This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through these links you are helping me keep The Homemaker's Cottage running with no added cost to you!
Last week I wrote a post on Why Homemakers Should be Handywomen. It was one of those posts that instead of writing it, posting it and forgetting about it; it stuck with me. It’s been on my mind for the last week or so.
It especially crossed my mind when my truck broke a few days after the post went live. The exhaust rusted out and fell clean off the truck. I was at a loss of what to do with it. With my only option being bring it to a shop and pay a few hundred dollars (which let’s admit, I don’t have) to get it fixed, I was stumped.
And then it hit me…why not do it myself? Exhausts aren’t super complicated, I didn’t have to go near the engine or front of the truck as it was only damaged in the back. So why not put my money where my mouth was and prove that I could do it. So I did.
I spent the last three days on a project I thought was going to take me maybe two hours. But honestly, I don’t regret it at all.
I started at the auto parts store and got what (I thought) I needed and went home and started working.
All the tools, parts and old parts that fell off that I needed.
Never would I have guessed that I have an impressive skill with a hacksaw but apparently I do.
I spent a few hours over two days going back and forth between the parts store and the house trying to figure out the right parts that I needed. I asked a few questions and next thing I knew I had a few guys from the auto parts store helping me out to widen a few spots and help me pick the right pieces.
Finally I replaced the parts I needed to and assembled a somewhat redneck tailpipe. While it’s not pretty, it works.
Sorry for the poor image quality, I snapped a quick picture while covered in mud!
The best part for me about all of this was that I did it all on my own and other than asking for wisdom from those who knew this better than I did I didn’t have help until it came time to install it and I needed more than one pair of hands!
While I will still have to replace the tailpipe in the spring, for now I have something that’s working great and didn’t cost me hundreds of dollars. I learned a new skill and I feel capable and intelligent.
To the woman who wants to learn…
To the woman who wants to learn but is afraid of what others will think….
To the woman who wants to learn but is afraid she isn’t smart or talented enough…
To the woman who wants to learn and doesn’t know where or how to start…
I want you to know this. I am you. With this project in particular, I felt there was a lot on the line. I didn’t know what I was doing, or even where to start. I didn’t have the right tools or a real space that wasn’t snow to work on this. I knew that fixing the truck myself with no experience was going to raise a lot of eyebrows. I felt that I was not smart enough to figure this out. I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t even know where to start.
But I started. I started by not caring what others thought. I started by choosing to learn about something I want to know more about. I started by Googling, YouTubing, and going to the parts store and asking questions.
Three days later, I now have a working understanding of exhaust systems, which I didn’t before. I have confidence that I didn’t before. And those raised eyebrows? Those turned into men who were impressed with the initiative I took. Instead of looking down on my like I feared, they stepped up to show me how to do what I wanted. I wasn’t belittled or made fun of for trying.
For all of the women who felt like I did, I understand. I spent all of my marriage purposefully staying in the dark on a number of topics because I felt if my husband couldn’t understand it then I shouldn’t either. After my marriage I still assumed it was a man’s place to do this, that I wasn’t capable.
Now, before we get assumptions here, I would like to point out that I still believe in gender stereotypes and the way God made us. But, for me, there is no option of turning to a man. The men I know lead busy lives and don’t have time to run their businesses and fix my truck for free. The church I have is small and men aren’t available to step up like they can in many places. I live in a rural area with not many resources; so unless I am dating or married to a man with these skills I am on my own. I would love to sit here and have a man climb under my truck in the freezing cold mud for me, but for me it’s not an option. And honestly, even if it was, I wouldn’t regret learning this skill.
So, for the woman who wants to learn; know this:
- It’s never to late to learn something new
- You don’t need anyone’s permission to learn something new
- You’re allowed to learn things that are typically for “men”
- You never know where life will take you next or if you’ll need these skills
- Trying new things is hard
- Sometimes you will fail
- But if you fail, you’re learning
One of my favorite Disney movies is Meet the Robinsons and one of the scenes is when the main character fails with his invention and the advice that comes with it.
(Side note: I highly recommend this movie. It’s hilarious, witty, heartfelt, and highly underrated.)
So, to the woman who wants to learn: let nothing stop you. But beware, whatever you learn might leave you more messy, brilliant and creative than you were before. Be courageous and keep moving forward.
Messy might be an understatement!