Tuesday, 4 October 2011


***Warning there be a little swearing***

Oh learning to drive.

I should have started to drive when I was 17.

I know. It's pathetic.

For the past 10 years I have hidden away from learning to drive citing various well worn excuses. Excuses which range from lack of funds to "you don't need a car in London." Whilst these are true, it is not the reason I have never learnt to drive.

The main reason? I think am going to kill someone. I am going to kill someone on my first lesson. Yes looking on the BBC interactive map of previous fatal accidents and then seeing another link on another news website and opening the new Crash Map which details all accidents from the past 5 years is not a great idea the day before you have your first driving lesson. Yes, I am a masochistic idiot. I will still admit I looked at all of those black marks and read about the fatal crashes. Even if that meant I had to look up old news stories or police reports. Again a fucking idiot, I be.

Yet, thinking about sitting behind that wheel, being in control of the engine and having that responsibility at my feet leaves me cold. Actually that's not true. If I think about driving my minds higher function disappears and my autonomic nervous system reveals it is incredibly strong. Sweating - check. Nausea - check. Feelings of dread - oh yes. Palpitations - badaboom - literally. Oh the list is endless. Bleurgh. It is exhausting.

So stupid anxiety I am telling you, you suck. I must take control. I will be in a controlled environment. I need to be able to drive. It is a bloody life skill that fucking little oiks can do. I am not someone who fails. I am better than that. I am not going to kill anyone. 

So I shall get behind that wheel and I will try. Fuck. Seriously I could not be more frightened. Far more frightened than I ever felt when faced with a hideous situation at work. Perhaps stay off the roads and pavements of south east London for a couple of hours before lunch. Just to be on the safe side. 

I equate driving with playing the piano and because I cannot do that I cannot drive. Please tell me I'm an idiot. Please.

Apparently I have sat behind the wheel before. 

I've always assumed that I was the only person who got to almost 30 without learning this skill. Yet the more I talk about it and get over the shame I realise that I am not a freak. There are plenty of others in my situation. Yes it is a little embarrassing but I should not equate my self worth to a skill I have never attempted. I have not failed. (yet!) I am not a complete failure.

So here begins my written account of moving forward with my anxieties and telling them, well, basically to fuck off. It could all go wrong. My catastrophising could all be correct but I won't know that until I try. I am so happy to want to try. This is very new for me. I very much want to try. I see it as a new beginning. You know what, despite the serious almost all encompassing feeling of being nauseated, I am also a little excited. A little excited that things can be different. I can be different.

So will you be joining on my little journey? I would love to hear about your experiences. I do increasingly believe in the power of this here little blog and this community who can support each other.

What a delightful welcome to my optimistically titled new feature - Stalled

I imagine stalling will feature quite heavily in the next few months of my life, hopefully. Hopefully, because if I am stalling I am at least trying. Wish me luck. I am sure I will need it! Ax

P.S. Sorry there have been far too many I's in this post. I know this is my blog but I do want to include you, I need to include you. As whilst it is nice for me to write things down and set them out into the ether I grow because of you. You are great. Seriously.


  1. Lady, I feel your anguish. I'll be 23 at the end of the year and I don't drive. I also have no plans to learn how to drive in the near future. My reasoning is a combination of the fact that I have a husband who loves driving, don't have $1,000+ to throw down on a skill I haven't needed yet, and also... yes, I fear that I too will kill someone.

    Call me a coward, call me silly, call me a wimp. I've heard it all before. Repeatedly. Regardless, I remain a non-driver. I assume that someday it will be a skill I'll need to have or want to acquire and when that happens, I'll try to be brave like you, dear Anna, and overcome my fear of murdering an innocent person and/or squirrel. Until then, I'm a passenger and proud of it. You go, girl.

  2. Learning to drive when you're not 17 is hard, I tried learning at 17 and sacked it off after a few lessons and didn't start again until I was 25.

    It was a painful process but hands down the best and most useful thing I ever learnt to do in my adult life so it will be worth it. Stalling is the worst thing ever but once you master clutch control you'll feel like a champ!

    Good luck x

  3. Learning to dry at any age is nerve wracking to say the least. I left it till I was 19 and found it hard.

    But when you accomplish it {which you will} there is nothing more freeing than being able to drive wherever you want, with the wind in your hair with your coolest music at full blast..or that might just be me!

  4. oh Anna, you're not alone! I too am terrified of driving. I learned when I was 17 and my driving instructor shouted at me during a lesson. I left the car in tears and threw my provisional license away. Only now, aged 24 and about to be married, have I got behind the wheel - and even know I spend half the time hunched over the steering wheel like an old granny driving at 20 miles per hour, terrified of an accident.
    Some people just don't like driving.
    But I guess I have to do it anyway. The real catalyst was when my 17 year old cousin passed her test last week. What an embarrassment.

  5. Anna, I didn't pass my test until I was 26 and had pretty much convinced myself that I was never going to learn to drive. I am not a natural driver (according to my driving instructor) but through perseverance I managed to pass my test on the third time.
    My advice would be don't be worried to change driving instructors. They all have different styles and you need to find the one for you.

    A x

  6. I'm joining you. I've put it off for years but now I am determined to pass before I turn 30 next February. After a bit of a fiasco trying to get my provisional which has left me with 5 passport photos I don't need, I've applied online and the licence should be winging its way to me any time now. I am utterly petrified.

    Good luck

    L x

  7. I am definitely not a driver either! I got my learners at 16, but then never learned. Now (nearly a decade later), the prospect is terrifying, but my fiance has reminded me that as my grad student years in Montreal draw to an end, we may move somewhere without stellar public transit, and he may not want to be my chauffeur. So good luck! I know it's scary, but I tell myself that it's all about confidence, and confidence can be faked (thank god).

  8. Hi anna, you can do it! I didn't learn till I was 27 and I was terrified i'd crash; but I didn't. I also had a massive stalling problem but at some point it all just clicks, your feet move like your brain is telling them without you thinking about it. I also spent the hour lesson before my test driving and crying at the same time, and still went on to pass so I would stress about feeling like you've mastered it all. My best tip is try to have a few big blocks maybe 5hrs on a couple of sundays it really helps you progress. Anyway best of luck and thanks for your lovely blog x

  9. You're not an idiot. 5 years in the police, in my fourth year teaching... This year, I have taken the plunge with driving. It does not help that I see loads of kids from school every time I have a lesson... I'm 10 months in and nowhere near my test. I had this thing about it making me a 'grown-up' if I could drive. Really. Yes, I know, pathetic. So, just chill about it. :-) x

  10. Seriously. Thank you.

    I can't sleep.

    I feel sick.

    So I'm so grateful to all of you for taking the time to say hi and talk about your experiences. Seriously grateful.

    I feel a little calmer now. Thank you.

    As I've said before - at least I am going to try - that is a big thing for me. So yay!


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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