There are very few things in life that are outside of my comfort zone. I have few inhibitions and only a few fears. One of my issues is that I am truly not fond of wearing shorts. (It is others who should be afraid of me wearing shorts.. but I digress…) but when I visit tropical places, I will drag a pair out of the moth balls. I am also a little afraid of dentists, and I would do just about anything not to go, but I do. Finally, I am really not happy about doing math, and although it is not a fear, I do avoid it as much as possible.
There is one thing, however, and those of you who know me are already raising your hand shouting “Oh oh.. pick me, pick me!!!”, that seriously scares me to death. Everyone knows that driving on the highway is WAY out of my comfort zone. Driving is so far out of my comfort zone… well let’s just say that it can’t be measured.
People will say “Just DO IT and you’ll get used to it”. Nope!
People will say, “You must have been in some terrible accident to cause such anxiety!” Nope!
I have no idea why I am so afraid. In fact, most of my family does not drive. Even my father didn’t have a driver’s license, and if you ever experienced my mother’s driving, it is a wonder I’ll get in a car at all. Living in New York as children, my sisters and I have a very vivid memory of the ONE time my father drove the car. It was at night, which is still amazing to me since my parents went to bed at 8:00 p.m. Anyway, it was night, Dad was driving and suddenly there was a red light. Dad sailed through the light without blinking an eye and told us very matter of factually that it was o.k. and that red lights are only used in the day time! Hmmm, maybe that explains it!
Needless to say, when I began my Red Shoe Life journey, driving was one of my main “bug-a-boos”. I was not certain I could tame this beast, but I announced that I was going to try.
It was sort of like cheating, because I was familiar with the route to my sister’s house, and although it was a long haul, it did not have a big highway or any sort of a bridge. I was determined to do it, and psyched myself into a frenzy. It was sort of like in the movies when they slap your face and make you breathe smelling salts. The bell was ringing and the champ was going in!!!
The trip began early, but late enough to have missed rush hour in Mississippi. I had my co-pilot with me, just in case I needed to use the parachute. Within 20 minutes of the starting line, I pulled the ripcord and baled.
Sweat dripping from my chin and shaking like a hip reducing exercise machine, I handed over the wheel and sulked in the passenger seat. What the hell! I didn’t even make it to the highway and I was almost in a coma. So freakin’ frustrating! I was so pissed! Over the next few hours, we would switch seats and I would drive for a distance….. usually in a straight line on a two lane road. I was getting a little bit braver, but the pain in my chest felt like I was breathing through a straw, and I was certainly not conquering anything today.
We eventually found our way to our destination and I spent a very pleasant week with my little sis. The only small mar in my wonderful vacation was that neither one of us was willing to drive and we missed out on some possible good times. This was ridiculous! Were we somehow abused as children and strapped to the hood while on family outings? No, that wasn’t it, I was usually the kid sick as a dog in the rear facing pop up seat of the wood-look station wagon It was driving me nuts, no pun intended, how can a grown woman who has a perfect driving record on every other kind of road, be so neurotic about highway driving???
I tried not to think about it, and enjoyed my wonderful vacation, but when the week was over, I decided to give it one last try, and reluctantly poured myself into my Mini Cooper. I whimpered, cried and dove onto the shoulder in complete hysteria so many times that I managed to pull a muscle in my neck! I drove 10 miles under the speed limit and wouldn’t stop to pee unless the gas station was directly at the top of the exit ramp. Finally, the familiar roads of home came into view and my 6 hours of torture were over. I unfolded myself from the car and felt the sweat run down my back as I stood up. What in hell was I doing? I’m afraid to drive, and yet, here I am. Done and done. I am very proud of my somewhat accomplishment, and my family reacted like I was the first to get a diploma! Congratulations all the way around as they were feverishly making plans for me to drive them cross country!
Driving is out of my comfort zone, but I did it. It has not cured me of my fear of highways, but it has given me self esteem. Except for those blackmail pictures taken when I threw up on Highway 45, I thought it didn’t go that badly. I had another notch on my belt. Self esteem is a pretty cool thing.
Living a Red Shoe Life means you are proud of yourself and your accomplishments, even if it means you have to reach a little higher and try a little harder. The minute you have accomplished something, no one can ever take that away from you. I once saw a quote that sums up what I mean about going outside of your comfort zone: “If you want something you have never had before, you need to do things you never did before.”
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Go for it even if you have to go ten miles under the speed limit! (You’ll still get to your destination, and the pain in your neck is just part of the ride!)