Lies, lies, lies. We tell ourselves stories that are not true. The more inclined you are to believe your own lies, it leads to self-doubt and chips away at your confidence. And before you know it you live within tighter limits. Before you know it your behavior changes to accommodate your lies. I convinced myself I couldn’t drive.
I drove locally, but I stopped driving in higher traffic areas and going on trips to visit loved ones. For anything other than local driving, I relied on my husband, Angel to drive me.
When he died, I had to confront my manufactured ‘fear’ of driving. It meant that I had to push myself beyond a comfort zone that kept me relying on Angel driving me everywhere.
Here’s a story of a time about a week after his death when I confronted my fear of driving big vehicles so I could teach myself how to drive a pick up truck.
My husband, Angel was the professional driver in the family. He could drive anything; cars, SUV’s, trucks, 16, 18 wheelers, RVs, campers, tractor trailers, anything.
Before I met Angel in 1989, I used to drive everywhere in my little car. Then 1 day he made a comment about my braking not being so smooth. He said that my stop made his stomach queasy. His comment hurt my feelings and dented my pride.
I told myself that I could never rise to the level of his driving expertise so why even try. I figured since I knew I had a professional driver in the family it became my job to enjoy being a passenger, enjoy the luxury of falling asleep and soak up the experience of being driven anywhere I wanted. Lazy! I know it.
Angel’s death came about 6 months after I had the run in with the strange man at our house in October 2020. As I wrote about in Part 1 of this series, I was scared to death and experienced some form of hysterical blindness.
I kept replaying the frightening event over and over in my mind. I became terrified to leave the house for fear of being accosted by that man.
But after Angel died, I knew it was time for me to get over my fears and also conquer my manufactured fear of driving. As a coach, I knew that just like a muscle that you don’t exercise at the gym, if you don’t do something over a period of time, you forget how to do it.
And then you convince yourself, you tell yourself the story that you don’t know how to do it. You may find yourself making up a story telling yourself that you’re incapable.
It was a week after Angel died. My son, PT and I were cleaning out the house preparing to move. One of the last remaining possessions in the house Angel’s ship. I bought it for him as a gift for one of our wedding anniversaries.
For as long as Angel had the ship, he loved and cared for it and considered it precious. I knew it meant a lot to him and so it meant a lot to me. It was a symbol of our love.
It was beautiful. It was about 5′ wide, and 4′ high and about 18″ at the base. At the time my car was a Volkswagon Jetta. PT and I tried to get the ship in through the back, the sides and the front of my Jetta. But there was no way that was going to work.
After realizing that we were not going to leave without the ship, I knew the burden of responsibility was on me. It was up to me to bring that ship to the safety in our apartment. I felt incredibly lucky that PT agreed to stay with me until I felt comfortable living on my own again.
With a renewed sense of moxy, I called the local UHaul and found out they were open. There was a little over an hour before they closed for the day. The sunlight was fading fast and my nerves were on edge.
As I stood at the rental counter, I could feel my hands and legs shaking out of control. I was trembling with fear. Thanks to doing some tapping rounds of EFT, I calmed myself enough to finish all the formalities and the keys were in my hand. After completing the checkout process, I drove straight across the parking lot.
Adjacent to UHaul, was a big Stop & Shop supermarket. Lucky for me, most of the parking lot was empty. I knew that driving the pick up around the empty parking lot would be the perfect way for me to get a feel for the truck so that would increase my level of comfort driving it.
That day in my life happened over 2 years ago. As the sun went down that evening, I was still driving to the 2 Bedroom apartment my son and I were sharing.
I was scared and nervous about driving at night, not entirely sure of the boundaries of my huge pick up truck. I kept on hugging the lines on the left. Despite the fact that I didn’t drive the pick up as well as Angel would have, I rose to the challenge and taught myself how to drive a pick up truck within an hour.
When we arrived at the apartment, my son, PT high fived me and said, “Mom, you’re a badass.” I knew you could do it. Dad would be so proud of you.”
The feeling of pride flooded me and it felt wonderful being called a badass. Since that evening, I’ve rented and driven several pick up trucks and it feels so natural and easy to drive them.
In the photo at the top of this story, it was taken last week. I rented another pick up truck to complete the move of our storage room. But that’s a story for another day.
Looking back on my history of driving, I realize that when I was younger I was more comfortable driving much larger vehicles. As I got older, and I needed reading glasses, that’s when I started telling myself that my eyesight was too poor to drive.
When I was faced with the task to bring Angel’s ship home to safety, I rose to the challenge because it was deeply important to me to demonstrate my love and appreciation for him.
In those few first moments of driving in the parking lot, I remembered how capable I was. I used a few rounds of EFT tapping to get my shaking and anxiety under control. After I was calm, I realized that I could teach myself how to drive a pick up truck. And so I did.
My why inspiring me to do it was much bigger than my fear of not believing I could.
The message to you is that when you are pressed up against a rock and a hard place, you can do anything. Don’t doubt yourself. Draw upon your experiences. Know that you’ve gotten through tougher spots before so you can take that same awareness and use that experience and apply it to whatever is the next challenge. You’re a badass. You can do this. If I can, you can.