Working Knowledge

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.

Heathen

Black girl flexing muscles outdoors

I AM POWERFUL!

Yeah, I was. I had a best friend that was a male whom was 5 years older than me that I gave him a black eye because he taunted me after stealing my flip flop. I told him once. “Don’t steal my flip flop!” He laughed and I punched him as fast and hard as I could flailing my short self up to hit him in the face. He began screaming horrificly as he held his eye and hauled ass back towards my step-mothers house. I was messing about in the mud or something knowing he was going to get his some how before dinner was called.

Matthew, my best friend went to tell my step-mother what I did. She told him to go and hit me back. That was all the impetus he needed to bring him back just as fast on his skinny legs where I was at near the playset and he sucker punched me in the same fucking eye. We shared matching black eyes for weeks. My step-brother was 10 years older than me and mean. He thought he should make me “tougher” since I already played with boys older and sometimes bigger than me. So, he had these different things he’d try. One of them involved how long could I keep this stuff called “snuff” in my mouth before spitting it out.

His friends would teach me a lesson when I tried playing catch with them and purposely aim for my stomach. I think at times he was mentally challenged or his testestorone just got in the way of his brain working properly. He tried to be funny and teach me to shoot his  double barrelled shot gun by telling me to keep the butt of the gun slightly away from my shoulder and pull both triggers. The thing almost knocked me down and I got mad and jammed his shotgun barrels first into the dirt and left it sitting there.

Being a girl while trying to get by in a boy world wasn’t easy. It was really fun and tough and I know I learned so much more than if I just hanged out with girls. I eventually did move to neighborhoods where it was mostly females and it was hard on me as I was always the one playing in the woods and just being off the chain whenever I could. The girls thought I was way too rough and mean to play with them most of the time. I still own more weapons than shoes to this day and I know how to proficiently use all said weapons. I have no problem with my femininity but I know that I’m always going to be that heathen, tom boy, warrior that you better watch your back around and if you’re my friend, I’ve got your back!