Monday, 8 September 2014

Me and My Mystery Machine

I love that feeling in the pit of my stomach as we sneak swiftly over the crest of a hill, I love the sound of my little boys squealing “faster mummy” and I love to glance over at the grin on my oldest boys face as he proudly looks down at the country side whizzing past from his new vantage point. Most of all I love the feeling of freedom knowing I can go anywhere, that I’m in control behind that wheel and the world is my playground.

I bought a camper van in the summer, we have had a few nights away in it and we’ve been for countless days out. Sometimes we just get in it and drive. Today after school we went out into the countryside just for a spin for an hour. 

I missed the turning I had meant to take. Two years ago this would have been a disaster, had I been with him it would have resulted in panic and shouting, had I been on my own I’d have been scared of being lost, scared that the roads would be too difficult for me to drive on, scared of getting home late….

Today missing the turning meant I discovered an amazing road where a tiny pretty stream cut through imposing hills covered in masses of deep purple heather and lush ferns. It was spectacular to drive along but more so as I realised that two years ago I’d never have dreamed I could have done.

My husband liked his cars, I had a tiny old hatchback, which he proudly told everyone that he had graciously bought me (with money from our joint account!) he changed his cars on a regular basis, but it was invariably large, shiny and fast. I’d get shouted at for closing the doors too hard, for making the car messy, for not watching where I put my feet. He regularly told me that I was burning out my clutch, that I was driving too close to the kerb, that I was a terrible driver. And this made me so because I was constantly nervous behind the wheel. I certainly would never have dared to drive his car for fear of scratching it. I hated country roads, I hated not knowing exactly where I was going and I was terrified to drive anything big.

Slowly I have got my confidence back, I have chosen to drive a van, and I love it, I feel like a total boss sitting up there, cruising along to the sounds of Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum ambling along country lanes in awe of the breath-taking scenery on my doorstep that I never even noticed when I lived in my box with my ex.

In many ways overcoming abuse has been about overcoming fear, and that fear permeated so many aspects of my life. Driving a van might not seem like much of a challenge to some, to me it was, challenging myself, stepping out of my comfort zones and forcing myself to experience those things I previously thought were unavailable for me has been one of the greatest tools in my healing. I’m working this next year on being able to do all the things I previously thought I couldn’t.

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