I used to have a big complex about driving. I mean, huge. My parents never owned a car. I didn’t own my first one until I turned 22 and started my “big girl” job after graduation.
Not having a car dominated every aspect of my life. It was the reason why I skipped class, why I was routinely late at work, why I didn’t participate in many group activities, why I was a closed-off, moody recluse all through undergrad.
I hated it. I hated living in a state that had no regard for public transportation, I hated the amount of hours of my day that just evaporated while waiting, always waiting.
But it wasn’t just that I couldn’t afford a car. I didn’t know how to drive. I never learned when everyone else was. I didn’t take my first course until I was 20; got my license at 21. I thought something was wrong with me. And it wasn’t that I was bad at it. I actually picked it up pretty quickly.
FEAR was paralyzing me from even trying.
I had created a whole narrative to go along with it. Someone else was always to blame: my parents for not having a car, my uncle for not teaching me, my cousins for having a car, Florida for requiring them etc.
Now I realize that making an appointment with a driving school took only 10 minutes, and, eventually, signing my life away for a few years would only take about 50 more. But that hour took years to arrive. Years of obsessing, of torturing myself, of missing out on experiences and opportunities because I was just afraid of doing something out of my ordinary, learning something new.
It was all so scary. Being in charge of a moving weapon, navigating road signs and people’s unsafe driving practices (or dumbass motherf*ckers as I would yell in Kreyòl from my window), and consequently, my own road rage.
Learning to drive was learning to control chaos.
It’s very much like learning to live authentically. Life is chaos. The cacophony of voices shouting expectations is omnipresent, our own internal diatribes often echoing them in our most uncompassionate moments.
By the nature of this world, things often seem out of control, out of reach. Daring to be myself, stepping out of the roles traced for me, burning the scripts drafted to keep me in them, only add more to the tourbillon which envelops all of us.
How can you control all that, strike out on your own, and be yourself, be true, and be right, when so many other people think they’ve found the way already? That’s when you learn that controlling chaos is not about controlling at all.
In your own little chaos-world you create and which influences you, controlling is experiencing. In order to control chaos, meaning navigating it to get to where you need to go, you have to realize that it’s not about directing every aspect of existence.
It’s crucial to fully embody the fact that never before has the universe manifested itself in a being such as yourself. Saying you’re unique is not just a great IG caption, it’s simply fact. A cliché is often true, one should be careful to not dilute a very important reality’’s power by calling it such.
Your control tower is not from above, it’s in the eye of the storm. The goal isn’t to avoid, but to know, intimately. Only after an accident happens do you know the details of how to deal with an accident. Sure, it’s best to avoid them. But very quickly, as a driver, you realize that the only sure way to not get into accidents is to not drive. It’s about as safe as you can get.
But what you must understand is whatever experience you’re focused on avoiding, you may succeed in doing so. However, any experience comes with a suite of others that may well be worth the exchange. The goal may not be to chase them, but when events arise, rising to the challenge and learning to flow through them, focusing on what is to be learned, has proven very fruitful for me lately.
There’s no blueprint to being you. There’s no map to life. There are signs, common destinations, journey companions. It’s all very scary. You can drive for miles in the wrong direction, your well-maintained engine can suddenly fail. You can do everything right and still get hit by a bus.
The only secret is to do it anyway. Letting yourself be affected, be engulfed by emotions, pain, joy, stress, dread, confusion, guilt. Your only hope at control is through complete loss of it, to utter disinterest in it. So let go. Experience.
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