Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “Explain what people don’t understand about you.”
I’m not a terribly complicated person by any means, but even saying that, the number of things that people don’t understand about me could fill an entire book. Every group of people has their own lack of understanding.
Older women don’t understand how I could could wind up in a field like instrumentation. It’s primarily mechanical in nature, involves a lot of troubleshooting and critical thinking, and worst of all, usually involves some combination of getting sweaty and getting dirty. Older women just can’t seem to understand why I would want to do such a thing. Women in more “traditional” roles at the paper mill (secretaries, payroll, scheduling, etc) were forever asking me how I ended up in such a job and why I would want to do it. There was no explaining it to them, and all they ever seemed to be able to get out of the conversation was that I somehow – amazingly, oddly, astoundingly – didn’t mind getting dirty. Once, I got motor grease in my hair, and the mill nurse reacted as though I’d just told her I had cancer. Here only concern (and my, was she concerned) was that I might have to cut my hair to get it out.
Younger women don’t understand my beauty rituals (or lack thereof). I’m not alone in being a woman who isn’t really into fashion or tons of makeup and immaculate hairdos, but somehow I always seem to be surrounded by the ones who are the exact opposite. Hey, if you want to spend an hour every morning making sure that your hair is absolutely perfect and every inch of your skin has been painstakingly dusted with the exact same amount of foundation, just so you can go work in a dirty construction site where literally no one gives a damn what you look like…man, it’s your time. But that’s not me. I’m lazy, and I’m comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt with my hair in a messy ponytail and a bit of lipstick to keep me from looking sick. So please don’t look at me like I somehow don’t appreciate myself because I don’t subscribe to the same beauty rituals as you.
Fellow mothers don’t understand how I can travel out West two weeks out of every month and deal with being 3000 miles away from my daughter for all that time. Honestly, maybe this is something you have to experience to be able to understand, but it’s really not all that difficult. My family, like every family, needs money to survive. Out West is where the money is. And honestly, it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds because if you work it out into waking hours (the hours of the day that my daughter is actually awake), I see her way more on this kind of job than I would at a normal 9-5.
Older men don’t understand that I’m not completely useless. The exceptions are my coworkers, of course, who see with their own eyes that I know what I’m doing, but in every day life I meet plenty of older men who just assume that because I’m a married woman my husband must do all the “hard” stuff for me. It would blow their minds to see me repairing our icemaker, or tearing apart and rebuilding a broken dryer, or lifting and carrying more than 30 lbs of stuff at a time. Welcome to the future, guys. Not all women are trophy wives anymore.
Very few people understand why I write. It can be hard, I guess, to understand the compulsion, the desire to put words to paper. I suppose it can be difficult to understand why someone would want to spend all their spare time (after a full work week) curled up with a laptop. I’m sure it must take a lot to understand why a person would deal with fatigue and self-loathing, amongst a host of other problems, just for the sake of bringing a story to life. But that one I can’t really explain. It simply is what it is. I guess even I don’t really understand myself in this case.