“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
Basically, I spend my work-a-day lifting heavy boxes and walking around and around a busy warehouse, which means I am getting paid to work out. Sure, lots of organizing too, of paperwork and emails to reply to, things to sort out, things to receive, that sort of thing. One of the least, em, favoured aspects of my work is doing carry-outs, and doing this for the last 2 years it really still amazes me how unprepared people are. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t really mind helping people, but to be completely honest I’m not really a ‘people’ person, or at least helping them in person, always makes me anxious.
SO many things about this job have challenged me and taught me stuff about myself.
I remember clearly, those first days, staring up at that tall ladder on wheels, for instance, that I had to take to reach the upper racking, where we had stuff stored, vertigo making me hold the railing tighter, thinking I could not, and in fact, I did. I did, again and again (I still get vertigo on occasion still, but I wade through it). Lifting boxes I thought out of my league, and I was wrong, I learned how.
But recently I realized just how much me doing it, and all the women I work with doing it, how we challenge stereotypes every single day.
I’m out doing a carry-out a few days back, for a young Mom with her young son. So I have the cart with the heavy boxes, and she guides her son, and we make our way across the busy parking lot to her car.
Now, see I’m 5’2″ and maybe 115lbs, not that bigger than her son.
She lifts up the back of her (of course) SUV, and as I’m heaving the first box in, the boy says “whooooaaa“, impressed. As I’m lifting the second box in he says”; “Mom, what kind of job is that“? She goes “shhhhh“.
I giggled all the way back to the security of the warehouse. I like it back there, I like the not having to deal with people part especially because as an introvert it makes me anxious to interact with strangers, though I’ve adjusted, kind of. Well, sort of. Still my least favourite part of my job.
Yet, it is these incidences that give me some perspective. Like, how powerful, really, is it to give young kids, either boys OR girls, the lesson, the reality that size nor sex has anything, really, to do with strength?! It’s brains not brawn that helps one lift heavy boxes, I’ve learned. But that kid just thinks I’m cool cause I don’t look as though I could do that sort of thing. He learned something new.
Well, guess I did, too.
SO, where else would I get that opportunity, sitting in some call centre fielding complaints? Hardly.
“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
Now last night I think was the best, seriously made me teary.
It’s a pregnant Mom, maybe late 20’s, wearing these funky brown suede boots, warm tights, and a neat winter jacket with these bits of faux fuzz around the edges, and her little girl had some sort of bright festive headgear, and colourful boots and coat that doesn’t go, she was a brightly coloured dark-eyed little pixie. They cut a fine figure, the two of them. So I’m asked to the front to help her bring a couple boxes in to return.
Out we go with the cart, and she says “I’m returning the microwave and sink, and picking up the countertop“, and I’m thinking oh dear god woman, have you no big strong men in your cute little life”? Anywho. So she opens the back of her well-worn old red van, and actually, it wasn’t that bad, I realized as I was lifting the microwave out of the back and onto the cart, the little girl, with her bright little hat and big brown eyes, looks up at me and goes “WOOOOWWWW“, really loud.
To her, right in that moment? I was Wonder Woman. I felt like Wonder Woman. God, it still makes me teary. I realized, right in that moment, that I was teaching that little girl that she can do whatever she sets her mind to do, and that she does not have to wait around for a man to do it for her. Cause, she saw it with her own beautiful brown eyes.
“Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.”
The funny thing is, I was out shopping for my nieces for Christmas the day before, and the first thing that caught my eye was the pretty soft winter scarves, however, their incredible price tag brought me back to my senses. So I looked around, wondering what in the heck do I get two teen girls? I mean, seriously? What would I have wanted at that age? So I’m taking a wander around the little area they have out front and make my way up the stairs, and I can hear the creaky floorboards of the once family home underneath my feet.
Nothing. So I make my way back to the front and take another look around, and decide to take a closer look at the jewelry. And that’s when I saw them, these Wonder Woman like bracelets, with photos and graphic designs, and on the inside is an empowering quote, and my eyes well up. My eyes welling up for Christmas gifts is always a sure sign, so there you go. As well, a part of sales for each bracelet goes to women’s charities. So each of them gives something back, and that was my theme for the year.
Just now, thinking back to last night and that carry-out for that young Mom, I’m going to tell them that these are like Wonder Woman power bracelets. I know, maybe kinda dorky, but I’m kinda dorky. No one else need know that about them, they’re just funky chunky bracelets, really. But on the inside is a quote that somehow embodied that sense of empowerment I felt with those carry-outs, that sense that you can do more, be more, are more.
“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”