Moving out of your old, comfortable box into the big unknown is never easy. And, in my experience, it usually involves doing at least one thing you’d least like to do. You know, that thing you totally resist doing.
What You Resist Persists
There’s a universal law that states, ‘What you resist persists’. This couldn’t be more obvious than in my own life. I’ve had so much experience in the resistance department I could fill volumes on the subject. What I have learned, time and time again, is that if I can break through my resistance towards something, I always take a big leap forward in my growth. Take my most recent breakthrough around my long-standing grudge against typing, for instance.
Back in the eighth grade, I lasted all of 30 minutes into my first class. Twenty agonizing minutes of tapping out f,f,f,f… j,j,j,j… f,f,f,f… j,j,j,j later… and I was sitting in the guidance counselor’s office explaining why I had absolutely zero need for typing skills.
My Children Teased me Relentlessly
It sounds pretty dumb – to hold out against typing – especially after email and texting became the communication norm, but there it was. My aversion was so strong I didn’t even want to look at it. I’d just say, ‘I don’t type’ and work around it, rather than actually bother to change.
I wrote books in journals in longhand, laboriously hunted and pecked my way through grad school papers and resisted getting a smart phone until the summer of 2015. My children teased me relentlessly about my lack of tech savvy, but no amount of ribbing could get me to shift my stance against typing.
But then a couple of months ago, someone made a comment that I took as an attack upon my femininity. Delving deeply into that hurt, I dredged up dozens of pockets of pain around feeling less-than as a female.
Who Made Up the Rules?
I remembered being excluded by groups of boys when I was trying to join the neighborhood game. Why were there were certain things I was allowed to do and other things I wasn’t? Who made up the stupid rules about boys and girls, anyway? I wanted to be able to do anything that interested me.
One memory stood out. When I was 7 or 8; I had waded up the creek toward the local fishing spot where the boys and men were fishing underneath a bridge. As I rounded the bend, the men yelled at me to get the hell out of the creek, I was scaring off the fish.
Intrigued, I climbed out of the water and asked if I could fish with them. The men started laughing, and one said, ‘Girls can’t fish’. I bristled with indignation, thinking ‘Why in the world not?’, when the younger boys began taunting me with insults, ‘Stupid girl! Girls can’t fish. Go home.’ I turned and ran, tears stinging my eyes as I fled in humiliation.
Societal Limitations Didn’t Make Sense to me
Societal limitations about what girls could or couldn’t do didn’t make any sense to me. Thankfully, I’d grown up with a mother who could do everything, including gut the fish my brothers didn’t want to clean.
My mom cooked like a gourmet chef, decorated cakes and played basketball. She coached sports, gardened with a green thumb, shot pool like a pro and held large dinner parties dressed to the nines. There are images of her in my mind with bruised knees and black smears under her eyes from playing football…
And, by the time I was a teen, she was a successful business owner. Her restaurant was so good there was a line of people down the block every weekend.
I’d Defined Typing as a Put-down
So when I suddenly recalled that first typing class – with both teacher and guidance counselor suggesting in condescending tones that I might want to be a secretary when I grew up – it is no surprise to me now that I became incensed. In that moment, I’d defined typing as a put-down. It became a symbol to me of something women who were pressured to conform resigned themselves to – a symbol of admission that I was somehow less than who I knew I could be. From that moment on, I had despised the idea of learning to type.
The moment this awareness hit me I began to laugh at how absurd that idea was now in today’s cyber world. I flooded my younger self with compassion for all the times I’d heard, ‘Girls can’t blah blah blah’.
The Truth is that I Can Learn How to do Anything I Want to do
Then I let go of loads of B.S. around this typing block: The idea that learning how to type was demeaning. The idea that being a secretary is automatically settling as ‘less-than’. The idea that some other person’s opinions have the power to define me. And the idea that my femininity has ever made me weak, bad, stupid, wrong, or incapable in any way.
Once again I claimed my equality. Because the truth is that I can learn how to do anything I want to do. Both girls and boys can type, fish, cook and play baseball. Both men and women can be a secretary or a CEO. I can do and be whatever I choose to do or be.
The Very Thing that Helps Liberate You
Right now I’m finally breaking through this obstacle. I’m 20 lessons into a simple on-line typing course, and it feels amazing. I’m super-excited to finally being able to let go of decades of againstness. Very soon I’ll say goodbye to hunting and pecking forever, woohoo!
Isn’t it funny how resistance works? Whatever you’ve been resisting will persist until you’re ready to bust out of that comfort zone and grow. Then that thing that seemed so hateful will be the very thing that helps liberate you.
Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom,