My life with a teen driver

I wonder if Arabella will ever get her license. She is 16 now, but I am hesitant to set up her driving test appointment because I don’t think she will pass.

My life is in danger. Just yesterday, she blew through a stop sign. She almost ran a red light. I had to yell at her to stop. Generally a relatively patient person, I screamed an obscenity as I watched my life pass before me as she changed lanes into another car’s path on a roundabout. The other driver pulled over as if my daughter was driving an emergency vehicle with sirens blaring. I simply screamed as I saw myself going towards the other driver as if in a nightmarish bumper car ride.

But that wasn’t all! Yesterday she cut off a driver on the highway almost causing an accident. The elderly man drove past her wagging his finger at her violently. He must’ve been a nice man. Most drivers lay down on the horn screaming what I can only imagine are obscenities while shaking their middle finger at her.

Maybe if she goes one week without someone flipping her off, then I will schedule her appointment. Even if she passes her test, I will worry about her driving. It doesn’t help that a close friend’s daughter died in a car accident last year when she was 16. Having a new driver is one of the most horrifying steps of independence for a parent.

To make matters worse, Arabella has zero sense of direction. I have to give her directions to places that she has been to a million times.

She also knows everything about driving and doesn’t want to listen to my 30 years of experience. Even though I never got any tickets or was ever in an accident. I didn’t even hit a deer which is unheard of around here. I did run into a septic tank cap up north a couple weeks back that I didn’t see which caused some front end damage to my car. But we won’t talk about that today.

I wish I could help Arabella be a better driver. It’s really no wonder I feel anxious. Maybe things will get better…

Luke’s visit, part 4

When we were young, my dad was a very cruel man. He is not like that anymore.

Luke said what terrified him the most was the train. It was one of his earliest memories. He remembers dad inching closer and closer to the tracks while the train was passing. He hid crying in the back window of the car as my dad and brother Mark laughed. He said I wasn’t there.

I don’t remember this being an isolated incident. I was there. I almost forgot about this. The train did not terrify me. I liked to wave at the man in the caboose when mom took us on walks. As kids, we lived near the railroad tracks. I found the sound of the train’s whistle to be rather soothing at night. We even saw a train derail in our lifetime, but not on those tracks.

I remember my dad doing other things like crossing the tracks right before the train passed. But I think he found much more satisfaction in waiting for the train to pass. He inched closer and closer until the front of the car seemed to kiss the side of the train car.

If you get really close to a train, it is squeaky and loud. The cars teeter and rock back and forth making an awful grating noise. Sparks fly. It seems like it could come off the tracks at any moment and destroy the car in a big ball of fire. My dad took the opportunity to scare Luke or any of us whenever he had the chance. I remember this happening several times with the train. I was there, but Luke does not remember that.

We couldn’t comfort our terrified sibling otherwise it would probably be our turn next. Compassion and empathy were not rewarded. In fact, they were more of a weakness. Laughter was probably the safest response. If you laughed or acted like it didn’t scare you, he wouldn’t do that to you. I often responded with no response. But Luke was terrified and I think he was too little to hide it.

My dad did other things to scare us in the car. He drove fast and laughed at us if we tried to put on our seat belts. He drove fast over hills. He would taunt us by saying that he had no idea what could be waiting on the other side of the hill. I was big enough to see out of the window, maybe they weren’t. There could be a family walking on the other side of the hill….a dog…another car and he wouldn’t be able to stop from hitting whatever could be on the other side. Sometimes he would drive up hills on the wrong side of the road.

I’ve had nightmares about him driving fast or going up steep hills not knowing what could be on the other side. I think it was also the root of my struggles with a fear of driving, especially hills. I was afraid of hurting someone. I was afraid of not having control over that. I couldn’t see what was ahead of me.

Today I am obsessed with conquering my fears. If the fear wins, so does my dad.

I built a big wall around myself. I have a thick shell. But maybe somewhere inside is that little girl who is kind and caring.

I don’t think that my mom even knew about the things our dad did when she wasn’t around.

 

Vegas, part 1

I am always filled with worry the first day…being so far from home and feeling less in control of the things I am not in control of anyway…

It was rough leaving. Paul had to slam on his brakes for a motorcycle in his blind spot after I screamed STOP on our way to the airport. It was stressful because at that point we were already running late in my book.

My youngest daughter Arabella blindsided me on the way out. She was starting a new job that same day and apparently didn’t fill out the online paperwork right. Mom, please help me… But I couldn’t miss the flight.

I was going to LV with my daughter Angel for a national singing competition. I didn’t want her to go alone…but to be honest, I always want to go somewhere I’ve never been.

On Friday morning, Angel and two of her college classmates competed against some of the best singers in the country. We had plans to meet up together at the swimming pool once everyone was done to celebrate their hard work and relax. Her friend did not pack a swimming suit so they were going to buy one and meet us at the pool later.

Angel and I were poolside for 2 seconds when my phone rang. It seemed odd that Cori would be calling me out of the blue in the middle of the day. Immediately Jen came to mind, our mutual friend that was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. It couldn’t be a good call and it wasn’t.

Cori called to tell me that the daughter of a best friend of ours was in a car accident and didn’t make it. What?? It couldn’t be true! I cried the words in disbelief into the phone as the people surrounding me were smiling and having fun playing in the sunshine.

Lisa’s daughter just turned 16 a couple months ago and recently got her driver’s license. She was driving with a friend to work that morning when she missed the curve. She hit a tree and her car became engulfed in the flames that killed them.

Death! How unfair you are!

The police came to the house that morning to tell Lisa something that no parent ever wants to hear.

I couldn’t believe it was real. I still can’t believe that it is real. Maybe Cori was mistaken. These kind of things just don’t happen.

I checked the Facebook page of Lisa’s daughter. Nothing. Just a new profile picture of her looking away, staring out beyond the wooded hills. Prom pictures. Quotes about love, how fast teenagers become adults, and future dreams…

I thought of the fun times we shared…Sitting next to her on the roller coaster when I was so frightened I screamed the whole time, she was so brave…Sharing a passion for running and going to races with her mother and her. Her bright smiles and warm hugs..

Gone. She’s gone and it is so unfair. She was a beautiful young adult with a bright future. She truly was a good person. I wish I could take away Tom and Lisa’s pain. I couldn’t get it out of my mind..

It wasn’t long before Angel’s friends met us at the pool. I felt like I had to keep things together. It was a happy and exciting day for them. I had to try my best to keep it that way, but inside I was a mess. You just can’t be fine when you hear the news of a close friend’s child dying unexpectedly in a horrible way even if you are sitting poolside in the sunshine.

Ten minutes after Angel’s friends arrived, a kid puked in the pool and it was closed…

 

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #12

Fearless courage is the foundation of victory.

I have a lot of fears.

It would probably be easier making a list of things I am not afraid of.

Ironically, I am not afraid of confronting my fears.

But I think that has more to do with my fear of letting fear control me.

Does that make me courageous?

There was a time when driving on the highway would fill me with extreme anxiety. I was fine one minute, then the next I was filled with panic. The tunnel vision would start. Blackness slowly enveloped me until I couldn’t see the cars around me. I started sweating profusely. I had to open the car windows even if it was in the dead of winter. The noise from the radio became really loud. I needed silence. I had to slow down. I had to get off the highway or I was going to die. I muttered frightened prayers. I had to keep breathing..

For years, I dealt with this…the panic attacks out of the blue while driving. For a long time, I could only drive from one entrance ramp to the next exit. I felt like a complete failure every time I had to get off the highway as my body shook and trembled uncontrollably with fear.

I kept at it though. It was a very long process of celebrating small victories. At first, it was driving on the highway and making it past two exits. I’m not sure how the fear started in the first place. I was never in an accident. I think it had to do more with feeling tired. I suffered a bit from highway hypnosis. I was afraid that I would fall asleep and kill someone. I had fallen asleep while driving before. Coffee only made things worse. Instead of being awake and focused, it made me jittery and nervous.

I am the type of person that has a hard time sitting down and not being preoccupied without falling asleep. I can fall asleep during the best movies, but sometimes have trouble staying asleep at night. Why??

When I started feeling groggy while driving, I would go into hyper alert mode and start feeling anxiety. After awhile I paired driving with anxiety and boy was that hard to break. I pretty much conquered that fear now. But I am still afraid of long distance highway driving. I’m afraid that it wouldn’t take much to unravel everything I did.

How can I follow my dreams of traveling the world if I am terrified by almost every mode of travel?? I had to keep doing it even if I was afraid. I have to keep driving. I have to keep flying. Nothing conquers the fear of flying more than booking a flight half way around the world. Trust me! I was terrified more about the prospect of a 20 hour flight than I actually was doing it. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be.

Last summer I was utterly terrified to complete my first Half Iron. It seemed insurmountable as I watched the huge waves pound the shore. My legs felt like rubber on the bike. But after I finished, I felt unbelievably victorious. It was such an accomplishment for me.

This summer I signed up for my first trail marathon through the bluffs. I will be sleeping the weekend of the race in a tent. I have no doubt that this is going to be very challenging. Running a marathon over hilly terrain after a sleepless night in a tent will not be a piece of cake. I am afraid.

I will be doing this for my birthday. Why I can’t just get drunk and feel like crap the normal Wisconsin way is beyond me…

I know that if I can do this, it will take the cake as the best birthday ever!

I have a lot of fears, but I am willing to fight them.

If fearless courage is the foundation of victory…I don’t think you can have courage without being afraid of something first. The trick is not letting fear win.

 

Taking the long way home

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Last night Angel and I got back home from the Lana Del Rey concert. We ended up taking the long way home…

We headed out to Minneapolis early Friday afternoon and got to our downtown Minneapolis hotel by late afternoon. It was still cold outside with wind chills below zero. Even though we were only a couple blocks away, I was concerned about walking outside on a cold frigid night.

The hotel had an indoor walkway that we could walk to the concert in, but it closed at 8 PM. Although we had a map, we got turned around several times in the walkway. There weren’t as many signs as we thought there would be. Someone stopped us and gave us the wrong directions. We met up with another couple that was just as lost as we were. The girl was wearing a mini skirt and a jean jacket. I told her that she would have to walk back outside on the way back.

Surprisingly, despite getting lost, we made it to the concert a little early which gave us time to go through security, find the bathroom, and get a drink before the show. I spent $15 on a 4 oz old-fashioned that tasted like utter crap. I watered it down with Angel’s soda but it was still undrinkable. Gross!

Angel’s friend was going to meet us there and sit by us, but she came down with the stomach flu. The show itself was phenomenal. It was the biggest concert I ever went to. Before that the biggest concert I was at was back in the early 90’s seeing Reo Speedwagon at the county fair. This was Lana’s first concert of her new tour, so being the first show and being an inexperienced concert goer, I really didn’t know what to expect.

I was thinking about bringing ear plugs, but Angel said that would make me look way too old. I was already instructed not to look like a mother. Some of the young girls barely wore any clothes which concerned the mother within me a whole lot on such a cold night. There were a few other middle aged concert goers. Most were in their early twenties. The whole row behind us seemed to be in their early 20’s and were all smoking pot. The young couple next to me was making out the whole time. Seriously, I could have used a better drink.

Afterwards, I was satisfied that my ears did not ring. The acoustics were great. Lana played a lot of songs that we knew and she had a great performance. We walked back to the hotel in the cold. I had a hard time pulling up the hotel on my phone’s map. I was a little afraid that we would walk around the city in circles until we froze to death. Although my daughter is an adult, I felt responsible for her safety. We were very cold, but we were able to find our way back before we froze to death.

The next day we had lunch plans with an old college friend that lives near the city. She hadn’t seen my daughter since she was a toddler. It has been over 8 years since we last saw each other. We had a really nice visit, but had a long drive home.

I fell asleep on the way home which hardly ever happens. In my defense, I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night and felt rested. I was the only one that knew how to get home and since I was sleeping, we missed the exit. I woke up to different scenery. We drove a few more miles before I had the nagging suspicion that something wasn’t right. Sure enough, my little siesta cost us an extra hour of driving.

What good is knowing the way if I couldn’t show the way to go?? Seems like another whole philosophical blog topic, but I am much too tired to form a thought. I would like to think that we circumvented a crash on the interstate. But the truth is that I am getting old and tired..I fell asleep and wasn’t paying attention.

However,the long way home was a more scenic route with its rolling hills, cranberry bogs, marshes, reeds, and woods. I wanted to stop several times to take pictures, but I also wanted to get home and felt bad for making our trip a lot longer than necessary. So I snapped a few pictures when we stopped for a stop sign.

Angel and I did a lot of talking on our long trip home. It was nice having some uninterrupted time to visit. Next weekend she will be leaving to go back to college. It will probably be a couple more months until we see each other again. Despite taking the long way home, we had a lot of fun together..

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drive

I had a busy weekend.

Paul and I left home early Saturday morning to set up a booth at a trade show. After a couple hours of working, we drove a couple more hours to see Angel at college. We arrived to see her a couple hours before her show. We haven’t seen her since we dropped her off at college in August.

There were some repercussions of leaving home earlier than the kids. Thankfully this time though it did not require a new bathroom floor. It was more along the lines of them thinking that they could both take a shower when it was time to leave to meet up with my mom. They were late and there was tension. Not to mention that things were forgotten.

Thankfully everything else went according to my plan. We were able to get at the restaurant early enough to get a table for 14 people and make it to the show on time. Angel had a lead role in the college opera and would be on stage for the first half hour only. If things went off rail, we could miss her part entirely. Several friends and family drove several hours to get there, got a hotel room, and some had to get a babysitter. Needless to say, a few minutes off on my time management could’ve been a huge disaster.

The show was awesome. Watching your child perform at a high level is very close to performing yourself. It is anxiety provoking, yet exhilarating. I was able to visit with Angel the next morning before she had to perform again. Then came the long ride home.

At 10AM, I dropped Paul off at the local airport. He had a business meeting. Instead of driving the 4 hours home and flying out, I decided it would be quicker for him to fly out where we were. Just 2 connecting flights and 10 hours later, he reached his destination.

I had to make the drive back with Arabella. I almost had a panic attack after I dropped Paul off at the airport before visiting Angel. It was a unseasonably warm and sunny day. Pedestrians and bikers were everywhere. Not to mention road construction and heavy traffic. I kept getting notifications on my phone for the flight which covered my navigation. I think I went through a red light since I was so flustered.

If you told me 5 years ago that I would be driving 4 hours without another driver in my car, I would’ve told you that you are crazy. I used to have panic attacks while driving. It would happen out of the blue. First, I would sweat profusely. I had to open my windows, even in the middle of winter. I couldn’t breath. I needed air, fresh air. Then the tunnel vision would hit. I would have to slow down. I’m sure that I swerved around a lot. I thought I would die or worse yet kill someone else on the road. I had to pull over at the first exit. My whole body would shake.

It was a horrifying experience. But I would not let fear control me. I forced myself to go back on the highway. Even if it was from one on ramp to the next off ramp. It was grueling and tedious. I wasn’t sure if I could even conquer my fear. But I had to put myself out there again and again or I wouldn’t be able to leave the house unless someone else would drive me. I felt feelings of failure when I could only drive a couple of miles from my house without panicking. But I kept at it and now I can say that I am almost completely able to drive without panic attacks.

I am also one of those annoying people that can’t seem to sit still. If I sit down without anything to occupy my mind, I will probably fall asleep. If the movie is not great, I fall asleep and I fall asleep sometimes even if it is.

Did I mention that I didn’t sleep that great in the hotel room?

I have fallen asleep while driving before. After about 2 hours on the road, I was starting to drift off. I knew this was happening because a stationary object bounced out into my vision. I think it was a garage. This has happened before when I was really tired.

Typically when Paul is tired, he can pull over for a cup of coffee. He instantly is energized and can drive for hours. It doesn’t work for me. Extra coffee makes me jittery and anxious while driving…more likely to have a panic attack.

I looked over at my passenger, Arabella, who was sound asleep. Did I want to wake her? Then I remembered our conversations in the car over this past week week…Mom, how old were you when you first had sex?? Were you in high school? College?? The interrogation went something like that…Ah, better just let her sleep.

I pulled it together and got us home safely. I knew I had no other choice. It was a great weekend, but long….very long, especially the drive.

 

I’m (not) worried

I don’t really feel like writing today. The weekend went really well and poorly.

Paul and I were really stressed out this past week.

Thankfully, Arabella’s fever was gone by Saturday morning. She wasn’t 100%, but was up for a 4 hour road trip to see my daughter Angel perform.

Alex wasn’t fairing as well. His bacterial colitis was acting up and he couldn’t get treatment until we brought in a specimen.

By Saturday morning, I was feeling pretty stressed. Still no sample. I decided to work out Saturday morning like usual.

Paul and I were not getting along the last few days. While I was working out he sent me a text. I think you are a great mother. What did that mean?? I took it as an attack. I responded back with something like SCREW YOU and found out that he really meant it later. Misunderstandings..

We took separate cars since we had a large crew going out to the show…a ten mile run…a long drive…no sample..

I picked up my mom on my way.

It was my dad’s birthday. He turned 70. I rolled down my window and said happy birthday in a rushed murmur as I pulled away. A card and gift forgotten. Guilt. My dad didn’t go along.

The show was excellent! I am so proud…my daughter, the only freshman girl with a lead in her first opera. Magnifico!

I was expecting an introduction to the new guy she was talking about. Nothing. He is out of the picture. She told her ex to not bother coming to the show. Instead Mitch made the long drive to our house when we were gone to drop off Angel’s things. He dropped off 2 sweaters. Okay?!?

No fight between two guys out in front of the university cathedral like I was expecting.

After the show, a few of us went out for drinks. It was Darryl’s first time out since his wife passed away. After we got settled in, my son said that his stomach was hurting and that I was a terrible mother. We all raced back to the hotel right away.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next morning we visited over breakfast before the long drive back. I told everyone that I gave up worrying for Lent. Some snickered, others laughed. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it. Maybe next year I will give up depression for Lent. Will that be easier??

Then we started the long drive back home. On the way, I killed a dog. Maybe I should clarify…when I was exiting a small town on a 2 lane highway…a small black lab puppy trailed by a purple leash ran out of nowhere. I slammed on the brakes. I had to maintain control of the car. There was woods on one side and a bog on the other. Stay on the road..Smack…I hit the puppy with the purple leash hard. Gone. He took off. I pulled over..Car and trucks whizzed by. No damage to the car. No sign of the dog..

My son got out and walked up and down the highway..no dog..we kept looking..we drove around. Where were the owners?? There was a truck parked by a trail. Alex walked over and talked to them. It was their puppy. He got away.. I was proud that my son took care of the situation..Where was the puppy?? Injured somewhere, dying in pain? I hit him pretty hard. Don’t worry..Why, why me?? Do you want me to stop worrying?? Wwwwhhhhhhyyyyy???

After about a half an hour, we finally left…the owners of the dog keep searching…I am shook up..I just killed a puppy…a baby dog…I can’t get the image out of my mind…My daughter texted me. How could you?? As if I didn’t feel shitty enough about it.

I get home later than expected…late to play practice…I just miss my big scene by seconds…I feel so angry and frustrated I want to scream out obscenities…but there are children around…I sit down and smile…and start the hardest act yet…pretending that everything is okay..

Can we just start the year over??

 

The boy in the trunk

I received my first call from the principal’s office the beginning of the school year.

I really wasn’t expecting it because for the first month of school their automated lunch reminder was on the fritz. I was used to getting calls every day telling me that my lunch account had a remainder of $0.99. Payment will be necessary or service will be denied. Good thing I didn’t hang up right away expecting the automated message. Otherwise I probably would’ve had my picture on the bad parent bulletin board that I suspect administrators, teachers, and staff have to throw darts at when they really get pissed off at our kids.

It started back in grade school, the first call from the principal’s office. Back in those days, my son and a few of his buddies decided to moon the kids on the playground. They all got suspended for a few days.

Most of the calls I received over the years were for similar mischievous pranks. This time was no different than many of the others.

It was the Friday of homecoming when my son decided to leave the school at lunch with a group of friends (against school rules for sophomores). There were so many friends in his (my) car that there really wasn’t enough room for them all (probationary license violation). So his friend Jay decided that he wanted to be transported to the local fast food dive in the trunk (wrong on so many levels). Seriously, what if my son got rear ended?

Not long after that, I received a visitor that came calling to my door late on a Friday night.

Just a little recap of other visitors that came calling to my door late on a Friday night.

There was a boy named Jake, his mom came to my door to say he ran away. (We found out later that Jake was hiding out at Isaac’s house). In the meantime, his dad flew in from the east coast. We scoured the corn fields, pinpointed stops along railroad track maps, printed out posters with his picture, and searched abandoned buildings, new construction, and storage sheds all while his grandmother cried. Not a good knock on the door.

There was another Friday night door knock from another parent regarding bullying that Isaac did to another boy. That was the first warning bell that went off that something wasn’t right about his friend Isaac. Eventually he got expelled from school for selling drugs. His mother said that he had aspirations of being a pharmacist. Wow, while in middle school. **((*^&*%%$&^$!!!!!

We received another late Friday night knock saying that Isaac ran away.  A few months ago, Isaac moved away. This will (hopefully) be the last time that I mention his name.

The latest Friday night knock on the door was from Jay’s mom. She stopped by to scream at me. Apparently, my son had an agreement with Jay that he would give him unlimited rides this year if Jay does it next year. Jay’s mom was pissed off that she had to pick up her son. Don’t I know that she works third shift?? She screamed at me and before I could say a word, she sped off squealing tires.

I could understand completely if she was mad that my son drove around with her son in the trunk of the car. I just don’t get some of these parents! Really?

Then a miracle happened…. My son said that he wanted to get into a good college. He said that his goal was to be on the honor roll. I almost passed out. For the past three years he failed so many classes that he was on the edge of having to take summer remedial classes.

What happened?? Did he want to prove to his new girlfriend that he was smart? Was it because the bad kid moved away? Was it all of grandma’s extra prayers?? Or is he just finally growing up?? This past quarter he almost made the honor roll. To me it is not achieving being on the honor roll that matters as much as the striving for it. He cares enough now to try for it.

And to think that I thought my best option was to avoid being home on a Friday night!

 

I didn’t hit a deer, but…

Can you believe that I live in Wisconsin and never hit a deer?? I probably shouldn’t have said that, now I am doomed..I remember as a kid riding up north with Aunt Grace. She always said, “I wonder if we will see a deer?” It never failed that one would pop out of the woods after those words were spoken.

I didn’t hit a deer this past month, but I almost got hit by a car while out running. I was very angry and it prompted me to rant on Facebook about running etiquette for drivers. Seriously! After that post, the people that know me have given me a wider berth and do a lot of waving.

I also was the victim of road rage. There was a guy at the stop sign across from me. He was going straight and I was turning left. I waited for awhile and he didn’t make a move, so I started to head into the intersection. It was at that point that he floored it around me. I slammed on my brakes while he accelerated squealing tires, literally burning rubber, and spewing up rocks that scarred my car and scared me.

In both situations, I didn’t have time to respond. I didn’t honk my horn, give them the finger, or get a good description of the vehicle.

Then I hit a raccoon. This wasn’t just an ordinary raccoon either. It was the size of a small horse or large dog. It looked like it had been hitting up the Halloween candy big time, like REALLY BIG time. It left the front end of my car hanging on the ground and me having to come up with lies, more lies, something I am not good at doing.

Why would I lie? The dark evening that I hit the raccoon, I was picking up my daughter from a car pool. Angel had a day off of school and wanted to come home to surprise everyone. Paul was out of town for business and would come home to see our daughter unexpectedly there. I was the only one that knew of these plans. So I had no explanation for being out that night when I said I was going to be home all evening.

So here I was with a smashed front end that ended up costing over $1,000 in damages. That kind of excitement was hard to mask during a quiet uneventful evening spent at home.

My daughter received a ride home from the mother of a girl that she used to be friends with. This girl almost dropped out of college because she thought that the music program was too competitive and blamed it on my daughter. So the 4 hour ride included glares from the mom and awkward silence.

But apparently the long, uncomfortable ride home was worth it for Angel to surprise the family. It was pretty exciting to see everyone’s reaction. It was the first time she was home since she left for college.

Yesterday, I got my car fixed. I never would’ve guessed that a raccoon could do so much damage. Afterwards, I took a little detour and wandered through the garage to watch the mechanics work on vehicles. I knew I shouldn’t have been there. I felt like I was sneaking through the surgical department, but no one kicked me out. In situations like those, it is always smart to play the dumb blonde card.

My little adventure did cost me though. I ended up going out the wrong door and spent the next half hour wandering around the huge parking lot looking for my car. Embarrassingly enough, I had to ask for help finding my vehicle. I thought I would have to buy a new vehicle from the lot to get back home. Hey, it was starting to get cold out.

Being in the garage gave me a brief second of nostalgia for the old family auto business. I love the smell of garages, gasoline, and rubber tires (not burning ones though). It brought back childhood memories of my grandma ringing up the antique till, the rows of tires for sale, and Uncle Harold working on the cars. That is all gone now.. They are all gone now..

I am such a sentimental sap.. I picture them forever working there in my head..They are breathing, living on a faded out film that continuously loops through my head..they always look the same and wear the same clothes..

What can I say? It makes me happy, yet so sad.

Anyway, my car is up and running now. Let’s just hope I don’t hit a deer!

 

 

2. Describe 3 legitimate fears

Day 2: Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

This required a lot of thought. Every fear that I could think of that I have boils down to one big legitimate fear…The fear of not being in control. I am not sure why I feel like I need to be in control all of the time or why I feel responsible for things that happen that are beyond my control. I think that I have some basic trust issues.  For a long time it seemed like my life was ordered by chaos. It suffocated me. I tried everything to feel like I had some iota of control. I wanted to force change and be the magnet that forces the pendulum to swing in the other direction.

I have a fear of driving. For a period of time, I took medication to face this fear. I refused to stay at home to hide from this fear. I feared being trapped in my car which would bring on panic. If concrete construction barriers or bridges lock me in, I feel afraid. For awhile, I expended a lot of energy trying to be the perfect driver. I kept my car exactly in the middle of the white lines. There also was a period of time that I avoided the highway altogether. This was difficult because it was slow going the back way and I like to drive fast. Highway driving is boring, when I’m not anxious I fear falling asleep or not having a quick enough response if there is an emergency. Again, this boils down to not feeling like I have control. I can’t control the other drivers on the road. I feel afraid that I can’t guarantee that I will be able to keep my passengers or myself safe. Long road trips where I am the driver scares me. I haven’t totally gotten over this fear, but I won’t let it control me. Again, control.

I am afraid of flying which is difficult since I love traveling. I don’t have control over, or even know, the person flying the plane. Again, flying sometimes requires meds to prevent me from panicking. Taking meds is a struggle because it makes me feel like I can’t control my fear. I think the fear of flying stems a little from my dad being a pilot as a hobby. For most of my childhood, he was in charge of a civilian based group that would search for downed planes. He often would take calls in the middle of the night to get search teams together. It made me think that flying was not safe. 

I am afraid of death. When my dad was in the Vietnam War, he thought that he wouldn’t die there because he could foresee his future death. He said that he would die on Christmas Eve of 2011. That day came and past and he is still here. Having a future death date had one purpose. It took away his fear of death in Vietnam when his friends were dying. 

I tell everyone that I am going to die of dementia like others in my family did. I dream of not knowing that I am dying. Will the heaven that I believe in really be there? Or will life end in an empty meaningless void like it did before I existed? Will it hurt to take my dying breath? Part of the reason why I am a fitness fanatic is that it makes me feel like I have some control over time. Exercise will make me live longer. Cancer doesn’t run in the family. I have low blood pressure and cholesterol, so I ruled out heart disease as my demise. Thinking that I won’t know that I am dying takes the sting out of it. Death is something I have no control over. Will it be tomorrow, next year, or decades from now?  It scares me to death. 

Not only do I fear death, but I also fear that my loved ones will die or be in incredible pain. I try to control this by giving unsolicited advice. Don’t drink too much! Wear your seat belt! The more I push, the more they pull away. I would rather be in pain than see the people I love suffer. I want to be in control of their change.

I am afraid that my life partner will die before we do everything we planned. 

I have to always have control over myself. I have to control my emotional response. I’m stoic. I fear things that could cause an outburst of emotion. I fear inappropriate laughter. I am afraid I won’t have complete control over my mind or body if I let go. This frightens me. Fear stops me from relaxing. 

I have to double check the oven and coffee pot because it gives me a false control that my house will be safe when I am gone. I have to be the last one to leave the house. I am afraid that if I don’t have things under control, the house will burn down. I also am afraid that my cat will get caught in the blind cords and die if I leave him alone for the weekend. I am afraid to be the first person back in the house when we return. 

I can’t stand being controlled by my circumstances, of being physically or emotionally trapped in situations I can’t control. 

I am more fearful of the weather controlling my comings and goings instead of the storm itself. No control over the weather.

I am afraid that I will get sick and have to change my plans. No control over my body.

I have to be the last one to bed and the first one up in a group setting. I feel like I have to be ready to step in and control how people get along. I hover. Watching. Waiting. Taking control of the situation, problem solving in my mind. 

Staying up until the last kid gets home makes me feel like I have control. 

I guess I am a control freak because the thought of not being in control freaks me out!

I try incredibly hard to not let any of this fear control my life…

On the plus side, I am not afraid of spiders, water, snakes, scary clowns, or public speaking.