Fast & Furious: Behind My Scene
For more than 10 years, I have battled a fear of/for driving. From a rollover to multi-vehicle pile-ups, I’ve had my share of bad luck on the road, with the worst being four MVAs in 14 months.
I had a major case of road anxiety. It stemmed from having life-changing experiences forced upon me. These accidents were out of my control. Every time I got on the road, I felt that I was setting myself up. So mysoultion was to avoid driving. I’ve lied and schemed to family and friends to get out of events just so I didn’t have to drive. Sorry, cat’s out of the bag.
Eventually, the lies started to up to me. I needed to deal with the fear. To help me overcome this, I didn’t know what it would all take, but I did know that step one was to get myself on the road. To be on the road, I needed to feel safe. I invested in a new vehicle. No, not a tank, but a BMW. It was the only vehicle that I test drove that made me feel safe (because it felt like a heavy car –if that makes sense).
Step two in the process is to trust other drivers. It’s hard not to drive the gorgeous BMW, so it wasn’t too much of a struggle to be on the road. As said before, I can only control myself, not others. I trust in my driving and that’s the confidence and focus I need to bring to behind the wheel.
I’ve been accident free for four years (longest period in 11 years, woohoo!). I feel confident that my fear had dissipated. And, on Friday, I confirmed it to myself.
A friend started his birthday with go karting. Leading up to the night, I was freaking myself out. Narrow tracks, little-to-no protection in those rickety exposed karts, high speeds. Would it take one tap from another kart into my kart, or a crash into the tire walls to send me back over the edge? Why would I want to choose to put myself in an intimate environment that would surely elicit a lapse?
I could avoid this potential spiral by not going at all, or I could challenge and test my growth. Acting on a “what if” was not an option.
The birthday group doesn’t know of my MVA past, and so it was cute when they teased me about my gentle driving. I was the granny who’d slow down and let the racers pass me. And, for the record, the nice guy/girl doesn’t always finish last. I came in 9/10th (out of 13).
I won my race. I’ve committed the last decade (I like to refer to this time as my misspent 20s) to the emotional, mental and physical baggage that comes with these series of misfortunes. I’m doing awesome physically thanks to CrossFit West10, and wonderful mentally and emotionally thanks to support and understanding from family/friends. Oh, and me. I do owe myself some gratitude for being resilient and persevering.
(1) If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.
(2) Trust in your process. Trust in yourself.
(3) I’m a good driver, really.