> jumping into life.

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After the bike class today, I have grease all over my fingers and bloody knuckles, and I know how to adjust my gear cables and my derailers. The chain was just brushing the front derailer and I adjusted the limit screws, until the chain fell off the chain ring when I shifted gears. Then I adjusted them back, until the chain scraped the derailer with energy. So I adjusted them again, and then again, and eventually found a spot where the chain was neither rubbing nor jumping. (Or at least I hope so; I'll be changing gears rather gingerly for the next few days.) Turns out I have a pretty intuitive sense of mechanics, which I never really knew before because I was never really encouraged to learn any, and I never had a reason to try. When I asked my dad to show me how to change a tire when I was 17 or so, he pulled out his AAA card. I recognized the implicit sexism in science classes when I was pretty young, and I think it would be safe to say that part of why I'm into science is because I feel a little bit like I have an obligation to be - I'm smart enough and interested enough to stand up to all the subtle forces discouraging me, and I kind of have to make that stand just because I can. I hadn't ever tried to fix my own bike, or my own car, or anything at all, so I hadn't really ever noticed that the same forces apply. If I give the answer to a chemistry equation, my classmates will look for reassurance from the teacher before the accept my answer, when they don't need that glace if the guy next to me answers. If I look at a chain spinning and suggest the limit screws need adjustment, that same doubt comes through. It turns out that it doesn't matter if its a male or female I'm talking to, my word is not as good as a man's. I don't think anyone is trying to perpetuate the status quo, or trying to make me feel inadequate, or trying to suggest that I am incapable of being competent in chemistry or bike repair because I have two X chromosomes. It's just the way things are.