Let’s talk about irrational fears.
One of my foremost is driving automobiles. Yes. Judge me. They are called irrational fears for a reason.
Late last year, I attended personal growth and development class with Eva Dan-Yusuf and one of the tasks she gave us was to write down our limiting beliefs. I didn’t want to, but I did. I think ‘I cannot drive’ was either number 1/2.
Here’s a little background, I grew up when my parents started being comfortable, I no suffer trenches like my older siblings. Hehehehe. There was always a car in the house and I was almost always being driven somewhere, either by my parents, a driver, or my uncle. I also love travelling, and if you’re a road trip person, you can agree that nothing is sweeter than being driven while you enjoy the scenery, a good book or music, or my very best, an enjoyable sleep (as much as the monstrous Nigerian roads will permit anyway). So it should come as no surprise that I was not looking forward to being a driver. After all, na there all the work dey.
In 2011/2012, my mom drove us to Jalingo, in Taraba state for a cousin’s wedding. I was in the front passenger’s seat, seatbelt strapped, holding my nephew who was 3/4 at that time. Somewhere near Mayo Lope, we had an accident. My nephew and I were fast asleep when the impact of a man on the windshield and the corresponding sprinkle of pieces of broken glass showered on us jolted us into consciousness. This episode seemed to have done a number on me. More than I thought.
In 2015, my mom fell ill and I was alone with her at home when her condition escalated. Her car was parked in front of the house but I could not even bring myself to attempt to rush her to the hospital in an act of desperation. After all, I knew all the basics of how a car worked in theory, (thank you physics, video games and conversations around faulty cars). Instead, I called my dad to send an ambulance. While I was chewing my lower lip, wringing my hands, muttering prayers and trying hard not to cry, I kept telling myself that it’s silly for me not to drive. I still think about that day. That was when I decided I must learn how to drive. I don’t want to ever feel that helpless again. I’d like to say it might have been my biggest trauma.
Fast forward to 2020 ending when I made a physical move to start driving. My younger brother was my instructor. He’s most patient but brutally honest — two qualities every good teacher must have. My driving lessons didn’t last long though because I got a job that required me to move. So I only practised driving when I was home, which was rarely, in 2021.
After my class with Eva, I decided to confront my limiting fear and find the root of the trauma. That was when all these memories flooded me. They might seem like nothing, but somehow, they formed a barricade in my mind. I was limiting myself because of the negative associations and history driving has for me.
A lot of us have limiting fears that are irrational, I say this loosely. I can’t get a second degree, I can’t travel, I can’t marry before xxx, I can’t this, I can’t that. But what is worse than these fears, as irrational but valid as they are is the unwillingness of many to discover the why to their irrational fears. To be frank, I do not think irrational fears are entirely irrational. They have a root cause. But we usually are so obsessed with their irrational nature to dig deep and find the cause — many which I think are trauma related.
I hope you are bold enough to write out your limiting beliefs and irrational fears. I hope you are even braver to confront them and flip through the pages of your history to discover them. I know many things seem like ‘it’s just the way I am’, but our nature is more fluid than we think. We can all change. So this week, I hope you do just that. Find why you believe what you do, and see about changing it. I wish you well.
PS, The event was such an amazing experience! I was overwhelmed by the love and support. Most importantly, by the people who honoured me with their presence. It is humbling to know people carry your matter for head. Thank you for all your well wishes. You can watch some parts of the live stream on FB or IG