Every year, BJ and I go to a fly fishing expo. This year, I signed up for the "Women's Only" fly fishing class.I am trying to make friends with females, and I figured this class could be a place to start.
The class started with everyone getting their rods put together and rigged up. Several women had never done that themselves before - they always had their husbands do it for them.
One woman started shaking as she put her rod together. She kept apologizing for doing it wrong and taking so long, and then she half-tearfully said, "My husband just gets to impatient when we're going fishing, and I feel anxious just trying to put this together. I hate doing it wrong."
The instructor told her to slow down and relax. Then she asked how many of us had picked out and/or purchased our own rods. I was the only one. Everyone else used their husband's old rods. One woman said she couldn't afford to buy a rod for herself, so she just fished after her husband was done for the day. She enjoyed it, but she couldn't cut into his time. One woman was left handed, but fished right handed, because it wasn't worth getting her own reel or rerigging his reel for "just" her.
The instructor spent a good twenty minutes telling us that women deserve to fish just as much as men. We don't need to depend on men to tie our knots or rig up our rods. We deserve good equipment that is ours, and it's okay to spend money on ourselves.
At that, my heart jumped into my throat.
I bought my own rod. I bought my own gear. But it was HARD. I hated spending that much money on myself. When I go fishing with BJ, I always wait to find out where he wants to go, and then I pick where I want to go. I don't want to get in his way. His fishing experience is more important (in my mind) than mine.
It seems I am not the only woman who thinks that way.
Do men feel the same feelings of anxiety and undeservedness? I have been to many mixed gender classes and club meetings, and NEVER heard anything like that. Is that because men don't talk about it, or because they don't feel it?
The class was helpful, because it improved my casting, and I had a bit of therapy while I was there.
No more feeling undeserving. And next time we go fishing, I'm going to pick where I want to go before BJ (or anybody else that I go with).
AND... I also loved it when a guy started watching the class. I was chatting with one of the other ladies and not practicing like I could have been. The dude made the comment, "Yeah, that's how my wife fishes too. I'm not sure she ever even casts."
With that (rude) prompting, I picked up my line, cast it forty feet into the center of the target. Looked at him. And smirked.
He laughed. Did a half bow in my direction and left.
I can hit the target about fifty percent of the time... but I hit it when it mattered most.