Freedom and Fear

It’s a funny thing how your perspective on freedom changes as you get older. I remember when I was about 14 or 15, my friends would complain that they didn’t have their permit or their license yet (most of my friends were a year or two older than me) and how they wanted to get it so they could go places without their parents driving them there. I honestly didn’t care whichever way. I didn’t mind that my mom and dad drove me places or that I would have to ask people to drive me or that my parents wanted me home by a certain time.

Don’t take this the wrong way, I was/am certainly not the perfect child, but I feel like I missed the part in the book that tells you that you need to rebel against your parents and everything they tell you to do. Maybe it’s because my parents were always pretty chill when it came to curfews and stuff or maybe it’s because I’m the middle child and by the time I got old enough to be of that mind set I had already seen the consequences of it through observing my older siblings.

Also I’m not saying that my friends were wrong or silly or immature (although I mean, come one, they were like 15 or 16, a little immaturity is to be expected in some respects) or that they were selfish for wanting to be “free” from their parents. I’m saying that what we consider freedom, is very different from what freedom actually is.

When you are free, you have to make your own decisions, mistakes, whatever, your parents won’t always be there to help you or to catch you. Being free to go drive somewhere on your own comes with many responsibilities attached and as it turns out, that’s pretty scary. I’m not afraid of responsibilities or having to make decisions, but some aspects of this freedom do scare me.

Driving is one of them.

I know you thought this post was going to be really thought provoking and philosophical, but really it’s just me speculating as to why I am such an anxious person. I can’t get in the car without getting a nervous swishing in my stomach and having my heart pounding against my chest and dropping into that storm in my stomach.

The friends I spoke about earlier, who are pretty grown up now, are very good drivers and they seem totally comfortable driving for long stretches and parking in really tight spots and having the music blaring in the car. I on the other hand, can’t quite seem to reach that point. Even teenagers younger than me are great drivers and can do all the stuff I can’t!

I’d like to blame my overly active imagination. When I get in the car (or even think about having to drive somewhere) my mind immediately flips through every possible scenario for things to go wrong and those awful feelings well up again. I’d like to blame being sheltered by my parents (because I was home schooled yo!) but that doesn’t work either, because if you ever met my parents you’d know that being “sheltered” in my family is a joke! (Love you Mom and Dad :))

Honestly, I guess it’s just nerves…and something else. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. I thought by writing this post, the answer to this question would bloom in my mind, but it still hasn’t. Maybe it’s experience I need? Or confidence? Maybe both of those things? I’m not really sure what, although I do know that I’m okay with letting my parents drive me for now. At least until I figure out what the problem is and conquer it.

Then I think, that’s a really cowardly thing to do. But, what other choice do I have? Continue to be perpetually afraid of driving?

I guess at the end of it all, I’m wondering whether these feelings will fade or if I simply will get use to them. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

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12 comments

  1. Mrs. thetimman · · Reply

    I don’t think you need to worry about the driving fears … from what I know of you, you are competent enough to handle anything life throws your way.

    The “problem” probably lies in the fact that you lack confidence in your driving abilities because you haven’t had much experience driving on your own. That will come with time and practice. (Remember when you first began playing violin? You would have been a nervous wreck if your teacher had told you that just a few months after your first lesson you’d have to play Mozart in front of a bunch of people. Now that you’ve gained experience through practice, you have plenty of confidence in your abilities! Or at least become very good at faking it.)

    If it makes you feel any better, every time I have to drive in snowy or icy conditions, I get that same nervous feeling in my stomach — even though I’ve been driving since I was 16. (OK, so that wasn’t THAT long ago, right? …. right? Oh, I feel so old right now!) But this is because I avoid driving in those conditions so I have very little practice doing so. That and I probably worry too much about all the possible problems I could encounter.

    Try saying your Guardian Angel prayer when you get behind the wheel. It helps me stay calm — and even got me through teaching my daughter/your friend how to drive! :-)

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Mrs. T for your thoughtful advice. And you’re turning 25 this year, right? ;)

  2. Um, story of my life. Exhibit A: I’ve driven twice. Only once around people (and by people I mean there were two other cars and it was in a park at 6am), and I almost had a heart attack. You and I would not do well driving together.

    1. Can you imagine? “Can I turn do you think?” “Yeah yeah just really fast so we don’t get hit by that car that’s coming really fast…”

      It would be a disaster :)

  3. I love this post! I still get nervous behind the wheel, too. Especially when I’m by myself. Or on the highway. Or when I’m in drive. Ok, fine. I’m nervous about it all the time. And thanks, Mrs. T, for that vote of confidence. ;)

    1. Yeah, I feel like it’s getting better…but still. Eek!

  4. I can totally relate! I’m sooo scared of driving. When I first thought about getting my permit a couple of years ago, I was excited. But then I realized that I actually have to drive. In a car. Around people. And I realized just how dangerous it is, and just how many mistakes I make and/or could make.

    Needless to say, I’m scared to drive… And trying to learn driving in stick shift is like a bazillion times worse.

    -Tia

    1. Yes, this is exactly my reaction! Ugh, but I think it’s getting better for me…? hehe :)

  5. Yay! Finally, someone who doesn’t drive by choice! I used to think it was cool to drive, but now that I have to learn, it’s pretty scary. Cool blog! Update it, yeah?

    1. I know right? I’ve been getting better, especially since I have to get on the highways to go to work (gross).

      Thanks! I’m writing a post today actually! woot woot

  6. Once upon a time, there was a girl named Marie who never updated her blog. Picco read Marie’s blog and when Picco never saw any new posts, she curled up into a ball and cried herself to sleep. And she slept forever. The end.

    1. So tempting to mark this as SPAM! haha just kidding. I will update soonish?

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