Monday, May 28, 2012

The Sisterhood of the Hidden Dagger

I have gotten so used to posting every day that it is going to be tough neglecting my blog again, but more pressing IRL concerns start back up again tomorrow.  I am excited, a little scared, but deep in my spirit I feel....

quiet confidence.

I hope this turns out to be the appropriate feeling.  I have some reservations about being in a trade school vs. regular college, and they are all social.  I will have the same nineteen classmates for the whole 2 1/2 years, and the same two instructors.  In most situations, if someone annoys you (classmate or teacher) you can just clam up and get through the class/semester.  Not this time.  There's not even a day to cool off between classes.  Here's to Buddha and detachment! My plan is to be as Zen as possible while in class.

This will be all new to me.  I am by nature enthusiastic, outspoken, and (not bragging, it is what it is) smart.  I love learning.  I really get a thrill out of understanding new concepts.  It's not a chore to learn, it's a treat.  Here's hoping I can keep myself out of the limelight most of the time.  Even as I type those words out, I know I will have very limited success.  But hopefully, I will be better at it than in the past, with my newly begun practice of yoga to guide me.

Eighteen of my fellow students are women.  Most of them are close to my age.  I don't know if this will be a plus or a minus.  Growing up, I generally got along better with guys than gals.  I didn't understand why then, but I'm pretty sure I do now. 

I am no threat to guys. Men still have a distinct advantage over women in all fields, and fields traditionally held by women are no exception.  A guest  instructor for the shadowing course I had to take this summer was very open and free with her opinions on everything.  One of those opinions she candidly shared was that male nurses are better nurses than female nurses.  She is, of course, a Southern Baptist, so no surprise that she would defer to men in all things.  Still, it was very unnerving to see her be open about her own misogyny.

I am a threat to the other women in the class.  That has been my experience throughout my life.  It has been my daughter's experience.  It is probably the experience of smart and decent-looking women everywhere.  I briefly fantasized that there might be a sense of sisterhood in the career world that was missing in the realm of the stay at home mom, home schooling or otherwise.  

Well, there is: the Sisterhood of the Hidden Dagger.  It's not going to be any different than public school was, I'm sure. The only women who will befriend me are those who don't feel threatened by me.  All others will be ready to believe any gossip about me, any ugly rumor, and may even start some of their own.  I am not a pessimist by nature, but I know this is a very real danger in this social setting.

If I were very overweight, or were less than average attractive (not that I'm "smoking hot" or anything, far from it, but my face doesn't scare children), then no doubt some if not most of these women would befriend me.  If I were a B student, or even a C student, no doubt those in the same GPA area would befriend me.  Of course, if I were a conservative religious person like I was for so many years, that would probably help in this particular school.  But I'm not.

I'm smart, ambitious, fit, and while I won't be attending any functions that the Romneys would attend, my husband makes just enough money to keep us in the less affluent end of an affluent neighborhood.  I plan on using all this to my benefit, but I also plan on being as quiet about my advantages as I can.  Jealousy and spite lead to gossip, and ugly gossip has torpedoed many a woman, including myself. 

This sort of behind the scenes back-stabbing is oft practiced in Christian circles, so in this rural trade school in the South, I can expect  that my peers are well-versed in it.  I have been a victim too many times to count, and while in the past the "prize" women were vying for wasn't worth enough for me to stand my ground, this time it is.  Enjoy your positions in church and so-called "Christian" home school circles, back-stabbing gossips.  You won your little patch of ground.  I am moving on to bigger things.

And this time, I will not be marginalized or deterred from my goal.  I already know it's going to be hard to keep from being outed as a threat.  Even keeping your mouth shut is seen as a threat to someone spouting off opinions left and right.  By not agreeing openly, they know you are disagreeing privately.  I am just praying that enough of the job sites will be here in the city that I won't have to worry about it much.  

At the rural hospitals, I know there will be whole departments filled with anti-abortion, elitist, homophobic white Southern women.  Not my favorite, as you might have guessed.  My secret weapon here will be daily prayer and morning yoga before I leave for work.  My next strategy: proclaim at every opportunity that I am looking forward to taking a travelling job when I graduate.  This will calm people that I will not be competing with them for local jobs.  It has the advantage of not being completely false, because I will follow the money so I may very well take a travelling job.

Another strategy is to talk up moving to Florida when my husband retires, and pointing out that he is older than me so I'll still be working.  Also true and not true.   He is older than me and I will still be working after he retires, but he's not THAT much older than me.  

The final strategy, and the one on which all the rest hinges, is to not friend anyone from school on facebook.  In fact, I may even have to shut down my facebook account.  It's already private, and I go back and hide past posts pretty regularly.  I know that one of the two instructors stalks her students on facebook; she already lectured us that if we put on anything negative about her she would find out and have it on the overhead projector when we got to class the next day.  

I am not sure exactly how to handle this facebook situation.  It's possible I may rub the instructor the wrong way by not adding anyone from class as a friend.  I plan to say something like: I prefer to keep my private and professional life separate.  Or I could create a new account for school only using my intials instead of my name, but my name is so unique people would probably still try to friend me on both.  Not happening.  Not. Happening.

Suggestion are welcome, if any of you have some for me.  Otherwise, I probably won't post again for awhile.  Wish me luck and happiness, and know I wish  the same for you.  Peace and good will to all who read here, SS


  1. Hmm, re: Facebook, I think you can hide your name from searches. That might work. And if anyone finds it say you don't use it often enough to really be worth adding them. (That is not a lie, right, since you are not saying how much you are on)

    Good luck! In previous social situations I have not dealt with much cattiness and was oblivious to some, but now with my rather dramatic weight loss I am starting to notice some and no longer wonder why other women seem a bit paranoid about that. But hey, life is fun and who cares about people trying to prick your bubble!


  2. A friend of mine, when she started teaching, turned her English name into its Irish Gaelic equivalent to make her FB harder to find. You are allowed these days to use an alias on FB, so if you aren't using shadowspring there, you could. (My SIL uses an alias on FB and always has.)

    I know you'll do well!

  3. You could say your husband is a little paranoid about privacy issues, so your Facebook account is only used to share family pictures with far-away relatives. Works great with the conservative Christian women because you are "submitting" to your husband's wishes.