May 28, 2010


"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was 12, I was diagnosed with petit mal seizures. I was told I would eventually grow out of having them, but in the meantime I was put on daily prescription medication.  The medication worked, but every time I had a test done to see if I had grown out of them, I was always told no.

By the time I reached high school and eligible to take driver's ed, I was told it was too risky for someone with my condition to drive.  So, all during high school I never got a driver's license.

I continued to have seizures while in college.  I also experienced them after I got married.  And,  during my pregnancy.  And, after my pregnancy.

Now, nearly one year since my last seizure, my doctor finally gave me the "OK" to get a driver's license.  I was both excited and frightened to get this news.  On the one hand, it was going to be SO great to have freedom to get to places without depending on anyone else to drive me, or to worry about walking in the rain or snow.  On the other hand, getting a license would mean I would have to conquer my biggest fear:  driving a car.  

I'm not sure where my fear of driving came from, and I decided there really wasn't any point in trying to find out.  I decided, now that my seizures were really under control, I would learn how to drive.  It was time to conquer my fear and not let it rule my life.

Over the past few weeks, my husband has been teaching me how to drive.  It has been a good experience, but sometimes frustrating.  Some drives are really great and I leave feeling really confident.  Other drives are bad and I exit the car feeling hopeless.  But, we have prevailed and my husband has not let me give up.  He's really encouraging and always reminds me when I'm doing a good job (or when I'm about to run into something...).

Today, a neighbor of mine called and asked if she could borrow my music stand.  I, of course, said yes and told her I would bring it by once my daughter woke up from her nap.  Now, when I say neighbor, I mean she literally lives 4 houses away from me.   As my daughter slept, the rain began.  My heart sank.  I hoped as time passed, the rain would cease, but it only got worse. 

Once my daughter was awake, the rain was still going strong.  I was so frustrated and decided to take matters into my own hands.  I put my daughter in her car seat, got into the driver's seat, turned on the car, made sure I knew how to turn on the wipers, put the car in 'drive' and slowly accelerated.   

As I left my driveway, I felt so liberated, so powerful.  I was running my first errand.  And it felt fabulous!  Two short seconds later, I reached my destination without any problems at all.  I gave my neighbor the music stand and then headed for home.  Two seconds after that, I was back in my garage all safe and sound.  I did it!

I immediately called my husband.  And then I called my mom.  I was filled with joy.  I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.   I knew I was close to conquering my fear.... not to mention getting a real license so I could drive legally on the road.

What are your biggest fears?  Do you have any interesting stories to share in which you looked fear in the face?



  1. Emily, congratulations! That is SO great! You're going to love having the freedom to just go wherever you please whenever you feel like it. And you and the kiddo will get to have all kinds of adventures while Daddy's at work.

    I have so many fears. I pretend not to, but I do. One of them is traveling alone to a foreign country where I don't speak the language. If all goes according to plan, I'm doing that in July. I'm scared, but I know it'll be great.

  2. Good Job Em. Glad your out there, stay confident, cuz its drivers that lose confidents that cause the most problems!

    I use to be terrified to swim with fish, then i got certified in scuba diving...guess what? im still scared to swim with them but sometimes i just do it anyway.

  3. That's huge, congrats!! It takes guts to face your fear like that. And guts to learn from your husband

  4. Congratulations on your SOLO FLIGHT! It will all get better from here! YOU CAN DO IT!
    I've lived my biggest fear. I won't go into it here. But, I did live through it. Didn't think I would.

  5. I remember those driving fears clearly. In fact I still get scared driving sometimes. I got my drivers license when I was 18. I had been in a few car accidents from the time I was 15- 18 and I just did not want to drive.
    Good for you for looking fear in the face and overcoming it!

  6. Woo hoo! That's awesome!!! Driving is still totally scary to me...especially with my kids in the car. This sounds lame, but my biggest fear is PEOPLE. What they think of me, mostly. I'm totally paranoid that everyone hates me and is secretly making fun of me. Sad, but true. It takes me a lot to get out of my comfort zone and actually talk to people.


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