Sunday, January 29, 2012

Driving Me Crazy

Creativity works like breathing.  You can't breathe out without breathing in.  Before I have something to write about, I need to breathe in the world.  The beautiful, horrifying world.

"I wonder if we do not waste most of our energy just by spending every waking minute saying hello to ourselves."
-Annie Dillard

It's easier to breathe if I can get out of my head.  I spend at least eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, living as though my body were only a mobile stand to carry around my brain.  I need to get kick my shoes off and wiggle my toes, walk barefoot on a scratchy carpet or a smooth wooden floor.

I need to get outside and breathe fresh air, someplace away from traffic, off the clock, with nothing in my hands.  I need to just stand still somewhere and watch clouds float across a blue sky.  I need to be able to lean my head back and look up into the swaying branches of a willow tree.

On Friday Ken picked me up from work early so that I could write the test for my learner's permit.  On the way there we passed a car accident.  The intersection was littered with scraps of car.  When we got to the testing office, I got queasy.  I stood in the disgusting, stinking bathroom stall with scrunched straggles of toilet paper on the floor and the door bolt dangling from one loose screw, talking myself down, telling myself I wasn't allowed to be sick.  I wasn't allowed to manufacture an excuse not to take the test.

I wrote that stupid test.  And passed it.  It wasn't that bad.

Here's an example of the type of question that was on the test.

What should you do when a school bus stops in front of your car?
A) Honk and accelerate
B) Turn on your four-way-flashers and keep to the right
C) Execute a three-point-turn
D) Stop 20 metres behind the bus

As you can see, it wasn't an overwhelming challenge.

Day-to-day, anxiety is still close at hand, but I am dealing with it.  I am taking baby steps out of my comfort zone.  I am giving myself tough love, suspecting every physical symptom.  Dizziness, queasiness, fatigue: all these are manipulative tactics my fear uses to control me.  I refuse to let fear run my life.  It's used to having the upper hand, so it's pushing back as I push forward.

I'm stubborn.  If I have to take one step back for every two I take forward, I won't give up.


LL Cool Joe said...

I deal with anxiety all the time too, but I fight it because I'd do nothing otherwise. I can feel my world getting smaller sometimes because my fears cripple me, but I fight them daily.

Well done for passing your driving test. So I assume you wrote honk and accelerate then? :D

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Fear is certainly a powerful enemy. Best of luck kicking it's butt. Congrats on passing the test. The questions are so easy, I mean of course you honk and accelerate, duh.. well unless they have an option to fire your gun out the window to get them moving again.. then I would pick that one.

Jenski said...

Honk and accelerate is the answer? You Canadians are CRAZY. Congrats on both passing the exam andbeating that anxiety down.

DarcKnyt said...

We all knew you could do it! Congratulations. The driving portion of the exam will be just as easy, you wait and see!

We're rooting for you, Spark!

Lynn said...

Congrats on passing that test. Good job and I'm glad you were able to overcome the queasiness.

Sparkling Red said...

LL Cool Joe: I chose the four-way flashers, of course! ;-) Keep on fighting those fears. I'll be your cheerleader.

Ron: I was looking for an option that said to flip up your middle finger and yell at the primary schoolers to get a frackin' move on already, but for some reason that wasn't listed on the test.

Jenski: Thanks! And yes, aren't we crazy, eh?

DarcKnyt: Well if my road test examiner fails me I could always barf on him or her if I'm feeling anxious enough. ;-)

Lynn: Thanks! I figure if I can make myself feel sick, I can make myself feel well again too. The power of the mind works both ways.

G said...

Congrats on passing the test. I remembered when I took my first driving test, I was so nervous that I managed to psych myself and I failed the written in spectacular fashion.

Tracy Makara said...

Yay Spark! Congratulations on passing the test. :) Sorry to hear that the anxiety is still rearing it's ugly head. Fear is such a beast!

That example of a question is hilarious...but I do wonder how many people selected answers other than the obviously correct one? ;)

Jameil said...


DarcsFalcon said...

*fist pump* YAY Spark! Woo you! Good for you for passing the test, AND mostly for standing up to your fears and not letting them win! You did awesome!

I am so proud of you. :) I know that must sound silly, but I am. *hugs*