97: Just Drive Warrior

97: Just Drive Warrior

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life

Just Drive Warrior

Always do what you are afraid to do.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

At forty-one, I was in my first auto accident. I looked in my rearview mirror just in time to see a young man looking at his phone slam into the back of my car. I had nowhere to go. I braced, closed my eyes, and hugged the steering wheel. He hit me going about 35 miles per hour.

Filled with adrenaline, I jumped out of the car and walked around aimlessly. I remember people asking, “Are you okay?”

I heard myself say, “I don’t know.” I was so dizzy and nauseated I just wanted to go home.

When that adrenaline wore off, I felt everything. My entire body hurt. I went to the doctor. I was told I had a concussion, my back was out of alignment, and my right leg had been jammed up into my hip by the impact.

After some physical therapy and down time, my head healed. Then my leg healed and finally my back healed.

But every time I got into the car, fear came over me. Would someone hit me again? I would drive down the freeway thinking, “He’s too close. He’s going to hit me.” At each stoplight I would spend the whole time looking in the rearview mirror, thinking, “She’s coming in fast. Will she stop in time?” I would find myself bracing for impact. I’d slam my own brakes, afraid I was too close to another car. I’d close my eyes and wait for the hit. My fear grew with each day.

I knew I was doing it. But I just couldn’t make the fear go away. I’d ask myself, “How long are you going to be scared? Get over it already.”

But I couldn’t.

One day I was driving to an appointment. The roads were wet and there was a threat of snow. Fear filled my entire body. It’s bad enough driving on dry pavement. But in wet, snow or ice, my paralyzing fear becomes almost unbearable.

“This is it,” I decided. “Enough is enough! I will face my fear. This year I will become a warrior. I will drive without fear! I will.”

It took everything I had. I had conversation after conversation with myself as I was driving down the road. I’d stare at the sparkling street covered with the frost. I’d glance at the outside temperature gauge in my car that read twenty-five degrees.

“Don’t look at that!” I’d tell myself. “Just drive, warrior!”

I heard myself say out loud, “Don’t focus on the fear. Focus on your path.”

Don’t focus on the fear. Focus on your path.

I felt my grip start to lighten up on the steering wheel. For the first time I heard the radio playing my favorite 80’s hits. Had that been on the entire time?

What I focus on is what will be. If I focus on the fear, then I will live in fear. If I focus on my path, my destination, and possibly a little 80’s music, I’ll reach my destination.

I am a warrior and no fear is going to stop me.

~Diana Lynn

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