I am going to divulge something to you all I am extremely embarrassed to say: I am 33 years old and have never had a driver’s license.
Not because I failed the tests. While I have aced the learner’s permit written test several times, I have never taken the driving test. Ever. I’ve never even scheduled it.
You see, when all the other 16 year olds in my age bracket were taking driver’s education classes or learning from their parents on back roads out in the middle of nowhere, I was resisting every offer made to me to learn myself. I convinced everyone I didn’t want to take Driver’s Ed because it was too expensive. I told my parents I didn’t feel comfortable enough in their vehicles to drive them. My dad’s truck was too big. My mom’s car too small.
The one thing I failed to mention to anyone was that I was freaking terrified. I mean, there were a lot of factors that contributed to this fear. Vader attacked and abused me not long before my 16th birthday. My grandparents died in a car crash when I was almost 17. I’d once pretended to drive my mom’s car when I was 12 and accidentally ran into another car in the same parking lot, then had to explain to the police what happened because no one believed that my parents hadn’t caused the accident.
Driving during the teen years is seen as complete and utter freedom. For me, though, driving brought up bad memories. And freedom at that time was even scarier. Freedom meant free from everything. I wanted to be in control of everything, though. It was the only way I felt safe. I have spent years terrified in cars because I have no control over any of it.
I had my permit a few times in my late teens, but that was obviously over a decade ago. I know many, many people have teased, harassed, and outright made fun of me for “not knowing how to drive.” Well, I do know how. To a point, I suppose. I was a good driver but a really slow, panicky one because everything frightened me.
Several friends and relatives have offered to teach me since then, including Diesel, but I always refused. Then my therapist came along. She forced me to confront the fears that kept me from experiencing something a lot of other people do. I couldn’t hide behind excuses and simple “no” answers anymore. She would challenge the “no” with “why not?”
Well, I am proud to say that I now have my permit once again. And for the first time ever, I have a car. MY OWN CAR!!! This is a HUGE deal. Diesel bought me a car so I can work my way to the freedom I am longing for now.
I don’t care how long it has taken me to get here. I’m just glad I’m here.