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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand

Just Keep Driving

This morning I woke up to the sound of my dad knocking on everyone's door demanding to know who had taken his phone charger. I knew it was me who had done it, (oops, he has the fastest charger), so I lazily grabbed the plug out of the wall and held it out towards the door. When my dad barged in, he had no choice but to laugh as I wordlessly offered up the phone charger to him, while still half asleep. Then, 20 minutes later he sent me several texts reminding me that I was supposed to take him to work, and so I forced myself to legitimately roll out of bed (my mattress is on the floor in the corner of my room because it looked cool on Pinterest) and onto the floor, shoving in my contacts and putting on sneakers. When I got in the car, I realized that it must have been weeks since I had last been behind the wheel.

Driving has never thrilled me. In high school, I was, let's say, subpar in my skills. Curbs mysteriously found themselves run over by my tires, my passengers probably clutching onto each other in prayer every time I claimed "sorry didn't see that one". I was chronically directionally challenged, and capable of turning any 30 minute ride into 2 hours due to insistence on taking backroads over highways. I never ever texted and drove, though, so there's one saving grace.

Obviously, driving is another thing that has been affected by my being an anxious person. I avoid driving as much as possible, and that has only gotten easier ever since my younger sister got her license. She was always excited to drive, and so it just became our dynamic. Every time we went somewhere together, she drove. And everything that I do at home I do with her. But not today, because today I had to take my dad to the train station. Okay, whatever, that's like an 8 minute ride. Most importantly, I had a doctor's appointment at 3:30, and I decided to take the plunge and drive myself.

You might say to me: Alex, you're too old to put off the things that scare you. Okay, well, maybe that's actually what I said to myself earlier today in the car, but its still plausible that you could say it too. I mean, I know I can't really use the excuse of being a kid when I don't want to do something. Although, I certainly wish that I could. Because when I decided to drive myself to my appointment that was 30 minutes away mind you, I immediately felt like I was having an anxiety attack.

But, I got in the car anyway. I practiced deep breathing for about 5 minutes and then put on my Folklore/Evermore playlist. I was ready. Then, the craziest thing happened. When I actually got onto the busier roads, I wasn't scared anymore. HUH? I felt this weird sense of calm completely take over, and I was just like this is not hard at all. LIKE OKAY? Who was this person who inhabited my body, and can they stick around? Wait, it was me, damn that's crazy.

Whelp, it turns out that there was a mix up in the scheduling and my appointment apparently was at 3, not 3:30. Even though, I distinctly wrote it down in my calendar as being at 3:30. Whatever, it's okay that's not what's important. After I cried a little in the car over the fact that it was most likely my fault that I missed my appointment, I turned on the engine. No second thoughts, no calling my parents, no wishing for a tow-truck to take me home. I just hit play on my music and drove home.

It's a small feat, I get it. If you've ever been scared of something, though, you'll understand just how big this was for me. It's the ripping off of the bandaid so to speak. Thank you, Harry Styles, look like I will just keep driving.


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