Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hammers are not my friend



I got some great conversation about my last post on Facebook. That link and a question I asked about female leadership in church got about 40 comments each and the discussion was civil, helpful, and full of all kinds of people in many walks of life. I love it! And I love my friends. In a completely unrelated Facebook comment thread, a friend asked if anyone had videos of themselves doing throws. I had completely forgotten that this was out there, but my friend Chuck taped me learning a new throw from a kuntaw practitioner we met last year. Fun! And...awkward. Haha. I should show this video to the people who only see my finished product.

I walked away from both virtual conversations feeling really good. I still don't know what, if anything, I'll be doing about getting more women in class. My friend Shang who trains in and teaches Wing Chun in Los Angeles put it well--what do I want? Do I want to actively bring in people who don't necessarily want to learn or do I want to teach what I teach in a healthy (and continually evolving) manner and accept who comes in my doors? It's probably a little of both. I'd like to make my environment one that is friendly to anyone who walks in but I also don't want to water down or only preach to a certain population, so to speak. So, no easy answers.

Another aikido teacher in town said his classes are about 40% female. After some discussion, it's likely helped by the fact that one of their main instructors is a woman and his daughter is a student. So the class was seeded, in a sense. It's like the time Mike started going to certain group fitness classes. He was the only guy. But then they started popping in and staying. He broke the "only women do that" barrier and now the classes are, while still overwhelmingly female, becoming a little more diverse.

His school is also in a part of town with many more young people and it is a well known more liberal part of town, if there's such a thing. So, there's a little more openness to aikido and, possibly, a lessening of some social barriers. I made the observation that, in contrast, our main campus is in a part of town that is wealthy and heavily conservative in terms of both politics and religion. I think it's possible that many of the women in our school's area are protected, not protectors. Either by choice or by habit. Like we talked about earlier in the week.

Anyway, something else funny happened on Facebook. A friend wrote about wanting to change her bike tire. One of her friends, a person I don't know, went on and on about how men NEED to feel manly. Emphasis hers. And that she likes to tell her husband how she likes all the masculine things he does and would he please fix this sink.

Of course, I laughed and laughed. Mike and I are pretty even on house chores. Although I am home more and do the bulk of the cleaning, Mike does laundry and the yard. I kill bugs and hang pictures. He's a lot stronger than I am so, today, we had to adjust Autumn's bike and we did it together. I held it and he did all the joint and bolt turning. Mike has no patience for this kind of thing, so once we finished with Autumn's bike, I changed my bike tire tube. Autumn and I took a ride and I realized my brake pad was rubbing so I took it apart and put it back together. Easy peasy, no men need to feel like men angst (incidentally, it must be exhausting to live with someone who needs constant reassuring that he is not, in fact, a woman).

Here's where is all went wrong. We need to organize the garage. I decided to take this one corner where we have all of our yard implements propped in a very spider webby corner. I put on my gloves, decided to go cheap and use nails to hang up each item, and went to work. It was a disaster. For some reason, I just didn't have enough brute force to break through the wall so I ended up holding the nail with a needle nose plier while I slammed the hammer down. Once, I accidentally hit the nail too far in because once it made it through whatever was so hard, the nail would sink right down. So, in my attempt to pry the nail out, I did something and then this happened:

Noooooo. I tossed my hammer aside, sat down to weep, and decided this might be the universe's sign that I am denying my true nature and I need to sit back and be the little woman God intended me to be and stay away from those big, bad nails.

Yeah, no. It's great for the ladies (or gentlemen) who hate fixing things and hammering to have a spouse or family member or good friend who likes to do things like this so they don't have to. Heaven knows I've never mowed a yard and never plan to--DON'T JUDGE ME. But...this was, like, a CHALLENGE and that wall WAS GOING DOWN. I totally finished and it looks awesome.

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