I have been waiting to write this post for six years, since I started this blog.
So here’s something that most people out there reading this don’t know about me. I am 34 years old and I have never had my driver’s license.
I have gotten really really good at hiding it, because I just felt…ashamed and embarrassed and terrible. I have gotten really good at walking places. I have gotten really good at making my husband drive me everywhere, although we have had many many many fights about it. Many.
For 18 years, I have resolved to get my license, over and over and over again. I have taken the permit test so so so so many times, renewed it and practiced and taken it again when it was about to expire. I’ve had this…lack…hanging over my head for EIGHTEEN YEARS. I have been in the DMV so very very many times.
I have no idea why this is. I have no idea. Well, maybe I have some idea. I think maybe it was just the perfect storm of things I am not good at. I am not perfect at driving, so I don’t want anything to do with it. It makes me nervous and it confuses me and it makes me anxious and it terrifies me, and it’s really hard to make yourself practice something over and over and over again when that thing scares the shit out of you. It was always impossible for me to imagine not being terrified to drive anywhere by myself. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if I got into some traffic situation or saw some sign and didn’t know what to do. Mostly though, the thought of being trapped in a car with a stranger for TWENTY MINUTES while they JUDGED me just seemed…impossible. Totally impossible.
Then I got really really anxious about life in general, and so the first time I tried to take the test, over two years ago, I was so anxious that I couldn’t even turn on the turn signals when the instructor told me too. I just kept turning on the windshield wipers over and over again. I failed, that time, and when it was over, I just wanted to DIE. I couldn’t stop crying. I cried for what felt like days, the hysterical kind of crying where you can’t stop it. It was one of those times when you felt like it was going to be terrible, ahead of time, and then it was that terrible and oh, it was just awful.
That was no excuse for letting it go again for two years. I have no excuses, I don’t think, but it just…got away from me. It became something that was so awful and shameful and anxious making that I just couldn’t face it. I would try to drive and I would fight with Erik and cry behind the wheel and try to explain how much I hated driving and it just got worse and worse, the longer it got, and it became this huge huge THING.
But finally a few months ago I found myself unable to sleep and I realized that this pit in my stomach wasn’t going away, and I was going to have to just do something about it. I was going to have to be straight up terrified and do it anyway, or else it was never going to go away, and I couldn’t be a mom of a six year old who could never do anything because his mother didn’t drive. And as terrible as the problem had grown, I had to try to fix it. I don’t know, I just felt like I finally needed to try to fix this thing or I’d be haunted by it at 3 in the morning for the rest of my life.
I hate driving our car, our tiny little Jetta, because I feel like I can’t see out of it. It feels really unsafe. But finally I quit crying behind the wheel and I got a pillow to sit on, and it made a big difference. I made myself make a DMV appointment to take my test even though I really didn’t want to and as the date approached I felt sicker and sicker and sicker, I don’t even know how to describe it. I felt as though a giant force of impending doom was hanging over me. There were so many things I had to get through, the preschool Halloween party, the election, and my drivers test, and I just felt like I wasn’t going to make it through the stress of SO MUCH all at once.
I never ever thought I’d pass. I really didn’t And it terrified me, because I can drive, I really can, but I was afraid that I was so anxious that I would never be able to be calm enough to actually sit in the car and pass the test without making a mistake. I just…never thought I would pass, and I didn’t know how I was going to fix it, to fix me, so I’d be able to do it. It seemed too huge to be possible.
I was so stressed and anxious and nervous last night I could barely speak at dinner. I tried everything. I tried slow breathing and praying the Our Father and chanting “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” over and over again. I made bad jokes and tried to laugh about it. I told Erik “I am just going to assume I’ll fail, and then we’ll figure out what to do after that.” but I was still just so nervous. I could not talk myself out of it, no matter what I did.
I didn’t sleep at all, last night. I would calm myself down with affirmations and whatever else I could think of and then I would think “TWENTY MINUTES ALONE IN THE CAR WITH JUDGING STRANGER WHILE DRIVING” and I’d jolt back into terrified stress. But when my alarm went off at 7 am I dragged myself out of bed and went for a run and then I had the nervous poos about nine hundred times. Best diet ever!
And dudes, I totally passed my drivers test.
EIGHTEEN YEARS AFTER I TURNED SIXTEEN, IT IS OVER. I PASSED I PASSED I PASSED.
I never have to do that again. I never ever have to do that again. I just…
I cannot believe it. I am in shock.
I mean, Erik and I have been having this fight, this huge fight, for TEN YEARS, and now it’s over. OH MY GOD.
I don’t even know how to explain it. All I know is I drove like an old lady and the whole time I said the “Our Father” under my breath and I think someone was watching out for me, up there, because the route was the preschool route that I walk twice a week and I know all the sketchy places where drivers try to run me over with the double stroller and I just kept thinking to myself “I won’t pass I know I won’t pass but what if I did? Oh please oh please oh please” and when the inspector turned to me in the parking lot after it was all over and said “Well, you passed!” I…there are no words. I’ve never heard anything better in my life, and after I stopped myself from saying “Are ya SURE?” and headed into the DMV to get my license I wanted to french kiss everyone in there WITH TONGUE and I don’t know when the last time you were in the DMV was but that’s really saying something, let me tell you.
Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers.
Man, that was really really hard. AND I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT and I never have to do it again.
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