The thought of driving was always right there in the front of my noggin’. I was like a 15-year-old again, begging for my learners permit because driving equals freedom, or whatever. I hadn’t taken the steps to drive for a long time. It wasn’t until one day out of the blue, I decided that I wanted to get behind the wheel again. I knew it could be a huge, complicated series of events just trying to get my license again and I didn’t really know how to go about doing anything.
I researched hand controls and cars that already had them installed. I researched different kinds of wheelchairs that could be taken apart and those that had easier transfers into said vehicle. Ones that I didn’t need anyone’s help for. Because I was so dang tired of people constantly having to help me and I know sometimes they were tired of it too.
It was all very tricky and in an area that I was not at all familiar with. I was honestly so weary of waiting for someone to come around and bring me to where I needed or wanted to go. Sitting at home, all day, every day waiting for things that were never going to happen until I made the conscious decision to make them happen was draining mentally, and physically. I reflected on my life a lot back then. I still had dreams and aspirations for myself, but I would always turn back around and cower away from what I thought would never be possible for me. It’s never a good thing to have people in your life that consistently tell you that you are unable to do things, that ultimately brainwash you into thinking you can’t get out there and live a life of “normalcy.”
That’s fallacy. You can do whatever you put effort into and want. That was one of the hardest things for me to realize. It took a lot of pain, a little bit of heartache, and the mindset to just, “DO IT,” Shia Lebouf style.
One day I was being driven around by my beautiful Mom. We were getting lost in the majesty of Target and swimming in our favorite lattes when I decided that it was time to just seize the day. I had done research about people with amputations driving with just their prosthesis and while I don’t intend on talking anyone into doing it themselves, I will say it is definitely possible. I had done this before for a short clip to celebrate Limb Loss Awareness Month in 2017 as one of the challenges on my list. So, I knew I had it in me. I just needed to put the fright away and gain the confidence to do it again, and not on a back, country road.
And I did it.
I’m not saying it was perfect, I mean it really was like I was learning how to drive all over again. I could hear my high school driving instructor who just-so-happened to also be my coach yelling in the background, “GO MYAH, THE CAR IS A MILE AWAY! TURRRNNN.”
There was definitely a sigh of relief when all was done, from both me and my Mom.
I went to the DPS office and gave them all of my new information and renewed my driver’s license with the best picture I have taken thus far. I then began to drive more. I would go the store, to the gas station, and then my biggest feat yet, driving with my daughter. It’s a bit of a long and tiring process, but hey, I do it every day and my arms are quite proud of the work I put in I’ll tell you that. I stopped looking into purchasing a special kind of wheelchair and started practicing putting my wheelchair in the trunk of my car or the tailgate of a truck every day and using my crutches to get back inside setting them on the passenger side while I drive. There is a lot of sing-a-long rides and going places I couldn’t have imagined a year prior that I go with my daughter, not needing assistance from others. We make a great team, Harper and me. She sits like a big girl on Mommy’s lap and then we just, well, Rock and Roll, literally.
So, the reason I decided to talk a little more about my journey to driving was to let you guys who might be thinking it’s impossible to know that it is possible. I waited nearly two years to gain the courage to get out there and drive again. I want you all to know that you don’t have to wait that long. And that the opportunity may seem far off, but it’s not. Remember, you’ve got this!