Waving to Little Girls in Car Windows

Waving to Little Girls in Car Windows

Can inspiration be found in a simple gesture?

my triumph bonneville - a woman motorcycle rider

On Sunday, I zipped towards the Expressway on a 4-lane highway. To my left, a preteen girl sat in the backseat of a car slowly passing me. Her eyes were fixed on me, the lady on the motorcycle. I smiled and waved and she lit up with excitement.

As the car crept away, she craned around the headrest and watched me. What went through her mind?

When I hear about campaigns targeted at empowering other women to ride, I confess, my gut reaction is often, “that’s dumb. Why do I need to tell someone they are capable of doing something when it’s so obvious?”

But, maybe I’m completely wrong

I am. I’m wrong.

Empowerment campaigns aren’t dumb. They are obviously necessary and work well for people. Day in and day out, environmental and social factors play a part in shaping our minds. If nothing positive goes in, it’s likely nothing positive will come back out.

Many people aren’t exposed to positive or even neutral ideas about riding a motorcycle. Not only that, their own capabilities or life’s possibilities can be downplayed. There are people who have to wrestle with undoing years of negative programming in order to reach for their dreams.

I guess obvious isn’t so obvious, after all.

Some people won’t know that they can learn to ride a motorcycle until someone else gives them a shove. They need to hear someone say, “you’ve got this.” That’s what these empowerment campaigns do.

Lead by Example

I imagined that the girl in the window was excited by the idea of riding a motorcycle. And doubly excited to see it done by a woman. And then triply excited that if a woman, a grown-up version of herself, is doing it then she can do it, too.

Is that empowerment by example? I didn’t say or do anything special. I was just myself. Is that enough?

7 Replies to “Waving to Little Girls in Car Windows”

  1. I used to love to wave at the Amish kids in the back of the buggies. For them a motorcycle was probably something magical that didn’t poop as it went down the road and had considerably more than one horsepower.

  2. You’re not wrong at all. That moment opened her up to the possibilities. As someone who falls into the category of undoing years of negative ideas, it’s a big deal to have a role model like you. Especially young girls. She’s going to question those negative ideas the more she sees women like you confidently and unapologetically being themselves.

  3. Not to make your blog in any way political but it’s striking how some people, either generally or in certain fields of human endeavour, feel that they need permission from ‘the secret world government’ or the illuminati or somebody before they can ‘just do stuff’, and other people unencumbered by any humility feel no such constraint, perhaps sometimes even when they should have… I suspect less women are unencumbered by humility than men…

    The obvious example that springs to my mind, and why I mentioned politics, was Trump running for president and winning. Seemingly overnight, like a switch being flicked, a lot of people, a lot of women who always assumed running for any office including dog catcher was something only some special ‘other’ people with some magical special attributes and skills did, took one look at DJT & thought “I’d be a better president than him, dammit, & yet _I_ was too sure I wasn’t good enough to run for the mof’ing school board last year… right, that’s it, I’m done moaning about x/y/z, I’m running for state senator/zoning board/house rep/mayor starting NOW!’. Hence the surge of candidates…

    1. Look at me talking about American politics like I know a thing about it. Too many hours listening to the Maddow show podcast…

  4. You’ve done a wonderful thing. You’ve actually just mentored someone new to motorcycling. I just hope motorcycles are still around when it’s her time.

    I wave to the munchkins all the time. It lets them know that the long haired man on the big bad motorcycle isn’t so scary after all.

    Spread two-wheeled love.

  5. Love this post. I also wave to young kids to get them excited about motorcycling. What you did went even further. Most of us, women especially, are taught to be modest in our ambitions. Seeing role-models break barriers helps us realize the barriers are permeable. Go, Fuzzy!

  6. You are absolutely right! Be the example of endless possibilities! I wave to little kids in cars all the time. It seems sometimes the little boys are even more fascinated than the little girls, and that makes me happy too. They need to understand the possibilities for their future girlfriends and daughters. 😀

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