I grew up in a farm town where the women shelled the beans around the kitchen table, planted the roses, and displayed the utmost class and decorum at all times. My family farmed corn, hay, and pine trees. While my sister and female cousins learned to cook like champions, I learned to haul hay and dig ditches, always kept at arms length by both the men and the women. I was never pretty or still enough for the women though still a “girl”, making me not quite cut out enough for the jobs I wanted to do for the men to actually teach me. I was an incessant pest, trying to teach myself to work on vehicles, tie a proper load, drive the bushhog and till the field by following the men around and absorbing what I could from watching. I never knew how frustrating it was for both the men and women in my life who couldn’t quite put a finger on what my deal was until I was older. I was perfectly content to do the easy jobs I was given, like riding down a gravel road in the back of a truck thinking I being a big help watching whether or not anything fell out. I’m still happy to wander the woods alone looking for something to hunt or doing heavy labor without help or instruction. The difference is that now when I grab a drill or go to throw a bail of hay on the back of a trailer I feel the air of resentment around me and the eyes that dart around questioning whether or not I am or should be capable of doing what I do.

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