That is, a fancy way of saying we are pushed into a mould of acceptability.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about times when I was pushed into being acceptable. Instances of what I mean:
* My year 12 talent show. I was to sing a Roxette song solo as a task to myself to prove I can hold a tune and face my fears of singing aloud. 15 min before I go on stage, I was told Kylie would be joining me as back up vocals. No. She was there to sing over me. I was that bad. I knew nothing of this.
* I wrote a report for a UWA magazine after I won a travel grant of a few $K. My report was rewritten to look much more professional. My initial report was deemed immature and naive by my department.
* I went to a blingified Italian-Greek wedding with my Italian ex. My outfit was appraised by potential mother-in-law who promptly screwed up her nose and gave me new clothes and jewellery I found hideous. I got changed into my original things when we arrived. Ha!
* My report to the Royal Inquiry into Family Violence in Aboriginal Communities was rewritten by the lead researcher. I had not skewered it the ‘right’ way. Years later, I understand the political ramifications of presenting things in a particular manner, but still…let me learn! It was my first work as a consultant freelancer.
* I worked on an ad for Office Works in late 2014. I did a 2 second cameo, for which I got paid more, but it has never surfaced. I seemed like the office worker next door, but lacked presence in the final cut. That was the feedback. Ok…
* I applied for an ASIO intelligence agent job. Got so far, only to fail the interview because I looked wrong. My clothes were not professional enough. I didn’t make eye contact. For fuck’s sake. Like I wanted to be around such homogenous suit wearers?! I was curious to see how I’d go.
* I’ve never been asked to do any more token female media stunts for work since the first one. Guess I am not photogenic enough. I don’t play the game. I tried in a promo video for VACC and was caught out pretending to be the model employee. I don’t give what they want. They have plenty of 20 yo blondes in light vehicle to do that now.
It is happening to D too. His work was not on display at a recent High Achiever’s presentation night. His projects are all hand drawn and don’t use advanced graphic design programs some of the more worldly kids use in his class. D scores points for ingenuity and effort, but he’ll never have his work paraded as an example of how the HA program excels. It killed me to see him at that night. He felt completely defunct and down. I understood why he was left out. I understood his feelings so well. This won’t be the end of it.
Unless an autistic person has a savant skill, no one really wants anything to do with us. We bring no glory, no accolades. And the ones we get are considered undeserved.
I have received a National Emergency Medal for my efforts on Black Saturday with the local fire brigade. Plenty were upset I was included. Apparently I did nothing.
My travel grant should have gone to a more useful topic than mine. I agree, but my application WAS rock solid. So, there.
My article for a fitness magazine was included simply as payment for a fucking shit load of editing work I did for free. Over many months. It wasn’t merit based and it was token placed at page 118 of 130. I learned a big lesson from that.
So, D may not ever be part of the corporate image. It isn’t that bad. Better than token attempts of inclusion and reward.
Poor H won a second prize for a marvellous poem he wrote in 30 min on black holes. Sadly, his entry was the only one checked for plagarism and sent off to check the details were correct. It was verified by a Monash professor as factually correct. The teacher explained all this in front of the junior school and parents. It was mortifying. Then she said she will send it to Hawking. She hasn’t. H spotted her crap and screwed the award in the bin. He did it out of love for astro physics.
I will no longer play the game. It stops here. I do what I do out of moral correctness, my ethical standard and duty. Nothing else. I recognise I am not bound for glory on anyone else’s terms.
Strangely, I am nominated for Apprentice of the Year by my Tafe teachers. Their rationale is that I keep going when the tough times come. It has not been an easy transition to apprenticeship. I could easily have walked away. It is a daily struggle to stay at it. I see no future where it will pay off, but I made a promise to myself to stay. Whatever comes of it, I know I did it to prove to the world that the woman least likely can … and did.
The only one to know it is me. That is perfectly ok. That is the best lesson I can teach my boys.