Working Knowledge: Knowledge and not doing are equal to not knowing at all. ( I found this printed on a ubiquitous fortune cookie wrapper. )
I know that this adage seems as common as a fortune cookie, but it fell into my hands at an appropriate time in my life. I’ve been told by people before especially when I was younger because I was much thinner then, that I was “pretty”. And, many times I’ve been told, “you’re smart or intelligent”. I’m not easily flattered either by any means. In fact, I felt it was meaningless or insincere. I felt uneasy about others saying I was pretty because to me, I just felt this ceaseless pressure throughout my life growing up to live up to some perceived ideal of what it meant to be “feminine.”
Femininity was a tough concept for me to grasp, especially other’s perceived concepts of it as I had a feminine body since my early development, yet I was the type that liked to play in the woods and ride my bike all day. Then, the media had it’s own take on what it meant to be feminine in society as well. I decided at some point, I had to draw a line in the sand of what to make of all this in my own head. I mean, I’m supposedly smart, so am I going to listen to someone’s opinion I don’t even care about make me decide on what makes me feminine or not?
I admittedly went on a personal “strike” against what society deemed a woman should do to be “feminine.” For an entire year, I didn’t shave my body parts, or wear makeup and I did my best to buy the minimal in hygienic products. I honestly did get tired of how furry my legs became, but I felt no less of a “woman.” I feel like just like for women, men also fall into that consumer trap set by corporations and society. That men are to look a certain way in general and women are to also fill a mold.
So, I’m 38 now and finally coming to a semblance of coming to terms of things. You know, I remember the pretty girls I went to school with, were sought after throughout our academic career. When, I was a little girl, I was jealous of them. They were the polar opposites of me, though. The boys that flirted with them, were the same ones that I kicked their asses. I hung out with the “rejected” girls at that time.
To me, the definition of “working knowledge” is like sage advice. To listen to that inner voice from within yourself before anyone else. I’ve been “pretty” in my own special way just like all of us can be. And, “yes” I know I have a above average I.Q. and I also know I’m more than that intellectual quotient number too. What’s more important is, all that I have left to learn. I don’t want to feel like I’ve already learned what I need to know. I want to feel like it’s okay to still be learning and still not feel like you’ll ever “know” it all. To take everything you’ve collectively learned throughout your life and turn that knowledge into a working knowledge.