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Tough Stuff

"My biggest fear is driving. My second biggest fear is admitting it"

Unlike most people—like my friends or my older sister—I didn't get my license when I was 16. Not at 17 either, or 18 or 19 for that matter. I'm 20 years old and I still am not legally able to drive a car.

Why? I dread the very idea of getting my license. It's not that I don't want to experience the freedom that comes with driving—because believe me, I do. I'm simply too afraid of the open road to get behind the wheel. 

But you want to know what's even more difficult than not being a licensed driver? Having to talk about the fact that driving scares me. Here, let me try to explain...

Why I'm afraid...
My fear of driving comes from a lack of trust in my own ability. If mess up, I could get injured. I could injure another driver. I could make a mistake that will impact the rest of my life. Essentially, making the wrong choice on the road at the wrong moment and hurting someone else terrifies me.

When I am driving, these thoughts come to me a lot. In fact, just the other day, I went out for a driving lesson with my instructor, my second lesson ever. Half way through our session I made the decision to pull over. I was so overwhelmed with the fear of messing up that the lesson was no longer effective.

Practice makes perfect...
"The more you practice the better you will feel." I hear this phrase pretty often. But like I mentioned earlier, my anxiety and panic consumes me. However, I do feel good about the fact that I'm pushing myself and that I am facing a fear. I might not be in the driver's seat solo yet, but each time I get behind the wheel is a tiny victory...even if I do get panicky.

Lets (not) talk about it...
Despite feeling good about facing my fear when I do, I know I won't feel great until I actually get have my license in my hands. Because until then, I have to tell people I don’t yet have one. These conversations are difficult because I am often asked why. When I go to family functions, I know it will be brought up. Someone will ask, "Do you even have plans of getting your license?" or "Why don't you have it yet?"

Sure, these questions seem harmless, and I guess for the most part they are. But they're asked so much that I no longer seem to have the right answer for people. Oftentimes, I feel like I'm being judged for being so afraid of driving, and I don't like being compared to my sisters and friends who were so quick to get get themselves in gear (no pun intended). As a result, I'm always looking for ways to avoid talking about it in conversation. 

In my own way...
Trust me, I want to get my license. That's another thing that gets under my skin: That the one thing stopping me from getting it is myself. Nonetheless, feeling this way isn’t a choice. This is not me being stubborn. This is me afraid. But, like I said, I am learning. I am trying. I am facing my fears little by little. 

Because even though driving is my biggest fear, I will not let it be my biggest limit.

Have you started your driving hours? Do you already have your license? Share your driving stories in the comments below.

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by Alyshia Hull | 2/7/2018
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