Shedding light on our shadows can be one of the most difficult things to do. It’s easier to ignore the things we “dislike” about ourselves, or convince ourselves that they simply don’t exist. “I’m not afraid to drive, because THAT would be silly…”
Taking driving lessons and getting my ‘N’ this year was a gigantic achievement for me; one that I still need to celebrate. You see, I’m 29 years old and didn’t really think I’d be able to overcome my biggest fear and learn to drive. But here I am, on the road!
Driving has taught me to own up to some of my shadows:
#1: I am a HUGE chicken. They wouldn’t have given me my license if I wasn’t at least a decent driver. Yet, I’m often anxiety-ridden, as I lock my front door and unlock the car. I’m terrified to drive to new areas of town, and parking? Don’t even get me started on that deep-rooted fear!
#2: I’m not overly self-reliant. Need to go somewhere? Need something fixed? I’ll often ask for help, or at least consult with somebody before making a move. This is a really tough one to admit, as I’m an adult who really should be ‘adulting’ here.
Pre-driving? I was able to get rides where I needed to go, or figure out the best bus route. It wasn’t convenient, and a hassle for my loved ones, but it allowed me to stay a chicken. It also fed into my reliance on those around me, and let me get comfortable ignoring my fears.
Post-driving? What a fucking trip (no pun intended)! I’ve been forced to put on my “big girl pants”, and figure a lot of shit out…in the moment, on the fly, snap decision time, baby. Even though I have to literally sweet talk myself into getting behind the wheel when my anxiety flares up, it feels good to challenge that fear, and push through it. If a tough parking situation arises, guess what? Time to figure it out for myself. The process isn’t the smoothest, or the most graceful, but I always persevere one way or another. It feels like a monumental accomplishment each time I arrive at my destination safely, no lives lost, car intact.
I was driving my husband around yesterday, and I noticed something interesting: when somebody I’m really close to is in the car with me, the self-sufficient side of my brain wants to go on auto-pilot. We were needing to park in some challenging places (challenging for me), and I looked to him to tell me what to do! Seriously, you chicken? I need to problem solve and figure things out for myself! I didn’t realize what was going on in the moment, but upon reflection, I’m laughing at this new awareness. He’s not always going to be in the car to help, I won’t learn by shutting off my brain, and even though he’s a great driver, he’s not the king of the road. AKA: there are multiple ways to achieve the same goal, and I need to figure that out ON MY OWN. Getting tips is great, but not relying completely on somebody who isn’t controlling the car to make the next move.
The freedom I’ve gained from getting my license is huge! But the biggest freedom seems to be coming from the lessons I’m learning about myself, and the shadows I’m having to face.
What are some of your shadows? Are you able to put a little extra light on any of them?
With love (and light),