By Kaila A. Notto

Hello my dear friends
I welcome you kindly
This poem was written
So you don’t come here blindly

Who is this chick?”
“That posts photos with tools?

She talks mental health?”
“She must think we’re all fools!


Who is she kidding?”
“That girl’s never seen”
“The grease in a mill”
“She’s always been clean”


Sir, I must warn you
It’s a preconception
Keep talking that shit
I’ll use words as my weapon

It does not really matter
If I wear my makeup
When I do a pump rebuild
I don’t fuck that shit up

I scribe with my tools
Markings so that I know
Which impeller goes where
Which my measurements show

Gently turn that thumb piece
On my 0-1” micrometer
But turn that thing too tight
You’ll hear my mentor holler

You’ve messed up there, chicky!”
“You’re off by three thou!”
“Be gentle next time”
“Here, I’ll show you how…”


That’s how I learned
Through my apprenticeship
From the guys with the patience
Yes, some thought I was thick

Surely, I’m not stupid
My skills reflect this
My long-retired mentors
Are the ones that I miss

They hold all the knowledge
That they transferred to me
In my fixing things now
Their past knowledge is key

They worked there for years
In the mill I’m at now
They offered me tricks
So that I would know how

How to fix the equipment
When things go awry
Steel manufacturing’s complex
And it’s no surprise why

We are like a network
Of both human and machine
We put it together
And work well as a team

Pumps and gearboxes
Cylinders and motors
I stood real far back
Till someone said “I’ll show her!’

I’ve been on the shop floor
I do know how to weld
I can fab up some parts
Though I’m sometimes withheld

Withheld by the ones
Who worry the most
“The small girl with the grinder”
“If that hits her, she’s toast!”


I did feel the bite
Of the grinding disk one day
It pulled my glove in
But I was okay

They were sizes too big
And I learned a big lesson
Wear PPE that fits
And the hazards will lessen

It took me some time
To gain my confidence
But it was all my mentors
They just wouldn’t quit

They still teach me things
To this very day
Each morning for work
Is another school day

I look girly and sweet
I like makeup and clothes
But when I’m at work
I’m just one of the bros

I sweat and I swear
I put in my time
Some are aggressive as can be
Though most days I’m fine

I worked my ass off
Like the rest of them
When shit hits the fan
I just do the best I can

It can be real hard
There are days I suffer
My mental health issues
But I’m like no other

Name one person you know
Who is totally okay
With the way the world works
Go on…I will wait

Anxiety and depression
PTSD too
But I won’t let it kill me
But tell me, will you?

The toughest person
That I must overcome
Is my own damn self
And the things I’d become

I was fearful and shy
I could not express myself
In words or to others
So it’s suffering I felt

I look so damn average
I’m living the life
And nobody around me
Knew my inner-strife

I went to work smiling
I’ll lie to you, too
Because mental health sufferers
Think help’s just a ruse

Just a ruse to remove me
From your experience
“Who wants me around?”
“When I’m this negative?”


They’d be happier if”
“I’d just go on and die”

But I’m here to tell you
The statement’s a lie

It’s made up by our minds
Perhaps you’re suffering, too
The best thing I can offer
Is to listen to you

Like you’re listening to me
As I create this rhyme
You may benefit from therapy
Now’s surely the time

The first step’s to reach out
To someone you trust
And to illuminate
That your mind’s got some rust

As a skilled mechanic
I will wire wheel that
I’ll open up your head
Like your skull were a cap

I’ll take my do-all
Metaphorically, mind you
And scrub your mind clean
It is all I can do

To offer experience
With these shitty things
Like feeling inadequate
And what mental health brings

Some days are so clear
They send my heart a flutter
But some days the pain’s thick
You could cut through it like butter

It’s not linear
Both the healing and growth
But when my mom died
Was the day that I broke

I promised her then
That I’d figure it out
Now I’m thriving, hurrah!
So I’ll now help you out

Whether you are in trades
Or looking for help
Dealing with mental health
I’m all for the self

I was green at one time
When I entered the trades
Now I’m planning mechanical work
With career accolades

Like a raise and a bonus
Each yearly review
We go over my progress
I do it for you

I was told way back when
She’ll never be a millwright
And those words right there
Made me put up a fight

Suicide almost got me
It tried to take me down
Each new fear arising
I look to like a clown

“Ha-ha!” I will say
In the face of each fear
Because each challenge I overcome
Brings me this much more near

Closer to that success
That I once dreamed about
Some people still believe
That my head’s in the clouds

Because I read tarot
They think I am dumb
But it offers true guidance
Now who’s the dumb one?

I listen to energy
Life is a façade
We are more than our bodies
Each of us a god

We are but here living
For only a short time
I try to cram it all here
Into one silly rhyme

It will not suffice, no
I’ll do better than that
But with each piece I write
I put on a new hat

A tradesman, a mother
A witch and friend, too
A wife and a confidante
And clairvoyant, too

I don’t care which one label
You choose for my head
It won’t matter at all
When one day I’m dead

I hope to grow old
To watch my kids grow
But the truth of the matter
Is that we don’t really know

We don’t know when is
Our last sunrise or breath
And realizing this
Has not left me bereft

I use my time wisely
To write things for you
Because when that day comes
I don’t want no “boo-hoo!”

I want you to celebrate
The fact that I won
The battle inside me
The demons that I shunned

If I had have listened
To the ones who all said
You’ll never make it, girl!
I’d be stuck in my head

I’d be failing at life now
And I’d probably be gone
It took much bravery
To realize they were all wrong

When your mind starts to wander
And you suddenly realize
That the hard days will come
With more difficult times

I hope I can offer
Some solace and peace
So you can move through life
With some sort of ease

Of course there are people
Who resist what I say
I don’t write this for them
At the end of the day

Those who are small minded
Will never get far
They’re watching me now
As I raise up the bar

I keep climbing the ladder
Making real good bank, too
I bought my dream house
While there are still the few

Who keep on complaining
How did she get that job?
It’s cause she’s a woman
And knows how to hob-knob

Oh, how we’re perceived
In such a dainty package
I can handle my tools
I’ll make all sorts of racket

I’ve changed my share of motors
Used some come-alongs
And chain-falls and more
Singing old tradesman songs

I’m making the noise now
About a few different things
And if my voice were nicer
These things I would sing

I write things to vent
It’s kind of therapy
It feels good to know that
Other people can now see

The mind that’s behind
All the strange new selfies
And I hope that it adds
Depth and complexity

I’ll be reading this out
On my new YouTube channel
 It’s comforting to do
It’s a whole different animal

To personalize my writing
By reading it aloud
You can hear from this girl
How my voice really sounds

I joined IGTV
To perform divination
It lets me connect
To the spiritual nation

I’ve started off slow
With weekly tarot vids
I don’t ever filter spirit
This shit’s not for kids

It’s for those who will want
To progress quickly in life
To understand all the pain
And the hurt and the strife

We’re quarantined still
As I write this here poem
So I reach out to you
Till all of this blows over

Don’t worry about those
Who think that you’re not smart
I’ve made dissolving preconceptions
Almost my own art

Thank you once again
For your constant support
If you have reached the end
You have been a good sport

Copyright © The Mindful Millwright 2020. All Rights Reserved.



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