after all those years at The Bank. On the other hand, I hate that everything I do will be used by someone to say “Aha! Lesbian!” (or whatever it is about me they dislike).
It’s not just me, though. Everyone has that pain. Every woman knows we represent all women when we do ‘non-traditional’ things. Like women in code? It’s not that rare, but no matter what we must be aware that we’re women and we represent all of us. I hate that a lot. A huge lot. It’s annoying, and I just want to do my thing! Men don’t get off easy, though. If you’ve ever met a straight male in a traditionally female role (nurse, hair stylist, designer), they have an uphill battle too. It’s stupid, but there we are.
But we all somehow intuit the difference between who and what we are, and who and what we represent. And those moments in life when we get to glory and revel in our being without any repercussions to our representation are cherished.
There’s no point to this, other than I had these thoughts on my mind and felt like putting them down.