I Don't Have a Blowtorch but I Do Have a Hair Dryer

It has taken an extraordinarily long time but I have had it with being oppressed. More specifically, I am done with thinking I'm oppressed or thinking that all women are oppressed, lamenting that, worrying about it. Even though it's true and in extremes beyond comprehension in many places, I want to stop thinking that somehow, everywhere women are in a lesser position.

Because to believe that and to have internalized it means that I and other women are always beating back the overwhelming and crippling feeling of powerlessness.

Are the people who are responsible for the continuation of civilization on the planet powerless?

Once when I was a single parent, my kitchen pipe froze. I called my father in Michigan.

"Do you have a blowtorch? If you have a blowtorch, just put it on a low flame and it'll thaw it right out."

"No, Dad. I don't have a blowtorch."

Who has a blowtorch? Is that how people thaw frozen pipes? With a blowtorch?

This was the first time I realized my father was not completely infallible when it came to home repairs.

"I don't have a blowtorch, but I do have a hair dryer. Wouldn't that work?"

I'm tired of all the things that fly in the same orbit as the internalized belief of being powerless or less than - things like anger, resentment, spectatorship, waiting, envy, missed opportunity, apology, regret, settling, and shrugging.

On this International Women's Day, I'm taking off this old coat for good. I've got my hair dryer and I'm going for it.




Jan Wilberg




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