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We Must Persevere

This past weekend blindsided me and I fell back into my anxiety-mode. Something happened that I was not prepared for and since I didn't have my guard up, my anxiety took over and instead of logically dealing with the problem, I reacted negatively. This is what I need to continuously work on as I heal and grow.

Without pointing fingers or getting into specific details on what happened, I will try to generalize it. I perform a task. A task that I was asked to do and have done successfully many times over many years. I deeply enjoy doing this task and feel it is a great way for me to spend my spare time and connect with others. One evening, outsiders who are not in any way related to my task show up and take over the situation, rendering my skills and knowledge useless. Not only was I taken aback, since I had no idea these individuals would be there to 'help me' with my task since they have never been there before, but when I would try to speak up or offer my background knowledge and assistance, I was ignored and once even scoffed at when I told them how one particular thing I did got results.

I was completely run over, pushed aside and ignored and my anxiety kicked into high gear. Others could see my inner struggle as I tried so hard to not make a scene and just decided to let things be as they were and I would deal with the entire situation later. One detail I will divulge is that the individuals who took command of the situation I was supposed to be spearheading were male. And for many years I've found this is a common denominator for me.

Many male individuals I've encountered through the years do not believe that I have the necessary skills, background knowledge or abilities to perform a task or contribute to a situation. Now, I'm not saying that these men don't have the skills or abilities to perform the task that I was doing, but rather I'm sure they are very knowledgeable in that situation. The way they treated me as a woman in that particular situation was not ok. In fact, they could have very well been MORE skilled and knowledgable than me, but that doesn't give them the right to push me aside and ignore my suggestions or make me feel inferior.

I have tried my hardest to let both of my girls know that they are able to do any task they wish, they can try anything they want, regardless if it's a 'boy-sport' or 'not for girls' I try not to put any of my children in a box (both girls and boys) so their options are not limited based on what people perceive as they standard stereotypical traits. I do not want my kids growing up in life facing the same struggles and close-mindedness that I've seen first hand.

After I left the situation and talking with my husband, I was furious. I rambled on and on about the details and what angered me and how unfair it was. And the look on his face shocked me when he asked: Was it because you were a woman? Really? He literally had no idea that men treated women regularly this way. He was so taken aback that I had to deal with that situation and it happens more often than I can say.

My oldest daughter is an Apprentice Auto Mechanic. She has called me in the past to complain about the prejudice she faces on a day-to-day basis. At that time I was so angry at everything she has to deal with when she is just trying to do her job and make a living. But I did give her some constructive criticism. Being in the industry she is in, she will face this problem often and if it is something she cannot handle or wants to deal with, she should reconsider her career path. She was adamant that this is what she wants to do. And I full heartedly support her. I told her that she will have to grow a bit of a thick skin in order to deal with it on a regular basis, but never should she be bullied or pressured or taken advantage of. That is not ok.

And later, she called me to tell me that an older gentleman came in to have his truck services and specifically asked that 'THE GIRL' NOT work on his vehicle. She was a bit upset about it, until I told her that in that particular situation, it was ok. The work went to another mechanic, who was already extremely busy, and she got to take an extra long break because some senior citizen didn't think a girl could change his oil properly. I told her to enjoy getting paid and sitting in the break room while the others did work she could have done. My daughter laughed and in the end agreed. For that particular situation, she got the better end of a bad spin. As she has grown and worked in this shop for over 4 years now, she is building her rapport with her co-workers and supervisors and that kind of situation doesn't come up as often as it used to thankfully. I am thankful that she knows her voice and is strong enough of a person (not a girl-A PERSON) to speak up when something is not right and should be handled differently.

I hope and pray that all of my children are able to find their voice when they need it most, to stand up for what they believe in, for what is right and for others who may not be able to. Because sometimes a person can forget how, or feels so beaten down that they don't think they can speak up or make a difference. Like I did this past weekend. I let a situation get out of control and I said nothing until it was over. Leaving me with that ever-so-often feeling of worthlessness and self-doubt. Which I didn't deserve.

Going forward I will try harder to find my own voice, and try to make things right when they need to be, not after the fact when I feel safer. Healing is hard. Growing is hard. Living right is hard. But necessary so that you do not make the same mistakes. And I will use this situation to look back on and move forward in a positive way.

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