Prompt #12:

These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following:

Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel?

Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes?

Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?

Now Do. The Thing. You Fear.

(Prompt Author: Lachlan Cotter)

My Response:

I have a real fear of driving long distances, especially at night. I fear getting lost, I fear other cars driving dangerously, I fear getting hurt or killed and my children being hurt or killed. I feel like I am often risking too much getting into a car and driving. To me, this anxiety seems founded on reason. Imagine hurtling down the freeway at enormous speeds in heavy objects. The cut-and-dry physics of it doesn’t seem to favor the human animal. Add in to that people who are inattentive while driving, who are cutting people off, who are tailgating, who are speeding in the rain, etc. I do not trust the safety of this process. It would only take one bad driver to tear away from my life all that I hold dear. I know how much luck plays a factor in our survival.

Part of my fear also is getting lost. This is also a reasonable fear, as my sense of direction is not as masterful as I would like it to be. It would help to have a GPS someday. I fear making wrong turns, ending up in a bad neighborhood, and meeting with trouble. I fear fake policemen. I fear ending up in the boonies and no one looking for me there or finding me. Things like that. Chances are, none of that will happen. Yet thoughts like those feed into my reticence to drive in unfamiliar places.

Routes I am familiar with are fine. I tend to have confidence with those routes if I have driven them frequently. I always have butterflies, though, if I ever have to drive myself some place new—especially if it is out of town. I usually wait for someone else to be able to drive for me.

The consequence of this is that I don’t end up doing half of the things I want spontaneously to do, like pop in on my Nana in Orange County more often or drive up to see my best friend. I have a completely independent spirit that is not totally expressed because of this fear. I fantasize about taking the kiddos up north to see friends and family even during the year while my husband is working (not just during his breaks and vacations). I would wholeheartedly road trip all over the place if I felt that I, as a woman on the road alone with two kiddos would be totally safe. I’d be likely to drive them all around the Pacific Northwest on adventure. I want to build the confidence that I can handle myself in any situation.

I conquer this fear constantly when I feel it to be in the best interest of my children, such as classes and friend activities. Yet I want to conquer it for my own friendships and time with family, too. I do not see my best friend as often as I would like to, for example, because she lives a couple of hours away at the end of a complicated route (it feels to me), and I worry that many things could do wrong on such a drive. I have had Bill with me attending random events (such as getting a maid of honor gown) simply because I was too stressed about the drive to the boutique. I am sure everyone wondered why he was there. This past year, especially, I have been working consciously on driving to more and new places by myself with the kiddos. The problem is that I have never felt invincible, and I never will. I do not have the temperament of a big risk taker (as I have mentioned before), especially physical risks that could result in injury or death. Unfortunately, I very much view driving in that category.

The telling thing, though, is that I know my fear must be somewhat irrational because I am often more at peace when other people are driving. So there must be something about having the physical risk be my sole responsibility that worries me.

So how do I get over this fear? A GPS would help, more defensive driving practice for me, and just forcing myself to take more and more leaps of faith in getting to new places I guess. Maybe I should plan a few longer day excursions for my children and me when Bill is back at school. Maybe I need to study the probabilities of driving/accidents and let my number sense help mitigate the fear.

If I had written this answer for a prompt in school, I would have to give myself maybe a C- since I have really failed to stay on task here. I have neither written in my future voice, nor really answered most of the questions. However, after a very busy day at an amazing family party for my Nana’s birthday, this is truly the best I can do!