Kin Lane

Cassandra Making You Mad Is More About You Than Her

I am always fascinated at how mad my wife makes people online. While it is occasionally humorous, it mostly is pretty troubling to watch men get all worked up about what she has to say. What really troubles me is that she is just talking about education. I’d say 75% of what she is putting out their is in service of making the world a better place by protecting on of the most important dimensions of our world. I get when bros get all worked up about feminism and other topics that scare the shit out of them, but education seems like one we could find more common ground on. Unless I guess you are purely interested in making money off the educational system or are more interested in people not being educated so you can keep them down.

When I first got together with Cassandra over a decade ago she used to piss me off. I’d regularly be steaming over something she had said. Ranging from telling me that data can’t be art, to letting me know my new startup idea was dumb. Usually I was just left wondering why she had to be such a bitch all the time. Over time I would learn that this was actually all about me, and had little to do with her. It was about my general lack of awareness of the world around me. and an Inability to accept of outside ideas that weren’t my own–as well as me just being a fragile white man. I have had so much of my world cracked open in the last decade of hanging out with her. All of this partly due to her default mode of questioning everything around her, but it is also derived from me studying the effect of what she does as it ripples through the world around her. Which is something that pushes me to shut up, think more, and further pull back the wool that I have allowed to be pulled over my eyes as part of my isolated, yet privileged upbringing.

Over the last decade I have learned to turn my own groundswells of anger, and the red in the face emotion I experience when she questions everything into a sort of barometer. If I am getting pissed off about this, I need to hit pause, gather myself, and think deeply about what is going on here. If it is getting a rise out of me, then it is pretty likely there are more layers to what is going on than my conscious mind is willing to accept. Once I started pulling back the sexist, racist, and other deeply programmed layers of my reality, it almost always leaves me wanting to know more. Along the way I have realized that many of my views were pretty fucking misogynistic, and her calling someone else out on it, or me directly, ended up shifting the ground under my feet. Allowing me to use her as one tool in seismic measurement toolkit that helps me understand when the ground underneath me is unstable. Allowing me to make a decision about whether or not I have a personal problem, or maybe the ground is really shaking. Side note: I’ve never really ever felt an earthquake, even though I’ve been in a few of them.

After over 30 years of struggling with mental illness, and the need to keep my mind busy, I’ve learned to pull together a pretty diverse toolbox of things I can use to help me make sense of me—-Kin Lane. After “dealing” with Cassandra for over a decade now I have found her world view invaluable. Why wouldn’t you want to have someone around who will tell you your startup idea is dumb? Why wouldn’t you want someone around you to point out that what you just said was sexist, racist, and pretty derogatory to a whole slice of the world that you can’t see because of your privilege? Oh yeah, a fragile man who doesn’t want to improve upon themselves, and are perfectly content wallowing in their privileged mediocrity. That ain’t me. Don’t get me wrong, Cassandra isn’t always right. But, how she makes you feel is. I don’t listen to everything she tells me. Especially if it goes into my bad ear (the left one). However, I do make sure I am always pausing, stepping back, and considering if there is more going on here. I’m sorry, but that kind of shit in this fast paced world of technology which is “moving faster than ever before” is priceless. In the end, it all helps me minimize the number of times I am the problem that I don’t like seeing in the world.

One byproduct of me being able to see when I am the problem in the world, which actually further demonstrates how unstable the ground is under my feet, is that this shift also allows me to better see how ALL men are the problem in the world. And just how different things might be if we shut up, paused for a bit, and let other people have a voice. Whether we wanted to hear it or not. Whether it made us red in the face or not. Whether we actually listen or not. If we just shut up and step back. Imagine what would grow in that environment. Damn. Anyways, I’m pretty keen on unpacking what is behind each of those uncomfortable emotions I’m having when Cassandra says something I didn’t expect, or wasn’t ready to hear. All of this doesn’t mean I do not have a voice, or I am just allowing myself to be silenced. It is just giving me more time to think and unpack what is going on in the world around me. It is just helping me better see my privilege and incrementally improve upon what I know as Kin Lane. Also, it all helps me remember that she can’t help it. It is just the way she is. You are better offer learning from it, rather than letting yourself get all worked up. Helping you realize you being mad about what she says is all about you, and has very little to do with Cassandra.