Empowering Me Doesn’t Emasculate You

I hurt someone’s feelings. Yep. I did it. Just stomped all over them, and the thing is: I don’t care.

You probably want a little more than that, I suppose. A few questionable sentences that end with an “XXOO, Beth” isn’t going to cut it. It could though, right? I mean, you could actually accept that I hurt someone’s feelings, and that you finally got that pass to quickly exit from my site without meandering through one of my tales. It is not your lucky day, my friend.

As you probably guessed from the above feet dragging, I’m having a tough time deciding how to start. Flashbacks may be in order.

Ok, let me just take a stab at it. I’ll start with the actual incident.

Yesterday I moved four boxes from one spot to another. Nothing particularly impressive – just boxes that weighed approximately 30 lbs each. Not heavy – more cumbersome. You see, it’s actually my job to move boxes. I’m the box mover. Boxes come in. I get a note. I sign a thing claiming I’m now in possession of said boxes, and I take them away. Done.  It may not be my favorite task, but I’m reasonably competent at this task. Box moving is in my wheelhouse of skills these days.

I also happen to have been born with both a fairly functional brain, vocal chords, and decent synaptic relays that allow said brain to send signals to said vocal chords, as well as other things like my lungs, diaphragm, etc. They in turn perform this beautifully choreographed dance thus allowing me to communicate with other human beings. Call it a genetic legacy. Maybe it’s Jungian on some level. Blame my family tree. Whatever you need. That ability allows me to express a need for help should one arise. For example, I could say, “hey, this is kind of heavy, would you mind helping me move it?”

I start unloading the first box, and the next thing you know I have guys in my cart trying to help. That’s nice. Thanks. “I don’t need your help.” I said that. “I’m good, thanks. I can get this.” But no, they had to help me, and that’s fine. That’s nice. How about you ask me if I need help? That would have also been nice.

You see, I’m really not that dainty. In fact, I was on Day 2 of looking like I just got pulled away from a poker game in the back of some un-air conditioned warehouse. (I blame bad hair, and not the fact that anyone who saw me walking down the street would suspect my name was Marge and that I smoked a copious amount of cigars. No offense to the stogie smoking Marges of the world.)

And that’s when I snapped – right on the heels of their not quite sincere sorries.  The kind of sorry that is really, “I’m sorry you’re mad at me” versus, “I’m sorry I did something that is clearly irritating you.” I bristled, “I didn’t ASK for your help. I’ve got this. I can do it. Next time let ME do it.” (I’m not always the most adorable person to be around.) That’s how I upset someone, and they walked away.

FLASHBACK (as promised): The day before I moved 640 lbs. of items from one building to another and literally up a small hill. There were slightly (aka a ton) more than four boxes. Midway through, another woman saw I was doing this, and started alerting all the men that “Beth needs help!!” I didn’t. I had it. It’s my job. As I kept working while that show carried on down the hallway, she looked back and announced, “Beth is continuing to work!!” I was, because it had to get done. Three guys swarmed, emptied the rest of the cart of it’s four remaining boxes.  That was nice. I only had another cartful to load and unload, but ok you guys get back to what you were doing. You did your good deed!

Four boxes was nothing. He had no idea that the previous day I’d moved so much more.

FLASHBACK (just a bit further): I needed to move a box of copier paper from one room to another. “Can I help?” “Yes, can you get the doors?” “Do you want me to carry that for you?” “No.” “You’re emasculating me by not letting me carry that.” REALLY???

Here’s the thing.

I work out so I can do this; I used to not be very strong. I’m technically still not strong, but I’m stronger than I was. Doing these tasks makes me feel capable. Doing these tasks after blowing my ACL makes me feel incredible. They make me feel strong. I get to say: I moved a box of copier paper down a hall and through two rooms. I loaded, unloaded and moved 640 lbs. of items up a hill. Oh, and I moved these ridiculously small boxes. I didn’t need a “guy” to help me. LET ME DO IT. I will ask if I need help. And it’s ok for you to ask me if I need help, but when I say no, walk away and be ok with that.

Empowering me doesn’t emasculate you.

8 thoughts on “Empowering Me Doesn’t Emasculate You

  1. Irina says:

    Boys are delicate creatures Beth.

  2. toreetotz says:

    Poking the tiger, take one. My son’s would never walk past a woman lifting heavy thing and not stop to help. Not because you are or appear weak but because they love their totally awesome mom. They were raised to treat women like they would want their mother to be treated. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t be annoyed, I’m just saying maybe don’t neuter them? If you said “suck it” half way through, that’s cool too. Love, Tater of the Totz

    • Beth says:

      Oh sure, poke the tiger! I see how you are. In this case, I said: I’m good, I don’t need help. That’s when I want a response like a Shepherd with a ball, as if I’d said, “drop it.” I want the box down, them to sit on their haunches, and wait attentively – hopeful I might throw the box. Also, having another woman running up and down the hall like some spastic town crier declaring, “Beth needs help! Beth needs help!” (when I didn’t) while also trying to simultaneously light a lantern at the North Church was silly AND the results of her battle cry were that of the 30+ boxes I moved onto a cart, moved up a hill, and unloaded – they only unloaded 4, then they ran off. Loading 30+, shoving them around, and then unloading 30+ would have earned more praise instead of, “you’re now just in my way.” See, I think your boys would ask, “are you sure?” if I protested that I got it. Also, whining “your emasculating me” … you might as well have said, “Beth, come up with more ways to do so.”

  3. Got such a laugh out of your last sentence in reply to torrentotz.
    They are such fragile things. We have arms and muscles and not all of us are interested in letting you think you are impressing us…(especially when you aren’t working smart and will eventually end up hurting yourselves while us smaller creatures think, figure out how to do things without killing ourselves, and accomplish the same thing…)
    You all ways make me smile!

    • Beth says:

      Your last sentence was a huge compliment! Thank you!!!

      And completely agree – I was working smarter, and was actually thinking about my trainer standing next to me when I did dead lifts “pull it to your shins, tuck your hips down, now drive up with your legs, and stand up straight! Don’t reach for it way out there, you’ll hurt your back.” I thought of it as a way to work on form using lighter weights than what a standard bar weighs without adding weights to it.

      As for the guy who protested I was emasculating him, bless his heart, he doesn’t know what’s coming. 🙂 (Me either, actually, but I’m plotting!!)

      Happy Monday, Mouse!

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