Today I was at that point where I was sick of not being able to drive a car anymore, because of fear. I packed our bags, grabbed J and squeezed her into her winter coat. Armed with the car keys and a Belgian speaking satnav we were ready to hit the car and leave. Just like that. But then rain and hail came crashing down from the sky.
But but but, always a but. But this time was different. I swear.
I got my licence when I was 19. It took me three exams and the most ridiculous teacher, but that didn’t stop me from driving and I liked it. I used to race everywhere, even the smallest maze like streets of Amsterdam didn’t make me sweat. And I do sweat.
But since 8, maybe 10 years, I’m overwhelmed by this stupid anxiety triggered by an even more stupid accident that was totally my fault (hitting another car’s door while searching the road for someone with a Santa costume). Afraid to lose control, to not have a good overview of the road ahead, to harm someone and in the end afraid of the anxiety itself. I hate myself, but I never really show.
B knows. Because I yell at him when he asks when I’m planning to drive again. We fight and then I make a promise. One I never keep. Again, B knows. But he won’t let go, asks again once in while and defies my rage. We both know I come with a tiny user manual. I need to do things on my own terms and when I think I’m ready.
And I’m ready now. I know I can drive. I want to take J to her grandparents when I need a day off, to the beach where she can run and collect all the shells she can put in her hands and many other places she’s never been. But most of all, I don’t want to transfer my anxiety (or let’s make that plural) to her because I know that’s the way it works. I have to break the circle somewhere. I have to try something else.
For the moment I’m still a stay at home mom, there’s an already wrecked car in front of our house, J repeats “mama drive car” and B trusts me completely, in an overrated kind of way. So whom am I kidding (or killing). I trust myself: I can think, I have eyes (minus 9 but that’s been taken care of) and I have gut feeling. Thereby it helps to realise I’m not the only one, on the contrary. Sally Koslow is only one of the many examples.
Thursday I’ll read this post again and just go. For real. At least, when there’s no rain, hail, storm or sharp sun. I want B to be proud of me (and maybe give me that ring I’m gagging for).