So the topic for this month's Scientiae carnival is "transcending the debate". When the call first came out, I thought "cool! what an interesting topic! I can't wait to come up with a post for this one!"
And in trying to come up with a post, I've struggled mightily. For reasons I didn't understand, until today, when I had an epiphany.
I think a lot of the struggles I've had, particularly in my current position, especially around my legendarily bad third-year review, come about as a direct result of not transcending the debate. Instead of transcending, I tend to mire myself in the muck, let colleagues and situations drag me down and make me question myself and my instincts and generally deter me from pursuing the things I want to pursue.
I'm not sure why I do this. Is it a misguided attempt at acceptance? Is it a weariness with being outnumbered and (pardon the war analogy) outgunned in departmental situations? Is it self-consciousness, low self-esteem? Or is it because I'm truly passionate about these things and don't understand why others don't share my fiery passion for the same things?
My mom has a great saying/philosophy: Sometimes acting oblivious is your best defense/strategy. And when I've remembered that and really put it to practice, difficult situations have become...not quite so difficult. Sure, it doesn't work all the time, but it works more often than it doesn't.
This year, as I return to work, I pledge to really work on transcending the stuff that normally gets me down, to follow my instincts, and do what I know is right and righteous and good. I will mentor our young women (and other underrepresented folks) with abandon. I will resurrect the lunch/cookies tradition. I will ignore any negative comments or criticisms about such activities. Most importantly, I will work to make my department a place that's welcoming to all, and if my colleagues don't like it, tough nougies.
I'd better start practicing being oblivious.