2021 Blog

Pity party

Going into this ride, my expectations were high. I was on cloud nine. I was excited to meet the women on my team and experience this crazy journey with them. I was ready to explain what Pedal the Pacific was to random strangers. I was ready to share my knowledge of the sex trafficking industry to those I met. I was simply excited. And, of course, I am still pumped for all these things, but I wasn’t expecting or foreseeing all the very hard things that were coming for me.

The first few days were cold and rainy, but everything was just beginning and my spirits were up. I was overjoyed to actually be doing this incredible thing. Yes, I was sopping wet; yes, all my snacks got drenched; yes, I slept in a puddle; and, yes, I was freezing. But, that was just the first couple of days. I was high on adrenaline and trying to keep my and the team’s spirits up! As we continued, the rides became long and hilly but still doable. And then we had our first experience with angry drivers yelling at us; honestly, it hurt my feelings, but still I remained determined. I had good and intentional conversations about sex trafficking with random strangers. I felt good. THIS WAS GREAT!

And then came Day 7. That’s when it began. Those next few days were a wake up call for me. Homesickness really began to creep in; especially on those days when we had no cell service. After several days of 40 and 50 mile rides, my body began to fight back; every joint and micro muscle was aching. I never realized that I would actually be falling off of my bike so much, and passing transfer trucks is not something that I trained for; the wind they leave behind knocked me over so many times. I was covered with cuts, scrapes, and bruises. I was completely and totally exhausted physically and mentally. I realized this experience wasn’t all “rainbows and sunshine”.  

And then it began to happen…Those feelings of being unqualified and inadequate crept back in. The little voices in my head kept saying, “what makes you think that you are good enough and knowledgeable enough to speak on the terrors of sex trafficking; you can’t even handle this bike ride!” I began to retreat. I began to rethink everything. I began to question my decision to do this. I wasn’t sure if I could do this. I wasn’t sure if I was THE person who was really qualified to complete this journey and help those who needed the most help.

But then, right in the middle of my negativity and pity party, I received an encouraging text from a friend saying “you got this, and I’m so proud of you.” It was just the boost I needed to change my focus.  I started thinking about what I was really doing and who I was advocating for. My uncomfortable sleeping conditions and bodily pain will soon be gone, and I’ll be greeted at a finish line at the end of July with a group of people who love and support me and will take me to a loving and caring home.  I KNOW that my conditions are going to improve. But the victims of sex trafficking might not see a finish line for their pain and suffering the way that I do. They might not be getting encouraging text messages on a daily basis from people who love them. Statistically, they don’t go home to a family that supports and loves them unconditionally the way that mine do. And so, I had an attitude adjustment. I had a mind shift off of me and onto them. Because they’re worth it!

May 13, 2022
by 
Sydnee Mwakutuya

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