obstacle driving

[ HERO GIRL ] Female, 25-45, Our girl is focused, driven and strong. She loves the sense of satisfaction from pushing herself to her limit both physically and professionally. She has something underlying that is driving her, obstacles that she has had to overcome.

I wonder if that obstacle is being an adult and still being referred to as a “girl”…

  • INFJ is driving, approaching an intersection
  • INFJ: *Sees intersection*
  • INFJ: *Contemplates how busy the intersection is*
  • INFJ: *Thinks about the symbolic significance of intersections as representative of how our choices in life affect other people*
  • INFJ: *Enters intersection* AAAAAHHH A CAR WHAT THE HELL-
My 2 worst flaws

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how it would have been smart if I had bothered to learn how to drive at some point in the last 17 years. Obviously, it is insane that I don’t know how to drive. All American adults can drive. I live in the only city where you can get away with not driving, but I don’t even have the excuse of having grown up here. I grew up in the suburbs and failed my driver’s test three times.

Looking back, it’s hard to say exactly why I failed. Being a naturally bad driver was part of it, but you don’t have to look far to see a ton of people who’ve overcome that obstacle and who now drive all the time; they are all over the roads. I think I was also pretty nearsighted and no one realized it, but at this point I’m making excuses. The real problem was that I was too ashamed and too unused to being innately bad at things to keep trying after those three failures. It was easier to suffer the small continuous humiliation of needing to be chauffeured around by my parents and friends til I left for college than to try to improve at something I for whatever reason wasn’t good at doing. For the two final years of high school I rode my bike a lot and took the bus to the Metro in DC, making half-day endeavors out of travel that could have taken 20 minutes in a car. Then I went to college in Ohio for two years. Weirdly, my phobia of driving didn’t extend to being phobic about being driven by bad, stupid or incredibly drunk drivers. I survived though and moved to New York, where I continued to not drive. For a while I semiconsciously thought that I would learn how to drive if if we owned a car. Then when we did own a car for a while (a flukey couple of years spent accumulating parking tickets on the car equivalent of an unraveling hand-me-down sweater) I made zero moves to do so. At that point I thought “I’ll learn how to drive if I have a baby,” and did not examine that thought long enough to realize that it made absolutely zero sense. After you have a baby, it turns out, it becomes much more important that you not die! And also maybe the BABY could be in the CAR that you are DRIVING?  

The worst detail of my inability to drive is that I wrote my college admissions essay about trying, and failing, to learn how to drive. I remain convinced that this is why I didn’t get into any of the colleges I wanted to go to. That essay was so bad, so confused and maybe too revealing of my true self. I was, and am, someone who wants to tell a story where the point was not that I grew and learned and overcame adversity, but that I recognized a deficiency in myself and half-figured out how to put a sloppy band-aid on it. 

Now, here I am 16 years later, repeating that act, I don’t know why. Just reporting that this is one of the things I think about from 4-5am lately. Great thing about babies: they give you mucho opportunity for the kind of introspection and self-flagellation that can only occur during that time slot! 

Another thing I’ve been thinking about in that predawn hour is how terrible it must have been for my parents to read about all the stupid things I’ve done that might have gotten me violently raped or killed or brain-damaged from drugs or accidents or just badly emotionally scarred. Like, it’s bad enough that I had to do those things, but then I had to go and write about it so they couldn’t escape knowing how close I’d come so many times to making what must have been their worst nightmares come true!  A friend recently gave us two onesies that Penguin makes. One of them said “Future Reader” which, fine, sure. The other said “Future Writer” and I think I’m not ever going to put it on him.