Heights? I am ok with them. Rats? I think they are cute. Being alone? I actually quite enjoy it, especially when there are cats around. Moving away from my family to a place where I know no one? Been there, done that. People figuring out that I have never taken a photography class in my life? I openly admit it. The unknown? It’s my friend. Snakes? Still not a fan, but trying to remind myself of their role in the scheme of things. Dying? Think about it, where did you come from before you were born?…
So, what is it?
When I say that I don’t drive, it does not mean that I don’t have a car, I don’t have a driver’s license, or I don’t feel like it. It means that I don’t know how to and have no intention of learning at this point in my life. No, not because Europeans don’t drive or don’t need to. Not because there was nobody to teach me (my poor dad tried again this summer, to no avail). Not because there is nobody to teach me now. Simply because I am afraid of it. I have nightmares that I drive and hit people. When my father sat me behind the steering wheel at 16, I simply looked at it, then looked up at him, got out of the car and said: “This is not happening.” I did that very same thing again this summer. Hard-headed, I know. He knows that too 😉
It’s an irrational fear, like most of them are. When I tell people I don’t drive, their first response is to tell me how easy it is and to offer to teach me. I respect and appreciate that very much, but politely respond with “No, thank you.” There is something inside of me that is very much in opposition. Albeit I have a very vivid imagination, when it comes to driving I simply cannot picture myself doing it successfully. Might be a past life thing, where I had something terrible happen. Or not. I don’t care, I just don’t want to do it.
It would have been perfectly fine if I were living in Europe, but in the middle of the Midwest in a town with no public transport and a walkable grocery store it gets a little tricky. However, I do love a challenge. Not driving has taught me to be very resourceful. What is more, not driving has shown me a whole other side of life.
When you don’t drive and you need to go someplace that you cannot reach on foot, what do you do? In my case, I call a friend. Most of my friends initially all offered to teach me how to drive. However, realizing the depths of my fear, they accepted it and instead started offering me rides. I have been a very independent person since a very early age, as my grandma will tell you. So it took a lot to allow myself to be vulnerable and to start asking for help. When I faced the fact that I cannot do it all myself, the fear of driving prevailed and my pride went crumbling. What came out of that is immense gratitude for having such amazing friends.
Friends, who call before they go to the grocery store to see if I need anything.
Friends (and clients), who don’t mind taking me to photo shoots and picking me up.
Friends, who apologize that their car is messy when I could not care less for they are taking me where I need to be.
Friends, who invite me to their family celebrations and let me know what time they will be at my place to pick me up.
Friends, who willingly offer to pick me up from the airport in the middle of an ice storm when I have spontaneously decided to return from Hawaii and surprise everyone.
Friends, who text me when it’s below zero outside to make sure I have food and ask if I need anything.
Friends, who come and pick up my stuff, store it at their house, bring it to me when I need it and ask me if they need to come get it when I buy a ticket to Hawaii again.
Friends, who regularly take me grocery shopping and we bond that way.
Friends, who are worried about me walking downtown at night or in the rain (even though I enjoy it) and ask me to text them to make sure I made it home safe.
Friends, who don’t mind picking me up to do a photo shoot for them and then bring me back home.
Friends, who offer to drive me to the airport at 3 am, so I could get a better deal on a ticket.
Friends, who ask no questions when they take me to do what I need to do.
Friends, who not only pick me up from the airport, but cook me a vegan dinner and have me spend the night.
Friends, who take me and my friend on fun scenic drives around Hawaii even if we eat salt and drink coffee. But we compensate with laughter 😉
Friends, who go out of their way to drive me where I need to be.
Friends, who put up with me eating pickles in the car while taking me on cross-country road trips.
Friends, who share with me a list of famous people who did not drive and made it just fine.
Friends, who tell me that I don’t need to drive at all, and that I deserve someone who is going to drive me where I need to be.
Friends, who share with me how they also don’t love driving that much and never make me feel any less for refusing to learn how to.
Don’t get me wrong, I think driving is a wonderful thing and I am so grateful for this amazing means of transportation. Being able to drive is pretty much imperative and a very useful skill to have these days. It’s just not for me right now. Maybe one day, maybe never. Maybe now that I am openly admitting this to you, the fear will disappear and I will be cruising around next year! (hahahaha…) The focus on this blog post is not whether to drive or not, or how to live without driving (wait, is that possible?! ;-P), or how awesome my friends are (ok, it is partially about that). The focus on this blog post is a little deeper than that. Namely, how by facing a fear, one can learn to live with it and discover the meaning of…
As Wikipedia tells us, “Aloha (pronounced [əˈlōˌhä]) is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy, that is commonly used as a simple greeting.” However, Aloha has a much deeper meaning:
“Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain – it is my pain. When there is joy – it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything. When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian – this is Aloha!”
When I first had to rely on other people for things that are quite important in my life, I cried a lot. No, not because they let me down. Quite the contrary – because they were there for me without fail. I have never felt so overwhelmed by the ripples of Love in my life. Even friends of friends have been offering me rides, because people genuinely want to help one another. By being vulnerable, swallowing my pride and asking for help, I allow others to respond and do what innately they feel is right in their hearts. We are all part of one organism, and we did not come here to compete. We came here to collaborate. We all have different skills and passions, and our job is to bring them all together, share and co-create as one. Instead of putting yourself down for having a certain fear, play with it and see what it is there to teach you for. When we confess our weakness to another, we allow them to share their strength with us. And vice versa. This is Beauty. This is Life. This is Love. This is Aloha.
My idea of God is linked more with spirituality rather than religion, yet I find this quote so true:
6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice ; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?
The moral of the story: liberate yourselves. Face your fears. Love them and yourself having them unconditionally. Share them. Ask for help. It shall be given. Just don’t knock on my door and ask me to give you a ride. I will open the door, however, and I will walk with you 😉