it was scary at first.
i remember that it was, but i can’t remember what that was like–
memories that seem like they belong to someone else.
everything unfamiliar becomes familiar
with time
with the decision that it must.
how hard i studied
how much i practiced
how many times i cried trying to navigate a trailer in reverse
(and sometimes forward)
feeling small and stupid and incapable. sometimes being told that i was.
a little girl doing things only the grownups were supposed to do. the men. strong. hard. ostensibly born with inexplicable masculine intuition about machinery.
until one day i said, “naw, i’ll get it” to a yard driver who offered to do it himself after watching me try
and try and try and try and try.
(and i did.)
everything unfamiliar becomes familiar
with time
with the decision that it must.
“you drive that thing all by yourself?” –i forgot why it was supposed to be impressive that i did. i wasn’t impressed with myself anymore.
“no,” i always told them. “i have a cat.”

i’m sharing this next part to show you how nervous i was the morning of my truck driving test at the dmv and how i talked myself through the anxiety while waiting for them to call my name. it’s always cringey to reread this, but i’m also always impressed at the self-calming and self-reassurance skills i had.

april 22, 2015. diary:

today is my cdl exam. i am waiting right now for them to call me. keeping nerves in check is hard. deep breaths. one thing at a time. one moment at a time. each step as it comes. this is just a day. it will pass just like all the other days. nothing that can happen today can hurt or harm me. i will still be intact, intelligent, valuable, and ME at the end of it. nothing is going to change. truly. nothing is going to change. i have already accomplished all the hard parts. i have made the decision and taken the steps. i packed up and moved. i got through school and i did well. there is no reason to be scared right now. i know how to do these things. my brain is my friend, not my enemy. my body isn’t my enemy either. my body is the tool my brain will use to show its knowledge. i will accomplish each step successfully when i let my brain guide me. everything i need is inside it. thoughts are my help, not my detriment. i will not run from them or from my brain. my brain is in charge. my body will follow what my brain instructs it to say and to do. there is nothing to fear inside my brain. all the knowledge and resources i need to complete each little step are inside my brain. i will listen to my brain. i will not become scared and tell my brain to go away or stop teaching me. it knows what it needs. it is strong and it is capable. it is prepared! there is no need to panic or scramble. there is no panicking or scrambling inside my brain. that stuff exists from elsewhere. inside my head is everything i need to achieve my desire today. it knows what it is doing. therefore, i know what i am doing. if i start to stumble, i will trust my brain to tell me. it is my fiery skull! it knows how to get there. with its help, i can find my way. deep breaths and just listen to what’s already there. i haven’t been sent here without everything i need. i am smart. i just have to let my brain do everything it knows how to do. the muscle memory may not be there and it may not be second nature. it may feel foreign and unnatural. but. if i just follow the lead of my brain, i am able to do it. deep breaths. pause. listen. evaluate. listen. small corrections. look at what’s happening. what do i need to do? it’s not rocket science. i am not the first to do it. i will not be the last. it doesn’t have to be perfect, either. just precisely what it takes to accomplish it. i am okay. my life is okay. remember this is just a day. at the end nothing is different. i am okay. everything is okay. i am calm and breathing. i am okay. nothing is a big deal. it is just part of life. this is very dull and very boring. it is mundane. it is uninteresting, even. there is no need to be fearful or intimidated. my brain gives me the right to have a confident, commanding presence and a strong, loud voice. i’m hungry.😄 i will eat good when i am finished, because i deserve it. good food will re-nourish me. i can do this and i can succeed. people do this being less prepared and less adept at the skills than i am. there is no reason i should be so prepared and so capable and let anything hold me back. i know how to do all of these things. there is no pressure, just keeping on keeping on.

One thought on “trucking.

  1. Bethany B. says:

    I am behind on everything right now, so I am just now getting to this. But I love this! I’ve always wondered how driving a giant truck felt when you started. (Also, I’m dying at “No, I have a cat.”)

    “i will still be intact, intelligent, valuable, and ME at the end of it. nothing is going to change” is so, so good. And smart. (And not cringey at all. I am still learning to talk myself down out of an anxiety spiral.)

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