Being a Lady in a Man’s World


This is just a warning that I’m going to get on a *bit* of a soapbox here. But I can’t be the only one out there who feels this way. I’m also going to preface this blog by saying that not only do I spend every day in a male dominated job ( a job that I love and went to college for, I’m not here by accident), I was raised with a brother.

Now, my parents raised my brother and I the same way for the most part (up until those years where they think you might get pregnant so you have to stay home while your brother goes to a party even though you’ve never even had a boyfriend and he’s had several girl friends). As children, we were allowed to do things and try things that are not considered “lady like” by all, like playing in the mud, riding four wheelers, and learning to work on cars. But my parents raised us that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. You can bring the same things to the table. They did, however, raise me to understand that I am a smaller person, and by nature, I am not as strong as other people. They raised me with this truth that although I am not as strong as some, it doesn’t mean that I am “less than”. It’s just what it is, and I need to accept my limitations so that I don’t hurt myself. They raised me to see that I am smarter than some people, like other people are stronger than me. And that you don’t use this as a way to be superior to others, but as a way to lift others up, while also figuring out other ways to do things that I am physically too small for.

Now, as I said, I am in a male dominated job every day. I work in the paint side of a body shop. My job is physical and demanding, and some days I come home dirtier than my boyfriend (who is a machinist). People ask me sometimes how this is being a lady and all. For the most part, I don’t imagine it’s much different than being a dude. In college (which ran for some parts like an actual body shop) and in my job, I’ve had the same experience with my peers. They are cautious around me at first, like they aren’t sure what to expect and how to act. Once I kinda (subtly) set boundaries for what behavior I will and will not tolerate (I’m a socially anxious person and I like my bubble), I just dig in. I get to work the same as they do. And once they realize I’m serious and I’m there to work, it’s all good. They help me lift parts that are too heavy for me to carry on my own without belittling me. They do it for me the same way they do for each other (granted for me it’s like a hood or a door, and for each other it’s like an entire truck bed but still). They do it with respect as equals. And I love them for it.

It’s often people outside of my industry or people in  my industry who have not worked with females that I have issues with. There are two types of guys I meet when I tell people what I do. The first is the asshole. This is a guy who thinks that I’m either doing my job because I feel like I have something to prove as a woman (not true, it’s something my dad did and I grew up around my whole life) or that they know how to do my job better. My favorite is the one who thinks they know more than I do but has never done any part of my job. This is the person I get so angry with, I just smile and walk away. You cannot win with these types of people so it’s best not to engage with them at all. The second person is the one who is supportive. They want to know what it was that got me into it, are happy to answer any questions that I have, or (if they don’t work in my industry) ask me all sorts of questions related to my job. I love these people. They make me feel welcome in my industry and just make me feel like a normal human.

It’s not just in my job that it irritates me on being a woman in a man’s world and it being made obvious. I enjoy riding motorcycles. I have been on the backs of bikes since I was a baby and I’ve just last year went and taken a course to get my license. But when you go to look at bikes and equipment, you are usually made to feel different. It’s difficult to find serious equipment. Everything is usually overly girly and not geared towards safety, but towards fashion. Just check out your local Harley Davidson store. I’m not about that life. Fashion is nice, but I need function too. I don’t want things that scream “Look at me! I’m a lady doing man things!” I want things that scream “I’m doing something I enjoy, and I know how to protect myself doing it. I’m serious about this thing I’m doing.” Finding quality boots that have grip and don’t have a fashion heel is hard, and they’re usually way more expensive than comparable mens boots. Finding a jacket that is fitting and actually protective is another issue. They usually have rhinestones or things like that when I just want a plain jacket. I’m so small that the men’s jackets don’t fit without issues. I have no problem wearing men’s stuff, but I have a very small frame and it usually doesn’t fit as well as I need it to. Not to mention, not everything for women has to have pink or purple on it. There. I said it.

I am also getting into shooting bows thanks to my boyfriend. He has also been trying to convince me to go hunting with him. Holy crap is there a limited selection there too. And I swear, EVERYTHING has pink or purple on it. (I’m looking at you “Muddy Girl” camo). It’s very hard to find regular camo that is function and isn’t a v cut or have pink or purple. And small enough to fit. And no, I can’t wear the little kids camo. My waist is small enough but my legs are way too long. AND I do NOT want to be told to “just check the kids section”. I’m a grown ass woman and I’m closer to 30 than 18. I DO NOT want to shop in the kids section and no I’m not “luckier” because it’s cheaper. The only camo you can find that is cut for ladies but otherwise the same as the guys seems to be extremely expensive. (I’m looking at you Sitka and First Lite).

Looking for things for my bow are much the same. There are a million different options for the “guys” but there are only a few for women. (If you’re like me and need smaller equipment for my wimpy noodle arms). I seriously just bought a “youth” release mechanism for my bow because it fit just as well as some of the “womens” and it wasn’t pink or purple. I just bought arrows that are white and aqua and they were the ONLY ones I could find small enough between three big box stores that weren’t pink or purple.

Now, I know I’m harping on pink and purple, but if that’s your thing, power to you. I just don’t feel the need to highlight the fact that I’m a lady. I just want to feel equal. I don’t want to feel superior, I don’t want to feel less than. Just equal. There’s a name for this “marketing scheme” or whatever you want to call it. “Shrink it and pink it.” and I don’t feel that it’s a good thing to teach our youth, be they male or female. I think that if you enjoy something, the “colors” shouldn’t deem it a male or female thing. You should be able to get the equipment that you need, in the sizes and cuts you need it in, in whatever color you want. A Tonka Truck shouldn’t have to be pink for a girl to feel like she can play with it. Now, I know girls like things that are pink and purple sometimes and that’s fine, but the option should be there for girls who don’t. The NERF guns that are for girls, that are while and pink and branded as “different” drive me up the fucking wall. What was wrong with the regular ones? Why do girls who want to play with NERF guns have to be labeled or branded to as different?

Now, maybe it’s just me. And if so, I’ll get off my soap box. But I just feel like the difference in branding isn’t offering freedom so much as it is driving a wedge between gender equality. It implies that ladies are fragile and dainty and “less than” and “aren’t they cute?” and they need protected. Some people say this mentality is going away but it’s not going fast enough. This isn’t a subject I harp on very much, but I feel it’s important to visit every now and then. If it loses me followers, so be it. I just feel like it isn’t asking for too much to teach people, both kids and adults, that equal is equal and color doesn’t dictate what you can/can’t or should/shouldn’t do or enjoy in your life. And whether you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your opinions or comments, as well as if you’ve dealt with this in your life, be you male or female.


Welcome to the Machine

Hello everyone. Welcome back. I apologize for my last couple posts being about how long I’ve been gone and hollow promises of getting back to this blog. Life has threw a couple wrenches in my gears lately, but I’ve been working hard to get all those cogs freed up and running smoothly. I could tell you all the sad, frustrating, hair pulling, banging my head against the wall stories that have kept me away from this blog and many things in general, and I might, but not today.

I know, as well as anyone, that life can get in the way. It’s a machine. It keeps chugging along, regardless of the parts falling off, needing greased, or repaired. It is a machine to be admired for its unwillingness to quit, regardless of how it falls apart. People are much the same. That is how I have felt lately, like a machine in need of a serious breakdown and rebuild. But I don’t have time for that, so I make small repairs where I can – on the side of the road, in the rain, in the gas station parking lot – because on this journey, you don’t always have time to stop. You have to evaluate the priority parts and make sure you keep those on par, everything else? Well, it just depends on where it is on the priority list.

Sometimes we think certain parts of the machine are important when they really aren’t. That is a problem. It leaves us blindsided when a part that is actually important blows up. This has happened to me a few times lately. So, I am trying to shave off some unnecessary parts and focus on the core of the machine. Because unfortunately, when some of those really important parts blow up, there’s no fixing them or replacing them. You  must simply move on without them and readjust the way the machine works.

In my re-evaluation, I have decided that I have neglected some major components of my machine called life for far too long. And I have lost some parts that cannot be replaced. So, I am changing the oil, lubing the chain, changing the air filter, and moving on.

When is the last time you re-evaluated your life? There is never a bad time to sit down and make a list of the people or things that you love but haven’t seen or done in a while. Our excuse is usually that there isn’t enough time right now, I’ll do it later. I promise you that the most important thing you can do is make time. Right now, before your machine blows, locks up, and leaves you stranded with a part that you’ve lost and cant’ replace. As a quote by Buddha says, “The problem is, you think you’ve got time.”

As my favorite band, Pink Floyd, says, “Welcome to the machine.” Be sure to take care of yours every once in a while.


“Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.” – Anonymous

“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our mind has changed, and that changes everything.” – Anonymous

“There is a kind of crying I hope you have not experienced, and it is not just crying about something terrible that has happened, but crying for all of the terrible things that have happened, not just to you but to everyone you know and to everyone you don’t know and even the people you don’t want to know. A crying that can not be diluted by a brave deed or a kind word, but only by someone holding you as your shoulders shake and your tears run down your face.” – Lemony Snicket

“Until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

“February is the shortest month of the year, so if you are having a miserable month, try to schedule it for February.” – Anonymous

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” – Lemony Snicket

“There’s a history of heartbreak, Tucked in the creases of her eyes, A museum of the moments, That she’d watch just pass her by, And each tear that escaped her, Held the things she’d left unsaid, So the words she’d never spoken, Stained her dampened cheeks instead.” – e.h.

“I think there are two kinds of forgiveness, the kind that when you forgive you’re also giving then another chance, or the kind where you forgive, but move on without them. Use them both wisely.” – s.b.

“You told me that you had my back, And I thought that it was true, Now my shadow’s still behind me, But where on earth are you?” – e.h.

” ‘Love me slowly,’ she whispered, like the love I had for her, had limits. Like it could run out as easily as a grain of time. I could tell, by the sound of fear in her lungs, that she had a terrible past. The kind that no one talks about, the kind that remains bottled up inside of you, slowly and quietly, killing everything in your bones.” – Christopher Poindexter

“There is no statute of limitations on starting over. Re-invent yourself every day. Be the girl who walks barefoot and listens to the blues. Tomorrow, wear a trench coat and speak fierce truths. Be a phoenix. Be ashes. Burn down. Resurrect. Let go of the idea that you must always be who you have always been.” – unknown

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” he said. – Rachel Wolchin

“Le beau est toujours bizarre. (The beautiful is always bizzar.)” – Charles Baudelaire

“She wears strength and darkness equally well, the girl has always been half goddess, half hell.” – unknown

Love is Unconditional, Relationships Are Not.

Life is a funny thing sometimes. It always has a way to bring us back around to a lesson that we learned before and may have, somehow, still forgotten. When I was little, I heard somewhere (either from my parents or read in a book)  that you’re better off to learn lessons from other people because you don’t live long enough to make them all yourself. I took that to heart, but there are still lessons that I have to learn for myself, the hard way.

I’ll be turning twenty five soon. An “official” quarter lifer at that point. I think it is a testament to the stresses of my generation that I had never heard that term used before we came into adult-hood. Some of us have been forced to grow up fast, due to circumstances beyond our control. It’s a testament to the lessons we’ve learned the hard way and the stress that we are under to be adults who are respected instead of looked down upon as “entitled”. It’s a testament to knowing how many of my peers are on anti-depressants and in therapy (neither of which they can afford, so it just gets stacked upon the thousands of dollars of student debt they have). It’s bad when there’s now a name for it because we are having “quarter-life” crises instead of mid-life.

One lesson that has been the hardest learned for me, and that has recently come back to remind me just how I learned it, is that while love is unconditional, relationships are not. This requires a little bit of back story, so bear with me.

My last relationship (as you’ve heard me mention over the last couple personal posts) was very abusive. He was a compulsive liar and very good at gaslighting. I was young and naive, and he wasn’t (naive, that is, he’s younger than I am). He knew exactly how to manipulate me to get what he wanted. This lasted for three years. Three years. The result was that during this, my already low self esteem dropped lower, I became even more withdrawn and anti-social, and I was more lost than ever. I was a teen. My parents were going through a rough time. It was, I thought, the love of my life.

I had only had one other guy before this ever tell me that I was beautiful and that he was in love with me, but that relationship wasn’t meant to be. We never even dated. So, when this guy came along, I took a chance. In some ways, I regret it deeply. I lost a lot of friends and missed out on a lot of experiences (including enjoying experiences like prom and graduation) because of this guy. At first it was great, but then every thing changed and I found myself in a situation that I knew in the back of my mind, was not safe and was not healthy. However, like a lot of people who find themselves in abusive relationships, I loved him hopelessly. As much as any 15-18 year old can know love. I was convinced that I could change myself to be that person he loved again. I was convinced I could change him to not be so quick to anger.

I convinced myself of a lot of things that still make me cringe and turn red with embarrassment. Please believe me that hind sight is 20/20, a lesson taught to me by one of my favorite history teachers. It was his response as to why people see things more clearly or differently after the fact than in the heat of the moment. Somewhere, another quote came to me when I needed it the most. It took a lot of time for it to sink in, and a lot of courage for me to finally cut him out of my life. I had tried before, just to go to being friends with him. This was a false hope. The only way to break that cycle is complete cut-off. The reason I can’t remember where this quote comes from is that I have literally dozens of notebooks, scraps of paper, journals, and files on my computer filled with quotes gathered over the past ten years of my life.

That quote was this: Love is unconditional, relationships are not. It rattled around in my head for a long time as I wrestled with exactly what it meant to me. And what I took from it was this: Yes, love is in fact unconditional. We don’t get to decide when it happens, where it comes from, who it applies to, nor how deeply it runs. It is something that exists beyond us, on another plane. Relationships are not unconditional. Ask anyone who’s ever been in one that has ended, from lovers to friends. They will all give you a reason. And most of the time will tell you that they are still in love or still love that person. Sometimes there are just parts of a relationship that we cannot handle. While this does not mean that we no longer love the person, it just means that we now realize it is not healthy for us to be a part of their life anymore.

From dirty socks and differences in politics, to lying and unfaithfulness, there are many conditions that define what you expect in a relationship. We all think that a failed relationship equals no longer loving that person but that is not the case. I think that line of thinking is what makes relationships, especially long ones, hard to walk away from. But it’s not love that has failed. There are some things that even love cannot change or conquer. You can love someone and realize that you can no longer live with them. You have to choose to let them go and love them from afar. And it hurts. Damn does it hurt. Usually. It hurt me to realize this, but the more he hurt me, the easier it made it. That breaking point is in different places for different people. I was lucky to realize mine before I fully committed my life to his.

Now, it has been nearly 7 years since we split. I do not talk to him, I have only seen him once (in a failed attempt to get my things back). I do not friend or follow him on facebook or any social media. His number is blocked from my phone and, to be honest, I no longer remember it though I once knew it like I knew my name. Now, I am seeing a pattern of a toxic relationship develop with someone close to me who I thought new this lesson. Unfortunately, they’ve been blinded to it by the beauty of the “honeymoon phase”. It frightens and angers me for this person because they’ve been through this before and deserve so much better. But that only served to remind me of another lesson. One that is just as hard for me to accept and follow.

“You cannot save people. Only love them.” I’m a nurturer. The Mother Goose. I want what’s best for the people I love and it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes I have to step back and let them make their own decisions and deal with the consequences that follow. My boyfriend actually reminded me of this one, which was slightly humbling because I’m the one who taught it to him. There comes a time when you are really going to hate a decision someone close to you makes. You’re going to think that you know that this decision is only going to get them hurt. But it is not our place to make decisions for others, it it only our job to love them. Sometimes you get presented with the ultimatum of accepting their decision and loving them, or losing them from your life. I learned a long time ago you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be, or think that they need to be, saved. You’ve got to let people go their own way and just be there for them.

Simply another reminder that love is unconditional but relationships are not. Relationships are full of not only conditions but compromise. You have to decide, in every relationship, what compromises you are willing to make and what conditions are hard lines. Pick your battles. This is always complicated by love. It’s pretty good at blurring those lines. There is always going to be someone that comes along that you love so much you turn into a pirate, going, “Rules? I thought those were more guidelines…”. There’s always going to be an exception to your rules for some people. Trust me, I’ve met one that just broke every rule I’ve ever had about a person and I fell in love with him anyways. I was willing to throw everything away for him, and he knew it. I am lucky enough that he loved me enough to not let me do that.

So,thanks for hanging in there with me and letting me ramble on. I’m not really sure where I hoped this would go when I started, but I’m ok with how it turned out. And, dear readers, with all your loved ones, just remember that love comes in many shapes and forms, and just because you might not have a great relationship with someone doesn’t mean you can’t love them.

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”

“Your heart is surrounded by cobwebs and dust, it hasn’t seen the light of love in years. your skin is painted with blue and green circles, and red lines going in all directions. this is the aftermath of strangers,  of friends, of family, who are tyring to claw their way into your cobwebbed heart. they tried knocking first but you slammed the door in their faces, as if they were a door-to-door salesman. it’s time. time to let them in, time to clear away the cobwebs and the dust. time to let the light in.” – a.y.

“you can always find something beautiful in something destructive and now I finally understand why I’ve always been so fond of you.”

” ‘The trick, kiddo,’ his mom replies slowly, ‘is finding someone who complements you instead of completes you. You need to be complete on your own.’ ”

“Darlin, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.” – Big Mama The Fox & The Hound

” ‘You,’ he said, ‘are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.’ ” – Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

“I would have loved you with everything I have. But you didn’t want to be loved, turns out you just wanted to be fucked.”

“People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.” Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing

“You can never really know someone completely. That’s why it’s the most terrifying thing in the world, really—taking someone on faith, hoping they’ll take you on faith too. It’s such a precarious balance, It’s a wonder we do it at all. And yet..” – Libba Bray

“I love you for who you are, not who the world thinks you should be.” – Libba Bray  Beauty Queens

“He admired my melancholy madness and said that it was graceful and beautiful. But it was neither of those things. I was a hurricane at the centre of a collapsing, burning, building; and I wasn’t someone to be admired at all.

“If there’s a thing I’ve learned in my life it’s to not be afraid of the responsibility that comes with caring for other people. What we do for love: those things endure. Even if the people you do them for don’t.”“I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that’s true of beginnings, but it’s not true of this, now. I fell in love with him. But I don’t stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.” – Allegiant

“I know that I am birdlike, made narrow and small as if for taking flight, built straight-waisted and fragile. But when he touches me like he can’t bear to take his hand away, I don’t wish I was any different.” – Insurgent

“The worst thing is watching someone drown and not being able to convince them that they can save themselves just by standing up.”

Just some quotes.

Just another night, so here are some quotes.

  • You should not have to rip yourselves into pieces to keep others whole.
  • I promise these storms are only trying to wash you clean – Jessica Katoff
  • “I was the type of person, That held onto things too tight, Unable to release my grip, When it no longer felt right, And although it gave me blisters, And my fingers would all ache, I always thought that holding on, Was worth the pain it takes, I used to think in losing things, I’d lose part of me too, That slowly I’d become someone, My heart no longer knew, Then one day something happened, I dropped what I had once held dear, But my soul became much lighter, Instead of filled with fear, And it taught my heart that some things, Aren’t meant to last for long, They arrive to teach you lessons, And then continue on, You don’t have to cling to people, Who no longer make you smile, Or do something you’ve come to hate, If it isn’t worth your while, That sometimes the thing you’re fighting for, Isn’t worth the cost, And not everything you ever lose, Is bound to be a loss.” – e.h.
  • “Life is unpredictable, It changes with the seasons, Even your coldest winter, Happens for the best of reason, And though it feels eternal, Like all you’ll ever do is freeze, I promise spring is coming, And with it, brand new leaves.” – e.h.
  • She appears ever so peaceful, while showing no sign of falling apart. She could have fooled me, but I know she has a stitched up heart. – Brett I Beeman
  • “In my old town there was a girl, Who dropped seeds everywhere she went, While all the boys carved out their names, In any patch of wet cement, They’d laugh at her and tell her, She would never make a mark, If all she left behind her, Were some falling leaves and bark, So I wonder if they’ve been back, Since we grew and left the place, Or if they still all carry markers, In their pockets just in case, Because I’d love to see their faces, If I told them what I’ve seen, That the streets where we once played, Now drown beneath a sea of green, And their names scratched on the sidewalk, Weren’t as eternal as they’d planned, For in the place where they once wrote them, An endless forest proudly stands, Would they tell that girl they’re sorry, If they ever had the choice, For not knowing those worth hearing, Don’t always have the loudest voice? That in the future all the things we do, Will still have an effect, And that sometimes those who change the world, Are those you least expect.” – e.h.
  • “She smelled of books and stories, Of all the worlds she’d lived withing, As though the ink had left the pages, To find a new home in her skin, She didn’t quiet belong here, Lived a life within her head, Like she’d slipped out from the covers, Of a paperback instead, And you’d see it in her eyes, That they were deeper than a well, She was a whole library of stories, That we’d beg of her to tell, When she spoke the world would listen, To the adventures of her mind, For if there’s such a thing as magic, Then it was something she could find, And her heart had looked much further, Than her eyes had ever seen, She’d walked on words to places, Her two feet had never been, It’s years now since she moved, And we all failed to keep in touch, So her memory’s all faded, Like a book you’ve read too much, But if she hoped to leave us inkstained, She should know she did succeed, For ever now we are astill look for her, In ever book we ever read. – E.F.
  • He kissed her cheek, and then she knew, that you could become homesick for people too.
  • A long time ago, I learned not to explain things to people. It misleads them into thinking they’re entitled to know everything I do. – Lisa Kleypass, dreaming of you
  • We mature with the damage, not with the years.
  • If I never love anyone they way I’ve loved you, he said, it will be a relief. – Mia Hollow