The year 2018 was a busy year for me. Yet I didn’t really think about making an end-of-year-analysis at all. But a recent encounter forced me to think about it a bit more….
Here’s my little story as I wrote it down the night of the 27th December. You will find more of my conclusions towars the end of this post.
“Schämst du dich nicht? (Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?)
I was just fixing the brake cable of my bicycle. “Ja, schämst du dich denn nicht?“ Realising this stranger was indeed talking to me, I looked up. He walked about 30m away from me. With a big dog on a lash.
‘Is he referring to my pink work clothes?’ I wondered. Maybe he thinks I’m a guy and I look gay? In my surprise I looked back down concentraing on the finishing touches on the brake cable.
As a matter of fact, my shift had just started and the first order had arrived 5-10 minutes prior to this encounter. It was time to get going, but I had wanted to finish my repairs first.
It was a bit of a rebellion:
Why waste my free time to fix my bicycle, when the damage had arisen thanks to the many hours of wear during work? It thus should be paid time in my opinion. Of course, I know better. I know usually things don’t work that way, it would be too nice and too easy. But I was still determined to use any spare minute during work for ‘easy enough’ fixes.
That attitude comes at my own risk – I am damn well aware of that! The risk to be stopped by the police and get a ticket for not having well functioning front brakes, or worse, the risk of getting involved in an accident. I very well knew that.
I was wrapping up and checked the time on my phone again. “Ja schau nur weg, schau weg.“ Then again “Schämst du dich denn nicht?“ He kept repeating this sentence, asking me if I was ashamed of something, while walking in a half circle around me following his path through the park. All the time keeping a good distance between us, so I did no feel threatened.
I wondered if I should answer. But it wasn’t really worth the effort.
“Ja, mach los, geh weg. Dass du dich nicht schämst! Geh nur, geh nur.“ His words followed my movements as I was lifting myself up and putting the backpack/thermobox on.
‘Honestly, I don’t feel ashamed – at all’, I thought.
‘Why would any girl be ashamed of working hard, of wearing pink, or being (more or less) capable of fixing her own bicycle?’
None, of these make me feel ashamed, instead they make me feel proud.
I’ve been doing this job in part-time for altogether about 14months. It can be hard work, don’t be fooled to believe anything else when I write about it. Yet, I am one of very few females who are doing this job in my city. (We are about 60 riders in Dresden at the moment.) And the only girl here who has worked part-time all the time and thus worked on the road for almost one thousand hours. I’m quite sure no other female rider in my town has worked as much as me. Why would I be embarassed or ashamed of that?
Instead I’m thinking of female empowerment…
and of gender equality. I might not get close to speed or strength of most other long-term riders. But it doesn’t matter. No one cares as long as you finish the deliveries. And my endurance is good enough! I delivered over 200 orders last month… which I’m estimating only 5 other riders in my town managed to do. Why should I be ashamed of that?
I’m not forcing myself to earn quick but ‘dirty money’ or do a job I absolutely hate. Instead I do what I chose to do and because I want to work hard to reach my dream besides earning a living. (And yes, I do complan about work, like everyone else 😉 But when the roads are empty and things go smooth, I quite love my job!
No, I’m not embarassed. I’m proud to be tough. (And I like to be tough 😉 )
In the end I never answered that guy’s question.
But why would I? He’s just a poor drunkard or stupid rassist or simply a guy who will be left behind by some strong woman one day. If he hasn’t already been. Defending myself to such a person I need not to, because there is nothing to defend. Just to be proud of.
This encounter kept coming back during the following 5,5hours of work, so I decided to use it for my blog. Thanks, poor guy, for the weird reminder that female empowerment can take many shapes and forms.
This is the one I have temporarily chosen. And even if I can’t say I always love my job – there are a million micro aspect I like about it – and about being on the road. And that is all that matters.
But there is more not to be ashamed of
Thanks to this though provoking encounter I wondered about other aspects of this year.
- My blog is going slow, and I tend to put it behind my work that pays the bills. But it’s been only my first year and I learned a lot! As long as I don’t hide behind the excuse of being new and continue, I know things will move on.
- Writing here, no matter how few people read my words at the moment, also matters to me. It holds me responsible, it forces me to stay strong and continue to struggle. It’s so valuable to me.
- My photography and video making skills have also improved. I also know more than ever that I love it. I simply need to keep learning and improving. And will continue to chase my dreams of making a living out of it.
- I had some fun adventures too, made lovely new friends or deepened existing friendships.
- And my greatest success yet is that I have taken a great step towards living more sustainably.
I’m not ashamed of my failures, because they were few compared to the many times I could resist taking the easy way out. Banning sugar and reducing plastic from my daily life was not 100% successful. But it needen’t be right away. Important is that I started! If I had never challenged myself and tried, I would have never gotten to the little degree of consumption of sugar and use of plastics that I am at now.
From here it can only get better
With this I will conclude the year and look forward to more successes (and failures to learn from) in 2019. I look forward to the challenge of creating my own photogrpahy book and become a better photographer, writer, hiker and guide through it.
I hope you all will have a great start into the new year too! And if sustainability has not yet been on your to do list – please reconsider and add it, because your input matters, believe me 😉
All the best and see you next year (in a few hours already)!