There is this vortex of thoughts going through my head. I wonder if I can make some sense of it all by writing it down. If it just wasn't so coooold. I am shivering while I am typing this. One thing that will be especially difficult is separating the personal from some general observations. That is part of the problem I fear.
So many things are going well, and I am happy. I spend a lot of time with the children, especially now during the holidays. And I've kept catching myself thinking how lovely it all is. We went to the zoo with its impressive dinosaurs on show, and I shared in the children's excitement of the underwater view of a seal playing with a ball. There was the duck that dived right to the bottom of the tank, leaving a trail of pearly bubbles in the water. Little beautiful things that I seem to be able to enjoy much more than I used to. More excitement at the Explore Centre, and today at Funderworld on the Downs. (This I had been dragged to two years ago, and discovered to my surprise that it really was fun - I had always enjoyed these things as a kid). And there is the children's daddy, who is also the best husband imaginable. And I, well I think I'm a good enough mother, and wife as well (though not a great housewife).
Work is going reasonably well, too. I have worked on three different projects this week, and got everything done despite the holidays (okay, I reversed day and night pretty much, staying up till 4 or 5, then sleeping in, but it's okay for a while). My clients seem to be happy. True, for one of the projects, the crunch is going to come now, as more users will be invited to put their profiles on. Hopefully it will go okay.
Arrgh no, this is really difficult to write. So, basically today I responded to this post on my favourite technical mailing list. I put myself forward to do a talk. The way I did that was probably pretty dumb, I didn't do myself any favours. But there's a lot else around it that disturbs me a bit. And it is so difficult to divide it into what is me, and what is the others.
There has not been a woman talking yet (in this new series of talks at least). Once I got this email "Yeah, we've got to get you up there, we haven't had a single woman speaker yet" and I replied "I hope I have something else to offer apart from being a woman".
Then the remark "Really anybody going up there...has to be applauded soo much" - I don't know if those were the exact words. Something like that. I wish I remembered the other thing, too. Something along the lines "It is not really about having some great knowledge, rather talking about your experience" But I get a distinct feeling that somehow I am an exception to that and I musn't talk. I don't want to go up there to be applauded. My main motivation is this: a, I'd really quite like to contribute something, especially as I've benefited from other talks or from direct help. b, I know of at least two women who, like me, often don't feel comfortable at technical meetups, and I thought this might change that a bit. And this particular topic I really do know something about, so I thought I'd give it a go (despite the somewhat 'superstar status' of the other two speakers; I am just foolish enough to do that, and well, really I thought it would be a good challenge to try and deliver something that only half lived up to what they did)
Would I have something to contribute then? That is the question. A question that unfortunately can't be answered unless I actually did speak. There is this other thought I have, that people are trying to protect me, because they think I don't get how limited my knowledge is, and would really embarass myself. - I think I do know how limited it is, but you have to start somewhere. In any case, and of that I'm quite sure, I obviously don't fit in. If you look at what has come before, yes, I probably don't. Mostly highly technical, specialised people in business or agency settings. There's also a predominantly male culture. This is kind of a by-product, it is not that anybody chose it to be. Still a shame I think, but if the people involved are happy with this, I guess they should carry on with it.
All this does have one good effect, I will finally stop moaning to my dear friend how excluded, not-belonging or inadequate I feel. In fact, I think that all stopped when I left Twitter. Astoundingly it had a really positive effect. I do miss some people, but I already missed them when I was still on there.
In a curious way this episode has made me feel more positive about myself and my coding skills.[edit 29.3.: No, it has not, it makes me feel like a complete idiot; but again just so grateful for husband of mine, who makes me laugh about that, too.] And I'm looking forward so much to when Gicela will be back and we can start our own group.
[edit 10.4.: It looks now as though I will give a talk. Now it's up to me to deliver something worthwile :)]