Zen and the Art of Driving

I tend to drive vehicles the way I live my life- reckless when I was a young sex worker (professional rape victim), and responsibly now as a woman with a career, committed to a life-partner with long-term goals.

When I was a child I felt nauseous during car rides. I vomited into faded plastic containers which always traveled with me.
As a teen I drove illegally, borrowing my classmate’s broke-down rust bucket of a car. In exchange he took much more from me.
On the brink of adulthood I got ticketed by a cop for not stopping at a stop sign ‘long enough’. I was driving because a friend asked me to take them to the corner store, and I said yes. I always say fucking yes, even when it puts my life in danger. I was rushing on the drive because I was freshly heartbroken, and wanted to hurry back to the party to be near the guy I love even now, even though I’d already lost him.
Every time I’ve gotten pulled over or in an accident, it was with other people in the car. My extreme empath tendencies left me lost in their desires- to drive faster, longer, drive when I felt exhausted or didn’t want to, ignoring my needs over their wants.
What I failed to realize was that I was the one who was driving, not my ragtag friends edging me on. Like a puppet, I felt pushed and pulled, never free to be me, always somebody else’s words coming out of my mouth. Far too many yes’s. Everyday, the struggle continues.
I am grateful for the accident, because it made me a safer driver, though I could do without the PTSD dreams of not having control on the road. Perhaps post-traumatic stress is not a disorder, but a natural reaction to trauma.
I still feel nervous around others: my social anxiety is always ready to rev its engine, and makes me a more skittish driver when I have others in the car with me, but everyday I practice presence, breathing, and empath empowerment.
I am in better control of my life now than I have ever been before, and I am a safer driver on the road.
Driving through patches of panic, I find my breath, and arrive safely home to the present.

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