I am quite possibly one of the worst ‘homemakers‘ on the planet.
Most people don’t know what to do with me because I don’t want to have children, I have basically given up all together on baking and fail to create things you would find on Pinterest.
Since I was a very small girl, my answer to ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘ was always something along the lines of archeologist, author, surgeon or professor – mom and homemaker never made it to the list. In fact, I vividly recall a playground conversation when I was about 8 years old. One girl told me she wanted to be a stay at home mom when she grew up; I didn’t even know that was an option. I think I asked her what she would do when the kids were at school.
- We need stay at home moms and homemakers as much, if not more so, than ridiculous women like me.
All this said, it is more than just a little bit ironic that once upon a time I found myself armpit deep in Future Homemakers of America.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Read more from Womanity below…
Lunch Trays and Football Players
In the 8th grade my mom received a phone call from my Vice Principal.
Mrs. Dickau if Donloree misses any more school this year, we are going to have to hold her back. Each student is required to attend a certain amount of days in the school year in order to go onto the next grade level. Donloree’s grades are not the problem, but her attendance is. Make sure she’s at school from now on.
Walking into a full lunchroom, death gripping a lunch tray, and praying for a friendly face in the midst of the sea of kids was my daily torture.
As I stood in line for my food, I appeared to be contemplating whether I should get the greasy pepperoni pizza or the green tinged hot dog with my dollar seventy-five but in actuality I was fervently praying.
God. It is me; the girl who you gave the strange name to – Donloree. Let there be a nice person I can sit with and not be made fun of during lunch. I don’t know where to sit and I hate sitting by myself. Help. Please! Help me not to cry today.
Why doesn’t God answer prayer in the way you want all of the time?
Most lunch hours were spent arriving late to lunch, letting other kids go in front of me in the lunch line while I pretended to not know what I wanted to get to avoid having to find a spot to sit and leaving early to go to the bathroom before the bell for fifth period rang.
My coping mechanisms made it so I only had to sit in the torturous lunchroom for 18 minutes while I sopped up the grease off my pizza and tried to not make eye contact with the cool boys in order to avoid being heckled.
Being sensitive meant comments like, ‘Hey Dickau. Are you trying out for the football team this year? You have the shoulders and girth of a linebacker!’ cut deep. My heart didn’t know how to take a head on tackle coming from the cute, fit blonde boy yelling across the lunchroom.
I don’t know many 14-year-old girls who want to be compared to linebacker.
After my mom let me know I must go to school unless I am literally dying, I came up with a plan.
After all, the last thing I wanted to do was re-live this hell the following year.
In January, shortly after the foreboding call from the Vice Principal, the new semester began. I was forced to take Home Economics instead of Shop class. In my opinion it was the lamest class on the planet as it consisted of baking things I already knew how to bake with my eyes closed, learning how to do a budget, and sewing yellow, flannel shorts that threatened to split open if you sat while wearing them.
During the second week of Home Economics, a solution to my problem unfolded right before my very eyes.
The soft-spoken, diminutive teacher who was in the midst of teaching us how to cream butter, sugar, and eggs together told us about an ‘amazing’ opportunity.
Future Homemakers of America, otherwise known as FHA.
The last thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a homemaker, but participating in the school’s chapter meant you had to give up most of your lunches, would have to go to Chapter meetings at other schools during the day and there was a two day Regional event in a different city at the end of the year.
I officially found my hall pass to excuse me from nearly all lunchroom torture for the rest of the year.
My enthusiasm landed me as president of our school’s chapter and before I knew what was happening, I was fervently using the surger to sew emergency flags to sell to other schools to raise money for state-wide homemaking adventures and spending my lunches with the short, unnaturally blonde Mrs. S, Head Homemaker.
I was officially a nerd on a mission.
In the midst of running away from the mean boys and girls who had no capacity to reach out to the tallest girl in the class who was more than a bit awkward, I found out some amazing things about myself.
- Sewing taught me that I can swear like a drunken sailor and still get something made by the end of the day.
- Leadership is something that is woven into the fiber of my being and when given the opportunity to rise to the top, I do so quickly. Unfortunately in this case the top required wearing a less than attractive cardigan with an FHA crest sewn onto the left breast pocket.
- Dreaming about making something happen is the first step to making it happen. I spent more lunches and afterschool hours with Mrs. S. than any other student and we dreamt together about what our small little FHA chapter could do. Every single thing we thought of came to pass while I donned the black and gold Future Homemaker of America cardigan.
Somehow, despite my nerdy qualities, I recruited friends, friends I tell you, to join in. No longer was I alone when I had to face the lunchroom, my other FHA cronies and I were a force to be reckoned with.
Dreaming changes what you do with and in the future.
When I was 28, I went to my 10-year high school reunion; morbid curiosity I suppose. With a glass of red wine in my right hand and my purse, which coordinated with my heels in my left, I took stock of the people mingling at the boathouse on the Tacoma waterfront.
The hot boy who every girl wanted to date had yet to move on from high school. It was only 7:30 pm and he was already quite tipsy. There was something redemptive about being repulsed by him as he leaned on me, flirted and tried without success to get somewhere with me. I pushed him away and ended the conversation without much thought. My once nerdy now world changer friends were waiting to catch up with me. Changing the world is much better than being stuck in high school mode for more than a decade.
The path you choose now can and will shape the rest of your life.
You always have the opportunity to change direction and make new choices, but the earlier you make good decisions about who you’re becoming, even if it is nerdy and boring, the better you will be when the time comes for you to run out into the world and chase your dreams.
Instead of running away, run towards something even if it is ‘nerdy’. While you run towards something you will find joy, a place to belong, and true friends that love you despite your large glasses and linebacker shoulders. Together you can conquer the mean boys and girls who will most likely be fat, bald, and washed up at the 10 year reunion. In fact, they won’t even matter anymore because you have started to do something with your life and they haven’t.
The horrible boys of the 8th grade will most likely have nothing to say for their life later. Let them ride out their power trip now. You’re building momentum for something great later.
You, yes you, are on the road to greatness. Stay there and keep going, it is about to get amazing.