Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stolen Independence

I’m not even sure if I was aware when it started. I couldn’t have possibly known it, because once it really happened, it was like a ton of bricks to the back of my head – blind-sighted-a-hit as you could ever imagine.  And as I tried to remember the last time it had happened, for the life of me, I just couldn’t come up with an answer.

The Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving I was in the kitchen and making up pies and such for dinner the next day. At some point I realized I had totally underestimated just how much milk I would need and I knew a trip to the store was inevitable. So I found a stopping point, grabbed up my car keys and I headed out the door.

As soon as I got into my vehicle, I could feel the anxiety starting to rise in my stomach. I immediately begin to try and channel my mind somewhere else, but as I backed out of the dark drive-way, and onto the same dark road behind me, I realized just how long it had been since I had driven in the dark anywhere, much less, by myself.

I decided CVS was far enough to go to get some milk, as I would be as close to the front door as I could get, it was a well-lit parking lot and I should be able to safely dash in and out and back home again. All of that went exactly as my mind had planned, I drove home, and got back in the house just as easily as I had left.

Fast forward to this past Friday night. I had made plans to go to the Victorian Christmas in Thomasville Georgia. I was supposed to meet-up with some girlfriends from back home, but of course, that hour’s drive in the dark, alone, from Quincy to there and back would consist of only me.

I was perfectly fine until about 1pm Friday afternoon, when my mind starting rumbling thoughts over and over again – you know the ones – “what if something happens, I’m all by myself, on a dark empty back road” - and that particular night it was supposed to be freezing cold weather to boot.

By 3pm – I had totally talked myself out of going – I contacted my friends and told them I wouldn’t be coming and why. I told them that while my fear may have seemed borderline ridiculous, for me it was real and I couldn’t shake that feeling of dread and doom no matter how hard I had tried.

I’m only 53 years old and I have always been the woman who insisted on having her own vehicle, which would afford me the freedom to come and go as I pleased – and for years I did.

Now all of sudden, if it involves the dark, or a 70mhp highway going any great distance alone, I just won’t do it, I work my life and my plans around it. I’m really not sure when my youth, and my could-do-anything-by-myself-confidence was stolen; but it’s gone.

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