It is the middle of summer here in New Zealand and we have had some warm dry weather in this part of the country recently. Perfect for finally getting on with a painting job I had been postponing for over 15 months. My carport ceiling had been plastered, but not painted and the advice from the builder was to put a layer of paint on it to make sure it didn’t absorb any moisture. I had been reluctant to start the job because it required me to use a paint roller against gravity while balancing up on a ladder; no mean feat as you would know if you have ever attempted that sort of a thing. I started the job last Sunday, stopping every 5 minutes or so to rest. During one of these rest breaks I text a friend of mine who had helped me choose the paint and told him I was already tired and that the job was going to take me forever. He text back to say he would help me with putting the top coat on when he had time. I was surprised because it was not often that someone would offer to help me with one of my many jobs around the house. When I told him so, he said he offered because I had spunk to attempt to do the job myself when I was only 4 foot 11 inches tall..My reply back to him was:
“the only limits that exist are those that we put upon ourselves”……
The way I see it, when it comes to jobs like the painting, which lie on the margins of my comfort zone; I have a choice to either attempt it myself or pay someone else to do it. As there are already quite a few jobs that need doing around the property which are completely outside of my capability, waiting for when I can find someone to do it for me at a reasonable price, I am reluctant to add to that list. So the truth was I have no option but to give it a go myself.
That evening, I told another friend of mine about the painting and her question was “isn’t there anyone who could do it for you?”. The short answer is there really isn’t. My father helps out with jobs when he can, but as he is getting on in his years I find myself asking less and less of him. Asking him also means we have to do it his way. I can be real stubborn when it comes to how I want things done around my own home. It is far easier to get on with the job myself instead of engaging in endless arguments about how best to do it and most annoyingly, being told it couldn’t be done. It is like waving a red flag at the bull to tell me something cannot be done. I will persevere until I find a way to make it happen. In the past, these encounters usually end with us not talking to each other for a few days and that is why I now try to do jobs like this myself.
I was brought up to believe there were some jobs that women simply did not do. You waited for a man to do it for you. Climbing ladders, painting houses, washing cars, changing light bulbs, mowing lawns, heavy lifting and so the list goes on. My mum won’t even address her own letters so you can imagine what it was like growing up. Living in Kiwiland, the home of do it yourself (diy) as the advertisement says; you come to realise that these are all arbitrary limitations and exist only in our minds. Kiwi women are not afraid to try their hand at most things and there are lessons for us Eastern women to learn from them. Over the last 13 years I have spent here, I have slowly relinquished some of these beliefs and as a consequence, redefined my limits. I know I still have a long way to go, but I have garnered enough self confidence to give most things a go. Sometimes I fail miserably, but other times I do a creditable job. And with each attempt I build up my self confidence so that when the next job comes around I am better equipped to deal with it.