Driving Over My Fear

Photo by Ben McLeod

Have you ever been afraid of something that to others and maybe even yourself seemed completely irrational but you are afraid of it anyway? It is something you avoid doing even though it may be present in your day to day activities. You see others doing it and nothing happens to them but you fear the unknown or maybe it was an unforgettable experience that kind of rubbed you the wrong way.

I was afraid of learning how to drive. I had a really bad experience and I allowed someone’s opinion to get the better of me. It was about two years ago and I was eager to learn how to drive. I had a light goods permit (which is just a fancy way of saying stick shift or manual) but my instructor was teaching me on an automatic. After a couple lessons, I asked, “When will I start on manual?” His response was one of shock saying that I should stick to automatic because manual was hard. On my first lesson on manual (in his old rusty truck that was leaking oil), he parked the van in the middle of a steep hill, we switched seats and after hastily going over the instructions once, he told me to move off.

Move off I did, except the van was going in the opposite direction! I pulled up the handbrake and was pressing gas but no matter how I pressed the gas the van keep rolling down the hill. Panic struck when an SUV then turned into the gap that my out of control vehicle was rolling down. The instructor waited until the van nearly hit before he stopped our vehicle. The lesson was over and so was my eagerness to learn how to drive.

I took me two years to get back behind the wheel through the urging of a friend of my mom’s who believed I should I be driving. I really didn’t realize how strong a fear it was until I was asked to start my mom’s van. There we were in a huge, flat car-park and I broke into tears. I told myself I could not do it, that manual was too hard but eventually, with some coaxing, I started the engine. Fifteen minutes later, I was driving around in circles, changing gears but more importantly I was conquering my fear.

I have realized that sometimes we make things out to be harder than they are. It can be in any area of your life, your health, job, relationships, etc, etc but the only way to conquer a fear is to go right through it. Do whatever it is you are afraid of. It might not work out but on the hand, there is a good chance that it will but you would never know unless you try.

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