By: Lauren Freier, Regular Contributor
This is my first winter back in Chicago in eight years. This is the worst winter in Chicago in….forever? A few months ago during our first massive snow, I had plans to drive from the city to stay with family in the suburbs. I got to my car, fumbled with my ice scraper, ended up brushing more snow on myself than on the ground, swore a whole bunch in the process, and then buckled up. I drove in pure terror, convinced I was going to sideswipe every car on the road and go skidding out of control. I drove four blocks. Then I pulled into a parking lot, took what felt like my first breathe since I’d put my foot on the gas, and called my mother. Please come get me.
In spite of my stubbornness, embarrassment, and demand for radical independence, fear won out. As I cowered in the passenger seat, I thought there was simply no way I would survive the winter. I wasn’t cut out for this, and I absolutely did not want to just “go with the skid” and keep an eye out for black ice. Was everyone in this town insane?
As a metaphoric person by nature, I can’t help but overanalyze my experience. Sometimes things become too much that we need to reach out and ask for help. When things are new, when we don’t feel safe, or when we are scared, we respect our limits. But then we need to push them, because “if we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives” (Lemony Snicket). Sooner or later we just have to burn some rubber, get messy, and go on our way.
As I drove through another unexpected blizzard this week (unexpected only because I have stopped torturing myself by checking the weather), I was actually laughing out loud as I turned onto my street. While the snow had not yet been plowed and I could easily have gotten stuck at any moment, my car slid onward and upward. I was far from fearless, but I did it anyways.
No matter what challenge we are up against, whether we feel qualified to meet it or not, we all tend to learn best through experience. This means that sometimes we just have to smile, let go, and keep moving forward.
Lauren is a passionate writer, Beatles fanatic, celebrity gossip junkie, therapist, and mental health advocate. Her personal and professional experiences in both LA and Chicago have inspired her dedication to emotional wellness, resiliency, and self-acceptance. She holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a therapist at InnerVoice Psychotherapy and Consultation, a Chicago-based private practice, as well as a social-emotional health educator at a non-profit organization.
Featured image via circlingmyhead.blogspot.com