So, this entry is a bit off-topic, but I feel that it is pertinent nonetheless. (Also, I’m currently working on the roof framing, so it’ll be a few more days until I get a good post up on that section, thanks to the ceaseless rain).
I decided to build this tiny house after much research. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it…I worried about my ability, my resources, my complete lack of experience in building anything, let alone a house. But after 2 years of “studying” online, I decided that I needed to either let it go or get down to it. Obviously, I got down to it. This is not to say that I haven’t encountered problems along the way, or that certain stages of the build haven’t seemed overwhelmingly daunting. But I’ve done them. And yes, I have had help. But I’m proud to say that, for the most part, I have built this house. Not my brother, not my friends, not my uncle…I have built this house. I am not trying to diminish the fact that I have had help on this house. Who wouldn’t need help? No contractor heads out to build a structure on their own, and why would I? But here’s where the difference becomes irritating:
I am a woman. OH GOD NO, A WOMAN BUILDING? Yes. It’s horrifying. And apparently it is beyond anyone’s comprehension. I decided to write this particular entry after yet another incident at a home improvement store…one of MANY I have encountered since starting this project.
Yesterday, I purchased about 30 rafter ties, a box of heavy-duty specialized screws, and 1 tarp. The casual conversation at the checkout played out as follows:
Cashier: “how’s your day?”
Me: “Good, thanks”
Cashier: “Aww. You doing some painting, then?”
Me: “….Uh…building, actually.”
Relatively benign, until you realize that the cashier focused on the single tarp I was purchasing over the 30 rafter ties. Which ring up as “rafter ties.” Oh, yeah. Those must’ve been for someone else, as I am only capable of painting. I realize that the cashier wasn’t trying to be rude, but instead was programmed to ignore the sawdust covering my clothes, the legitimate building supplies, and the commercial builder’s credit card due to my gender. Yes. Just painting. Probably in pink, too.
This is one of many small (but startling, nonetheless) incidents of this sort that I’ve encountered since I began the build. Those who have seen the house under construction (me on a ladder, sweating and hammering away) either assume I’m helping the landowner build his structure (I correct them) or they believe that he’s building it for me, with minimal help from my end (“you’re doing this yourself? Oh, you have ‘help.’ Ohhhhh. Ok!”) This assumption that I could in no way, shape, or form build this house on my own is truly bothersome. If I were male, I know that these questions wouldn’t arise, and if they did, my confirmation of building a house on my own would be met with admiration rather than confusion. So, here’s the point of this post…
Do you want to do something? Are you, due to your gender, age, ability, finances, etc, not one who would normally be considered able to do that something? Yes? Well then, GET BUSY DOING IT. Seriously. Ask yourself “why not?” If you can come up with an answer that is not related to your own mental blocks, then reconsider. But otherwise, ignore the voice that tells you you’ve never done it before, you’ll screw it up, that’s a guy’s job, you’re not strong enough, you’re not smart enough, etc. Just go do what you want. Seriously, please, do it. And if you get scared (you will) or question yourself (which is unavoidable), remember this: No contractor was born knowing how to build. No photographer was born genetically predisposed to better handle a Canon than you. And very few tiny house builders arrive at the build site with a degree in architecture and inherent knowledge of all that goes into building. Ask for help. Welcome that help. But don’t let that diminish your role in the process. If I can do this, why can’t you? Really…why not?
So, get to building. And when the guy in Home Depot chuckles at you for the hundredth time and asks (yet again) what you’re building today, tell him it’s still a house…but not for your dollies. If he’s anything like the guy at the store I frequent, that’ll shut him up pretty quickly.
(Aside: Again…thank you to ALL who have helped/are helping me in this journey. Who wouldn’t want help? Without you (Dan, Tammy, Yfke, Chris, etc) this house would be much less awesome and much more frustrating than it is now, not to mention much less finished. So please know that I consider you all integral parts of this awesome part of my life, and wouldn’t want to do this without you! You’re all welcome to crash in the tiny house any time…but probably not all at the same time…you know. “Tiny” house and all!)
Really. Go build, you strong-ass person. You can do it. 🙂