You Are What You Drive

It has been a very long time since I’ve posted anything on the subject of mental health. That’s not to say I haven’t had anything eventful, but my most stressful times have also been the busiest times. I’ve stayed on my anxiety pills pretty consistently, save for a couple days when I needed to get my refill and couldn’t get to the pharmacy. Those were definitely times that I needed the pills too, so from now on I’m picking up my refills the week before I need them. A packed schedule is no time to be off anxiety pills.
I’ve also learned some things about myself that I hadn’t realized before. My self-worth had a lot to do with the vehicle I was driving. For years now, I’ve just known it to be true, there was no way in hell I could afford to have a vehicle better than the truck I’d been driving since ’03 (which was already 8 years old at that time). I was afraid to have anything that didn’t have a bed for moving furniture, because I never felt secure where I was living. I didn’t try to fix my hair in the summer, because the A/C didn’t work so I’d have to keep the windows down (and forget makeup, it would melt right off). I even kept the crack in the windshield from the night my ex kicked me out of our house. I was driving to my mom’s house with as much stuff as I could fit in the truck, and a semi flung a rock at me. I partially kept the crack because I was too nervous about contacting the insurance company, and partially because I felt like I deserved it.

The truck has had a number of problems, and every time something went wrong, I went to my mom’s boyfriend for help. It just seemed to be happening more frequently. I felt embarrassed to have so much trouble that I tried to solve the issues myself. When the glass fell off the passenger side mirror, I learned how to replace the mirrors and ordered a set on eBay. Things were going great until I stripped one of the nuts holding the mirror on and had no way to remove it. Eventually, I pieced the broken glass back together with gorilla tape and just settled with having a broken mirror. The inside handles stopped working, and since I’d already failed at trying to replace the mirror, I didn’t feel like attempting the handles. My boyfriend and I rolled the windows down to let ourselves out for months. Soon, the left rear blinker stopped working due to a busted terminal, and short of replacing the entire plug, there was nothing I could do. I planned all my trips around town for as few left turns as possible, and stayed off main roads where I knew cops would be patrolling.

This is how things went, and I knew my budget didn’t allow for even a decent used vehicle. The roof of the cab was even starting to rust, which was horribly apparent from our upstairs apartment. I became a reflection of my truck, unable to make trips out of town, hiding in backroads to avoid trouble, feeling anxious at all times.
It was no small wonder that when I was able to work out a deal for the Jeep, I felt a tremendous weight had been lifted. I felt more confident in all aspects of my life. I still feel like I drive the vehicle I deserve, but that it was time for me to reevaluate my self-worth. The truck is enjoying a happy retirement back on the farm where she started, and she’s getting all kinds of improvements under the care some someone with the right tools for the job. I enjoy driving again. I’ll take any excuse to go out in the Jeep. In fact, we went to the city earlier this month, and I felt completely confident navigating in Saturday traffic. It’s amazing how much of my self image was tied to what I was driving.



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