I believe in the power of loving myself, even if my fears seem to get in the way. For me, loving myself means to understand that I am not a perfect human being, as cliché as that sounds. I am sixteen years old and still only ankle-deep in understanding who I am and how my fears and self-consciousness change me. Now that I’m older, I have tried making it a priority to search for my fears whether I want to or not. If I confront them now, they will only seem less important in the future.
I recently got my first car, a Volkswagon Passat, and after a few weeks, I have discovered that I am petrified of driving it. Don’t get me wrong, I love this car just as much as the next person, but I can’t help but think I would be perfectly happy to sell it off at a street corner and say “Auf Weidersehem” to that little German car. How can a girl hate driving her car so much? It all rolls down to one thing: the car has a stick shift. Oh, I cringe simply thinking about it; stalling out at every stoplight whilst the semi-patient drivers behind me quickly turn into an angry horde of beeping and flashing vehicles. Of course, I’m exaggerating, and I am slowly but surely improving with shifting gears every day, but I have gotten reacquainted with myself in the process. Driving by myself in that car has helped me to swallow that jagged little pill of fear that might try to distract me from the road, and I am able to think about more important things like actually getting home without flattening a stop sign or an unfortunate pedestrian. In reality, I am so thankful I have discovered this fear because it makes my other fears seem silly and unimportant.
I never once thought I would be one of those people that learned something deep and meaningful from their car. What I have learned from more or less battling with my fear, though, is life is too short to close myself off to that inner voice forcing me to seize the moment. That voice wants me to get reacquainted with the person I strive to be; the person I want to love and drive with forever.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.