Just a Woman with a Shovel

I was working on a service project yesterday with the singles group I have recently adopted as my new social circle (to which I am ecstatically happy about).  We were doing landscape work (you know laymen’s pulling weeds, trimming bushes, and digging out unwanted plants).  Yes I am sore and yes it was great refreshing work on an occasionally misting BRIGHT Overcast Oregon Day.  I even shed a couple of layers as the day progressed and I do not have a sniffle from working in the rain, so the weather must have been alright. 

My Tool of Choice on Saturday

As I was digging out the root systems of a plant that I know not the name of, I stumbled across an interestingly little attitude.  I am surrounded by men and women, single and married, young and old.  I am realizing the shovel I am using is not going to get all of the root system out and if I put too much strain on it the shovel might break.  Since it isn’t my shovel I thought I should be more careful OR I’m gonna end up buying someone a shovel. 🙂  So I start to think about how can I get this particular bush dug out since the tool I have isn’t going to cut it. 

One of the youngins (say 12 – 15 I THINK) had this pick axe type thingy so when I realized that my shovel wasn’t going to cut it, I called him over and asked for his assistance.  I didn’t know his name and I wasn’t even sure if he was ALL that thrilled about being here to help.  You know that typical teenage facial expression they have, when they just seem irritated at everything and everyone-kind of face?  Well I pretend I don’t see it and ask for help.  He graciously does what I ask and we were able to tackle 3 bushes that way.  I dig, he breaks the deep thick roots.  It was working amazingly effortlessly. 

Not to mention that I felt completely comfortable telling him where the root was that needed hacking.  He saw a few himself and I just dug around it, it seemed like quite the partnership.  I wasn’t insecure or worried or concerned about the words I was saying or HOW I was saying them.  It just worked and we got things done. 

Then there was this question… Why do I feel more comfortable asking a youth person for help with something than I do asking a man for help?  Now this wasn’t just some random fleeting thought that was making an appearance with no foundation in reality.  This received a definite head nod from the judges.  IT WAS TRUE!!! Even on that very day when I was working on this project if I would run into a snag or situation where I would need help, my mind would INSTANTLY reject the idea of asking another guy, man, dude in the group for help. 

So why is that?  Where does that come from?  Am I that much of a feminist that asking for a man’s help would result in betraying all womankind’s achievements in independence?  Or is it meerly that I refuse to swallow my pride and ask a man for help? 

When I spent the next dozen hours or so analyzing this newly realized attitude of mine, I came up with a few things I THINK might possibly be the reason:  1) I want to do things a certain way.  Yes there are times I am a control freak, but other times I think that if I ask for help I won’t get to continue along the method and process I am following.  2) I won’t get credit for the work I DID DO.  Not that there is this GIANT score card out there keeping track of what I have accomplished, but there are times where I want to prove my usefulness.  I want to do my part, make a contribution, and having been a valuable ADDITION to the current group of people.  And if a man does it for me than why am I there? 

FINALLY, and this one I think is the one that rings most true.  I DON’T want them to take it over.  I guess in my previous experience a lot of the men in my life have not been good at JUST HELPING.  So when asked for assistance on one particular portion or area, it is interpreted as DO THIS FOR ME instead.  As a result, I lose my ideas, feel ignored, think I am not needed, and can not say with pride and confidence LOOK AT WHAT I DID. 

And yes for this woman I NEED to be listened to, have my ideas validated, feel NEEDED, have pride and CONFIDENCE that I DID SOMETHING-no  matter how small.

Curious side note:  Less than 1 hour later, I was working on another project with a guy and I asked him to cut the area I was working in (since he had the saw) and over the course of 5 minutes proceeded to ignore every suggestion I made.  Not only cut in a completely different area, but didn’t cut the branches that allowed me to pull them out of his way so he could continue cutting.  At one point I do believe I made a mental *throws hands in the air in disgust* and mumbled, “… or not.”  At which point someone asked for his help on some other project.  Ahhh interpersonal relationships, gotta love em.

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