Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 6.03.41 PM.png

Katrina is a realistic and passionate optimist focused on actively challenging the way others think about themselves, others, and their world.  She has a Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology, is a certified Adult & Kid's Yoga Instructor,  and founder of Bagus Kids, a child focused company inspired to create fun, mindful products for children.  Katrina is an avid world traveler and do-gooder working for causes in children's education and the environment. You can follow her humorous, personal reflection on Life, Dating, Feminism & Political Social Change here at  Breathe, Smile, Listen 

The Sweet Saint

The Sweet Saint

 

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”- Nelson Mandela

Take a deep breath Katrina, put on a smile, you can do this. Date number ….Shoot I have no idea anymore.

“Hi” I say as I walk in and give him a hug. We sit down for a dinner.

"So what do you do for work?” He asks.

And here we go...

“I’m a Speech Pathologist.” I reply.

“How do I sound?” He says laughing.

Uh oh here comes the exact same series of questions. He seems nice and I know it’s well meaning but….

“You’re fine. I’m not paying attention to that.” I say laughing.

What I am paying attention to the series of annoying statements that are soon to follow.

“I couldn’t say my /s/ when I was little and went to a speech therapist. She didn’t look like you though. How could anyone concentrate with you in the class. That’s very sweet you to do that,” he says.

I laugh again.

I appreciate the compliment but how I look really doesn’t have much to do with any of it. I’ve never said that to a man, equating their looks to their job and I don't do it to be sweet. They do pay me. 

“I sometimes work on sounds but there's a lot more involved in language than that. I work primarily with children developing language, learning how to communicate, and social skills.” I say.

“Oh wow. You ARE  really sweet. You’re a saint really.” He replies.

I’ve heard these exact words before when I tell other men what I do...

So let me pause for a second. There is nothing wrong with saying I’m pretty or sweet and I get it. I know you are just trying to compliment me.  You picture me holding hands with a child, walking around smiling, and it brings up some thoughts that perhaps I’ll be a good mother. Although god forbid anyone brings up kids or you’ll likely run.

And yes I am sweet. When I see a puppy I pet it. If you hand me a baby I’ll hold it. And yes I do care about seeing children have a chance to succeed in this life...

But guess what else it does, it discounts the actual work.

Jobs that are typically held by women are seen as nurturing jobs or jobs that previously were geared towards helping men. You have your teachers (helping children),  nurses (nurturing the sick while helping the male doctors), Secretaries (keeping the men good at their jobs) etc. Women, once they entered the workplace became quickly placed in roles seen as “suitable” for them.

Many jobs that have been historically dominated by women tend to be paid less than other professions. Not only is this damaging to women, it keeps some men from careers they would be really good at and discounts work of men already in these fields. While stereotypes have begun to shift we still haven’t made enough progress yet.

As this article states through a study that looked at how men and women are perceived at at work ,”stereotyping a job as “women’s" work and societal biases that grant women less authority than me harm us all.”  

I pause for a second and say...

You know what isn’t sweet, writing a 10 page report that will be gone over meticulous by a parent advocate, sitting in hours of meetings with people who are sad, hurt, and even  angry upon hearing the news that their child may have Autism or have something significantly impacting their ability to develop language like their peers. To be filled with empathy yet equally filled with research and methods that can help. It’s not sweet it’s f*** hard, tiring, and has a huge burnout rate. It isn’t funded properly nor is it given the respect, perks, or pay that that many other professions have.

It’s patronized by men as sweet, by Hollywood royalties posing for causes they know little about, and by politicians taking photos ops and using us as talking points while never actually speaking to anyone doing the work.

Just kidding, he most definitely does not want to hear that.

"Yep I’m a saint and I am very sweet.” I reply with slight sarcasm and a smile.

Let's hope he doesn’t talk to my ex... Ever.

“So, what do you do?”  I ask.

“I work in business.” He says.

“That’s interesting. What does that entail?” I ask.

He explains a bit more. It is quite obvious he gets paid a lot more than me and he also gets quite a few more perks for his job.

The date comes to a close.

“Thank you.” I say sweetly.

I  walk away, take a deep breath, smile at some of the tragedies of this life….

You know what I wanted to be, a journalist or a lawyer. Now while I do love my profession and have found studying language and communication fascinating and love the students I work with,  it wasn’t what I wanted when I was young. Growing up in a Christian community I was told by people in my life, being a lawyer wasn’t a helping profession, It’s really hard (insinuating too hard for me), and if you want a family you need to think about how much time that will take away. Kids and a hard profession don’t mix for a woman.

I bought into all this yet here I am single walking home from another date as I continue to buy into society’s expectation that I must land a man quick.  After all my expiration date is upon me.

Why do I listen to all this? I don’t even like it and I need to be up early to be “sweet” all day. It’s exhausting.  If I meet someone someday great,  if I don’t great. My happiness doesn’t depend on it.

Well, maybe if I really am a saint I can just stay single judgement free, live a life full of saintly sweetness and one day be buried in a tomb surrounded by flowers and majestic marble.  People can walk by and see the sign to remember- The sweetest girl that ever lived. Saint Katrina.

Now that sounds pretty sweet.


 

XX

Kat

Rolling in the New Year with a smile:)

Rolling in the New Year with a smile:)