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Not a Cool Girl

I am not a cool girl. I am not a a quiet girl.

I am a loud, screeching, opinionated woman. I will not calm down. I will not just let things be.

Not so very long ago, my uncoolness exploded all over everything and I am here to tell you that you will not get an apology. I am not backing down from my stance. I am tired of poor performing males (Thanks for the term, Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast) expecting me to sit down and not ask questions.

I am sick of people assuming that I don’t know my stuff because I’m a young woman. I am offended that you doubt me.

Sometimes, it happens at work.

When men ignore me in the conference rooms, they may not realize they’re ignoring me; I doubt they have a clue. I work a lot of gigs with clients to who don’t have the awesome culture that the company I work for has (Shout out to the supportive, Be-Kind culture of Pivotal!). The room is often filled with middle-aged males from those companies. They’ve been doing this job for years. I’m young. What could I know?

They see me, but to them I don’t register as someone who has worked with countless computer languages and technologies, or someone who has implemented agile practices to make teams more effective. I don’t believe that they see me as the knowledgeable consultant that I am. Maybe they do though; maybe this is all in my head. Probably not though.

Sometimes, it happens in skydiving, which bothers me more.

I like to imagine that in skydiving, unlike work, being young and female won’t cause people to discount me. The rise of tunnel flying and larger planes means that someone with 200 jumps and tunnel time over the span of a year can outfly someone with 800 jumps slowly acquired at a Cessna drop zone over a span of 10 years. I like to imagine that age, jump numbers, and looks don’t matter.

But it’s not always true. I often hear mansplaining from men with less experience and skills than me and more bluster. Conversely, my knowledge, which I have worked hard to seek out at camps and trainings from people much more experienced and much smarter than me, is discounted due to my limited number of years in the sport (4). My consulting and teaching skills from the work sector of my life are devalued, with people discounting how they apply to teaching skydiving.

Recently, I assisted with a skydiving course to help first time jumpers acquire the necessary skills for not only surviving, but excelling at their first skydive. In this course, the students learn about gear, about safety, about flying and landing their parachutes. The United States Parachutist Association (USPA) has opinions about the methods used to teach these skills. I know; I’ve recently studied them and kept up-to-date on them. Additionally, at work, my job is to teach people about complex software in a way that is digestible, in a way that allows for recall and learning. I know how to teach people. I am a good coach.

It went poorly. So when I caused a ruckus by calling out the poor teaching I witnessed there, believe me; I was not wrong.

Okay, Take it home

  • I have been told in the past that I get too worked up.
  • I have been told I need to take a moment to calm down before I take action.
  • I am not a cool girl; I will continue to get worked up when I see things that are wrong, things that I can fix.
  • I refuse to apologize for being right.

In the aftermath of my skydiving ruckus, I was approached by a fellow female skydiver. After ten minutes of expounding upon whether I handled it right (summary, she didn’t think I did), she finished with, “However, you are not wrong”.

Just keep watching,

I’m going to do things in skydiving. That’s a big statement, but I am. I am going to make an impact on new skydivers. I’m going to work to champion safety and skill in this sport. I’m going to grow the belly community in Colorado and I’m going to help build a community of strong women who support each other.

I am not going to quiet down

so don’t expect apologies.

I am not here to fuck around.

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