This evening marks one week since I began campaigning full time.
And what a week! It’s been really fun and tiring in a way I hadn’t experienced until now.
I started the week on Saturday with another great round of shopping centre stalls followed by a full afternoon of letterboxing. Letterboxing can be a great way to get the message out – as well as being good exercise and a good way to get to know the suburb, particularly when I know I’ll be knocking on the doors of its homes soon.
Sunday was another great stall day but it was windy. Anyone from NSW or the ACT knows that August = windy and 31 July was certainly giving us a warning! That afternoon my campaign team split into letterboxing and doorknocking. And I doorknocked hundreds of homes. I had people who knew me from the shops or from my blog which was really humbling.
I met one woman in her 80s who said (and fair enough, too!), “Why is your hair like that?” I answered, “…Because I like it?” and she said, “Good answer.” She later told me that I had a bit of spunk in me!
It’s tempting to showcase all the great sides of campaigning – and, to be honest, it’s easy to do because there are so many good sides. But there are some less than average sides, too. That day especially I know I knocked on doors of those who were sick or had recently had surgery – I’m truly grateful for the time that they took with me at their doorsteps, but that feeling of interrupting them stays with me.
That same day, I’d finished a chat and was walking down a flight of concrete stairs and tripped and fell (my own fault). I couldn’t find my footing as I tripped and launched forward, face first. A bit over a metre fall awaited me. The house happened to have some iron railings on the landing above the staircase and my left ring finger managed to grab one and catch my entire body weight. It’s the first moment that’s really rattled me on the campaign. I’m grateful for whatever in me kept pushing me through the rest of the afternoon.
Monday was the first real change – the beginning of a work week without my usual work.
It’s genuinely been a big change. I have a schedule for myself but – to be honest – it’s been tough to stick to the schedule. I’ve had to (learn to) be really disciplined with myself and my time – as well as with my gorgeous family and friends who know I’m ‘free’ to check in. I have to treat my daylight hours as work time because that’s what they are – an opportunity to reach as many voters as possible – and I don’t want to take any moment for granted.
From Monday to Friday this week I doorknocked, letterboxed and held street stalls. Monday and Tuesday held a lot of drizzle; Thursday was windy; Wednesday and – especially – Friday were bright and warm.
People still kindly tell me I’m brave or courageous to stand out in the cold. Trust me, I’m not. I’m just determined and driven. And if I waited for a bright, sunny day in the campaign, I’d be out there on just a handful of days until 15 October.
But today was extra special. Today there was no wind. The sun was so warm. For the first time since June I didn’t campaign with thermals on! It was pretty special. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I luxuriated in it.
Today I had a (vague) goal of doorknocking four streets. I completed just one of those streets.
I could have felt disappointed; behind.
But I didn’t because at each house where someone was home, they wanted to talk – whether 30 seconds or an hour. Each time, we shared a piece of ourselves with the other.
This week has reinforced more strongly to me than ever before that campaigning isn’t about hitting targets. Being a politician isn’t about meeting as many people as possible.
What it’s about is speaking with people no matter how long it takes. Learning their stories. Taking their lives with me. Putting their voices forward.
It’s not about numbers, nor doors knocked, nor streets I complete.
It’s about people. Always.
PS. Have you taken the Belconnen Arts Centre petition to have it completed? You should. Completing the BAC would add a new dance studio, a theatre and a lot more spaces for our growing arts community (and our growing neighbourhood to enjoy it!). It’s here. Takes a few moments. I promise.
PPS. In honour of the lovely lady I doorknocked this week, here’s what it takes to get my hair the way it is: