Hmmm. This weekend something happened that made me question a lot about myself, stuff that I’ve been 100% sure about my entire life. That is, my femininity. I’ve always been a girly-girl, or so I thought. I always have, and still do, like pink, and purple, wearing make-up, and nail polish. Here though, it apparently ends.
For two years now I’ve worked in a department at 3M with all men, save for one other woman for a few months. I discovered I like that kind of work…it doesn’t bother me one iota to get dirty, grease under my nails, take apart a machine, climb, lift, etc. In fact I love it! It’s interesting, and makes me feel like I’m really doing something on the job. Still, I kind of discounted that, and didn’t think much of it, until this weekend.
At work they asked for volunteers for Habitat For Humanity, to help side a house. I’ve never done anything like that before, but it sounded fun, and I’ve made it a mission to volunteer more this year, so I signed up. I happily put on my steel toe shoes in the morning, looking forward to a day to lifting, using tools, and learning how to side. Whoopee! Except for, when I got there, the siding was already done! Apparently they had worked like crazy, and now there was some painting to do indoors, and the men were doing I’m not sure what outdoors. So, I was asked, nicely, to go help out inside. It was kind of okay…I had to climb a tall ladder propped up in a stairwell, which the other women were afraid to do. Since I’m kind of fool hardy I volunteered to do it. It was definitely nerve-wracking, but was satisfying to get it done. Then, I painted a bathroom, and basically hung around, waiting and wandering aimlessly while looking for something else to do. (The house was 90% done, and there wasn’t really a lot of physical labor left to do.) So I eventually followed the men when they went downstairs to clean it up, and finally got to move and be active, carrying stuff up to put in a dump truck that was backed up to the house. Yay, I could move and do stuff, and feel like I was contributing! At that moment it occurred to me…I’d so much rather work with the men, being active, than doing “women’s work”, and talking about “women’s things”, whatever that may be. It struck me, like a bolt of lightening, how it must have been for our pioneer ancestors. How some of the women must have longed to go out and work in the fields, or help build a barn, birth a cow, etc., rather than stay inside and cook and sew!! I always presumed, and in fact felt that I knew without question that I’d love to be a woman in those days, that I’d love to do the inside work. Now…not so sure. I’m just so thankful to live in this day and age, when a woman is free to learn new things, whatever they may be…when we’re not bound to social norms related to sexism, but can do what makes us happy. Same as men being nurses, or elementary school teachers, or women driving a semi, what makes us happy, and our hearts sing should be what we pursue, not what our sex dictates. I realized that, in a solitary moment, while carrying wood up to a dump truck, on a drizzly Saturday. We never know when our inspiration will hit. 🙂