One Day

I was sitting at my desk
Thinking about my career.

Social media had impacted me
Sending me down a winding road.

Thinking of thoughts that had resurfaced
Thinking of new ones that just came up.

When I first became a millwright apprentice
There were some things a man said to me:

“Women don’t belong in here,” or
“I’d never let my wife/daughter do this.”

Excuse me, person I don’t fucking know
Did I ask you for your opinion? No.

Would you like another helping?
Of misogyny with your coffee?

“If you think you’re so tough, here,”
Let’s see you do a man’s work, then.”

I literally refused to speak with them
If they continued this language with me.

They would get offended, it was noticeable
But then the guys would stand up for me.

“Bro, it’s because you’re being a dick,”
“There ain’t nothing wrong with her.”

Those men are the reason I kept going
They helped me out so very much.

Because I refused to bring myself down
To the level that they stood on.

I know the power
That ally ship holds.

Obviously I’m a small fucking female
Small guys get harassed just the same.

Some guys don’t enter skilled trades
They feel they’re not cut out, physically.

I did indeed choose my trade blindly
I just wanted out of public relations.

I didn’t know how to do math
Or what a fastener was.

Picking the trade “millwright” from Google
I applied to Mohawk College to be a millwright.

To me, learning math was the best option
If it meant no more customer service…lol.

I hated math all my goddamn life
That’s how bad the service industry is.

At least from my experience
God, I’m still scarred from that.

Ten years after I Googled my career
I now work as a mechanical planner.

This particular role is offered to journeyman
Who are proficient with equipment in the mill.

The ones who know how to do the maintenance
Inside and out; from parts and vendors to labor.

My career is entirely shaped by mentors
Who were willing to teach a small girl.

The ones who stood up for me
Are still lifelong friends of mine.

I order parts and organize several skilled trades
Whereas before I knew nothing of this world.

You can do whatever you want in life
I am here to make sure you know.

Whether it’s at work or at home
There is room for all of us.

My self perception and self-esteem
Took me twenty-five years to resolve.

Too many sad, depressed years
Wasted during my youth.

Too much wasted energy
On undeserving people.

I deserved all that good energy
I deserved the love I freely offered.

It was never reciprocated
Until I worked on myself first.

I don’t want you to waste time
I want you to have an advantage.

Our modern struggles reminded me
That I still have work to do yet.

Year after year I keep going
Despite the occasional remark.

These days, almost decade later
The culture has indeed progressed.

Both globally and at work
We are seeing monumental change.

Rapid, steady movement forward
Because we simply refuse to give up.

I sought out the unique ones
Who accepted that I was different.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with them
They taught me how to be a tradesman.

What can I do in my workplace?
To help the next minority out?

Another female mechanic, perhaps?
Or a POC that is rarely encountered?

I work in a predominantly male setting
With predominantly white men coworkers.

This was the biggest challenge
All 5’5 110lbs of me had to overcome.

There are still prehistoric thinkers
There are still misogynistic and racial slurs.

I combat them right there at the source
Every time they spew out of someone.

“You know that’s racist, right?”
“You really shouldn’t say shit like that.”

I do not accept microaggressions
No matter how “micro” they are.

“Fuck you and your bullshit!”
There’s no room for that here.

There’s no room for that here
In the consciously aware future.

We are tired of all the labels
We are tired of the divisiveness.

We have meditated
We have prayed.

We have kneeled
We have rioted.

When will you see?
Your time is up.

When will you see?
Politics are over.

When will you see?
We are all human beings.

It doesn’t matter where you work
Or what job it is that you do.

It matters how you treat other humans
In the environments you find yourself in.

It starts with the guys at work
It starts with ally ship between us.

Here we come
We have just begun.

We are changing
We ARE the change.

 Welcome, my new friend
Are you a minority, too?

Allow me to hold the door
While escorting you inside.

We have arrived at the future
Everyone is welcome here.

One day
One day.

Kaila A. Notto

Copyright © The Mindful Millwright 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Published by The Mindful Millwright

Kaila A. Notto

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