Many of us ladies entering or who are in the trucking industry didn’t start out at 21 as truckers. Most of us come from another career, marriages and relationships both good and bad, poverty situations and some even have suffered abuse from parents, spouses and partners. A lot of us have grown children and have had to overcome family objections to us becoming truckers, some of the objections strenuous, from our kids, parents, spouses and friends. Many of us carry a lot of internal emotional baggage with us on the road. Overcoming it can be a real chore, but is necessary to succeed.
Women who carry emotional baggage tend to get stuck in what I call ‘victim mode’. These are the women who have survived abuses or tremendously bad situations. Some may have self esteem issues due to their size or looks and cannot see their own inner beauty so because they may have had bad experiences with other’s comments, actions and attitudes, they tend to think that everyone will treat them the same way…badly.
These perpetual victims are easy to spot, they are the women who walk with their heads down, and slump shouldered, who won’t even reply when someone says ‘good morning’. They tend to dress poorly, park in isolated places and hesitate to ask for help even if they really need it.
Little do they know that they are making themselves a bigger target for more bad things to happen to them. Criminals look for these types because it is obvious that they will most likely not defend themselves and because of never looking around, they are not aware of their surroundings. Men who use women go after these types also, knowing that most of these women are desperate for love and a little affection even though it may not appear that way to a non using type of man.
Being a perpetual victim is bad for your work too. You might find it hard to accept responsibility when you do something wrong, instead blaming everyone and everything else for it. Also, because you expect everyone to treat you badly, you might allow your supervisors and clerks to take advantage of you by expecting you to run illegally, or not get you home when you ask. It may be hard for you to take pride in doing the job well.
Overcoming the baggage that we carry is hard. First you have to admit to carrying the baggage. We tend to bury those bad experiences and don’t admit there is a problem from them. It takes a lot of courage to look at one’s self honestly and objectively, but necessary. One way to do this is by making lists of all of your good points then going over it with a best friend, you will find that you have missed a lot of the good points you have. Then make a list of your bad points and again, go over it honestly with your best friend, you may find that you have fewer than you thought.
These lists will assist you in identifying areas that you need to work on…such as attitude, bad habits, choosing a partner, work ethics etc. Sounds easy does it not? It is, if you are totally honest with yourself. The lists will assist you in building some self esteem too. You will see that you are not the terrible person that some might have told you that you were and as you work on your bad points, your good point list will grow. Of course you have to accept that you will never be perfect…but you sure can improve to near it.
If we carry too much baggage and cram too much ‘stuff’ into our emotional suitcases, we put ourselves at risk of that suitcase popping open at some time. This can lead to our over stressing while doing our stressful jobs, or becoming too emotional in dealing with everyday problems. It can lead to health related issues such as heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes along with mental health issues…none of which is going to be good for you or your career as a driver.
Dealing with what has happened in the past can jump up and distract you in those wee hours of the day when you have too much time to think. Instead of keeping those incidences packed away, deal with them when you are sitting still and can feel the emotions that you have not allowed yourself to feel, accept responsibility for your part of whatever is bothering you, assign the rest to whomever else was involved, forgive yourself and them if you can, and let it go. Otherwise you will continue to be a victim and have overburdened suitcases to deal with when you least want to.
Furthermore, remember; you have chosen trucking as a career. YOU made the decision. That took courage and determination. Somewhere inside, you have strengths that may be hidden in plain site. Use that strength to overcome the past and make your whole life better, take pride in being a lady driver and know that not every woman has what it takes to do the job…that makes you special and unique.
Ya’ll be safe out there!