About a week ago I stepped on my laptop that was apparently just an inch too shy of being under the protection of our couch. I opened up the screen while cursing under my breath. Blurred brightness coupled with a few dark cracks.
“Well this sucks.” I thought. But I brushed it off as something to be dealt with later, something to attend to when I had the time and focus to fix it.
Fast forward a week. A new screen had arrived, and I was getting slightly frustrated by my reliance on the library and my roommates’ devices. Past attempts to fix the screen had proved fruitless due to two very poorly placed screws (who puts a screw inside a 45 degree angle?). I succumbed to the possibility that maybe this wasn’t one of those “do it yourself” scenarios, and went down to the local tech repair shop to inquire about cost.
“Our manager’s not here to be sure, but we charge $75/hour for labor and don’t accept parts we don’t order.”
Okay, maybe this was something I could do myself.
I could do this because other humans could do this. Because I had the resources of the internet and people who knew more about computer hardware than I did. Because this was a chance to learn, just as I had learnt in the past how to make pierogi, walk in heels, take a penalty kick and build a rock staircase.
I admit that thinking I can do anything myself is sometimes a hindrance. I am slowly learning that there are times when we need to let other people do things for us. But still, we can try to learn and attempt to do almost anything.
Until recently, I never thought of this attitude as a defiance of gender stereotypes. In fact, I still don’t, but I recognize that some people do. In my mind I am just trying to spend my time doing things I think are meaningful/fun/necessary/etc.
I realize that every stage up my life has been filled with incredibly supportive people and many opportunities. During those awkward preteen years when I wanted to learn how to work a power drill, I was happily shown how. And when I didn’t want to go dress shopping, I didn’t have to (even though my mom was displeased). When I sat outside in camo trying to feed birds like chickadees and nuthatches from hand, I was only met with hushed laughter.
It is not a case of trying to prove a point; unless the point is we can all do so much more than we think we are capable of. And we will be better off from it.
I have learned that putting on a dress and heels to eat at that fancy restaurant is fun. That learning how to fix a hole in drywall is helpful. That throwing aside insecurities and joining a modern dance class can be more rewarding than I had imagined. That every little thing you learn how to do enriches your life and compels you to do more.
And yes, I fixed the screen.